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Digital Transformation and The Rise of the Digital Human (Part 1 of 2)

Roland Alston, Appian
October 3, 2019

Chris Skinner, Fintech Commentator, Best-Selling Author

(This is the first episode of a two-part series on the business and people impacts of digital transformation by Fintech commentator and best-selling authorChris Skinner [@Chris_Skinner]. Read part 2 here.)

We live in the fourth age of humanity.So says Fintech commentator Chris Skinner."The first phase was becoming human," Skinner said on the latest episode of Digital Masters. "The second was becoming civilized, when we created money. The third was becoming commercial, when we created banks. In this fourth age of humanity, we have turned ourselves into Digital Humans."

Skinner known as an independent commentator on the financial markets and fintech through his blog, is a regular commentator on BBC News, CNBC and Bloomberg. In his new book: Digital Human: The fourth revolution of humanity includes everyone, Skinnerfocuses on the astonishing evolution of digital transformation and its impact on business and people.

We recently caught up with Skinner before he headed off for a book signing sponsored by Appian at Sibos 2019 in London and asked him to break down his argument that we're not just in a technological revolution but a human revolution as well.

"...I've written quite a few books and each of them ends up in a different sort of thematic. So Digital Bank, of course, was about how to restructure banks for the digital age. And Value Web was all about how distributed ledger technology and mobile networks were creating friction free global, real time, low cost payments and value exchanges."

"...As I was traveling around the world and going to museums and discovering the history of humanity, it just struck me that we're going through a radical restructuring of humanity. And it's not just business and commerce and finance and technology. It's actually a re-wiring of who we are as DNA (humans). In fact, if you look at trans-humanism these days, people are talking about integrating their bodies with technology."

"So, we really are moving into an age where we're enhancing humanity to be truly digital and rewiring our brains. And looking back in history, there's only been a few occasions where such a radical change has happened. The last one being the industrial revolution before that, the agricultural revolution, and before that actually becoming human and rising out of the plains of Africa."

On the new podcast, Skinner also talked about the radical difference in how the digital network now empowers us to connect with anybody else on the planet in real time something that we could never really do before. He also talked about the big idea of connectivity and the importance of digital inclusivity, all in the context of digital transformation.

"...Well, a lot of CXOs, big banks and financial institutions think of financial inclusion as being sort of a charitable enterprise. But inclusion is about (providing) a low cost way to reach everybody who was unreachable before through the network and through the digital platform. And I guess my favorite example is PayTM in India."

"It's now one of the biggest financial inclusion projects in the world. It has over 300 million citizens who now have bankable services. And that should rise to about 500 million (people) next year. And the guy who created the company was homeless 10 years agoÖ"

You can listen to the full interview on our Digital Masters podcast: Digital Transformation and the Rise of the Digital Human.

[podcast id="19343501" text="Digital Transformation and the Rise of the Digital Human on Spreaker."]