N°15 > Digital revolution - What are its impacts on activities’ localisation? What are the consequences for the Mediterranean?

- Pierre Beckouche, professeur des universités, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne


The digital revolution is not the invention of IT or the Internet, neither is it the creation of Google or smartphones. It is the system these inventions made us enter a few years ago. It can be defined as follows: (i) the generalised deployment of sensors, with significantly better measures of phenomena and follow-up of mobility (geolocation); (ii) thanks to the Internet, a unified circulation of all types of data and their double access - both access of users to information and access of operators to users’ personal data; (iii) storage capacities, collection and processing of an incredible number of data thus generated (big data)1; (iv) development of applications, via digital platforms, to potentially meet all social needs, be it in the domestic, production, administrative of collective sphere.  

In order to explain how this new digital paradigm is established as a system, let us remember that the reason why Google is getting into cars is because, along with the office and the living room (television), it is one of the spaces where we spend more time, and therefore in which we use and generate the more data. This systemic dimension is expressed by the notion of Internet of Everything (IoE) that combines data, goods and people in one operation system. Thanks to the digital sector, it is now possible to integrate universes that until now had multiplied in an uncoordinated manner, because of the sectoral division of professions and administrations, or because of the chaotic organisation of our modern activities. Work division and fragmentation can suddenly integrate, which disrupts production, innovation and hierarchy. The fact that information is now available to everyone changes organisation models that were - until now - based on the information monopole of a few decision-makers.

This text doesn’t have an operational purpose but rather a prospective one. The objective is to show the scope of the digital revolution, that is not only technical or economic, but also societal and even anthropoligical. It is even probably the fastest anthropological transformation of the human adventure. The radio took 38 years to reach 50 million people. Twitter only took 9 months. Pierre Giorgini talks about a dazzling transition2. Sometimes, the image used is that of a tsunami, which is appropriate: the earthquake occurred, we felt it, the wave formed, it just reached the Californian coast; it should spread to the whole world in the coming years. Of course, it reaches the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean with a different intensity, but simultaneously. This renews North-South relationships, just like the American lead renews the risk of “siliconisation” of the world3, which represents the same challenge for Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa.


Pierre Beckouche, University Professor, Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne


  • Introduction
  • What is the nature of the digital revolution?
  • What are its impacts on activities’ localisation?
  • What are the consequences for the Mediterranean?
  • Conclusion
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