Steve Schlarman

Our Digital Universe The 5th Dimension

Blog Post created by Steve Schlarman Employee on Apr 16, 2014

Who doesn’t remember lying in the grass on a clear summer night and feeling a sense of awe looking up at the night sky blistering with sparkling points of light?  It doesn’t matter if you are child, an adult or a scholarly astronomer, the sight of such amazing beauty and expanse in our universe is truly mind boggling.

 

Last week, EMC released its 7th study of the Digital Universe.  For those of us that spend our days investigating, building, securing and living in the digital world, the report is a captivating exploration of the only part of our universe that we – meaning Man – are responsible for and control. The concept is absolutely fascinating.  We mere mortals have created a universe that, just like our physical universe, is expanding, growing and deepening on a scale of sheer incomprehensible magnitude.   The Digital Universe is a portal into our world – capturing moments in time from Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar selfie to the latest temperature of Internet connected refrigerators.  Step into that portal and you will be forever sucked into an endless exploration of an amazing world.

 

This reminds me of the famous Star Trek opening line: Space – the final frontier… But Space is only the first 3 dimensions.  Add Time and you have what most people think of the tangible, understandable dimensions. But we have another dimension that is becoming more and more important. Does the digital universe represent the 5th dimension beyond space and time?  When something happens, will we, in the future, want to know where it happened, when it happened and what was captured in the digital universe about the event?  Think of some of the latest epic, historical events – the Arab Spring, the Tsunami in Japan, the disappearance of flight 370…

 

When our grandchildren and their grandchildren study these events, will the discussion be limited to where it happened and when?  Who was involved and what happened?  In history classes when I grew up, we were taught dates and places.  We focused on what happened with a removed, post-event perspective.  Important people and what they were like were most often a combination of memories, remembrances and recollections.  Plato, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and other figures in history, even modern day figures, have a level of historical perception.  With the digital universe, data is being captured globally in real-time as events unfold.  Think of a history class where the event actually is explained by recreating not only space and time, but the digital footprint of the event.  Twitter feeds, news articles, cell phone videos, Facebook posts…the list of inputs is almost endless – all sequenced together to capture the space, time and digital trail and reveal the event with boundless perspectives, views and data.  The Digital Universe – the 5th Dimension – is an amazing, as-the-event-happens capture of history.  We, my friends, have gone over the precipice of something truly colossal and we have the data to show for it.

 

Last year, I used my blog series “the space between the 1s and 0s” to put my perspective on the report.  This year the report again shows how big that space is, where it is headed and what challenges and opportunities we face.  Bytes - next frontier…We are not going boldly going where no man has gone before.  We are building a strange new world, spawning new civilizations and creating a new universe for Man to explore.  We have created our own 5th Dimension.

 

I am pleased to add to my little corner of the digital universe with my new Twitter account:  @steveschlarman.  Please feel free to follow me.  Is the Digital Universe our 5th Dimension? Pretty deep question…let me pose that to Twitter and see what I get in response.

Outcomes