Digital expert focuses on internet innovations

March 23, 2017

The positive and negative consequences of major technology companies moving into the retail industry was discussed by Jeffery Cole, founder of the World Internet Project and director of the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. 

Speaking at NU-Q and the American Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Cole’s lectures illustrated the impact that the major technology companies - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google – are having on people’s everyday lives.

“Jeff Cole has a unique voice in the digital community and – as a close partner to NU-Q – he is generous in updating the community on current and future changes in the digital world as a result of innovation,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. “His lectures at NU-Q have become an integral part of the student experience, as they prepare to join one of the fastest-evolving industries in the world.”

Cole drew comparisons between today’s major players and companies that were far more popular a decade ago, suggesting that a company’s success is not guaranteed without continuous advancement.

“The main issue,” Cole said, “is that successful companies are often too content with their performance to consider introducing alternative methods of operation, and that is a huge mistake that often triggers the beginning of a company’s demise." 

Cole also shared his predictions for the near future, speculating that driverless cars will gain rapid popularity, and that automation will be at the heart of other daily routine activities – replacing thousands of jobs.

“All of the major companies are moving aggressively into each other’s business,” he explained. “They are expanding to offer multiple services under one umbrella. For example, Facebook has now introduced a search engine and email services, Google is introducing automobiles, and Amazon has created a smartphone and an automated supermarket.”

NU-Q has participated in the World Internet Project since 2013. The project is a collaboration among a number of academic institutions to study the social, economic, and political impact of the Internet.