What Does Digitally Intelligent Mean?
The ability to convert and represent the physical world in digital format.
Nowadays, our lives revolve around the effects of the digital deluge. Technology touches every aspect of our lives. The digital world severely influences society and creates new norms. This unique and artificial world requires substantial intelligence to make sense of its complexities.
Intelligence is a widely discussed topic. Ask 100 people, and you will get 100 different definitions. They all may be fine. The same situation relates to the understanding of digital intelligence.
Before discussing digital intelligence, we need to understand and reach a consensus on intelligence's meaning and fundamentals to bring us all on the same page. With a shared understanding of intelligence, my points and observations can make better sense to my readers so they enjoy and benefit from the content.
I am sure everyone has an understanding of intelligence. Interpretations may differ. Therefore, my methodical mind and diligent content creation approach do not explain a topic without defining it to my audience. You may call it a strange habit. But I see a definition necessary for gaining clarity. I attempt to define intelligence so that my points can make better sense to my readers.
The standard definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills and apply them as needed. This simple definition can be unfolded using associated terms and concepts, crossing and overlapping multiple disciplines, creating and offering different meanings for intelligence.
Cognitive science is one of the leading disciplines dealing with human intelligence. Knowledge and information management are the other fields, also covering human intelligence to some extent.
Intelligence also relates to knowledge domains dealing with the human brain and mind. Psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience are some of the prominent examples.
I have come across foundational terms related to intelligence. Some examples are intellect, reasoning, judgement, mental capacity, brainpower, smartness, astuteness, brilliance, discernment, insights, perceptiveness, and comprehension.
These terms relate to intelligence from different perspectives. I use some of these terms to explain fundamental points related to digital intelligence.
These terms mainly revolve around human IQ (intelligent quotient). However, human intelligence goes beyond IQ. It involves emotional, social, and spiritual aspects too. You might have come across emerging disciplines such as emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and spiritual intelligence. All these intelligence types interrelate to our interactions in society.
Let's take the term intuition as an example. Intuition can relate to cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual intelligence. In our daily life, we describe and refer to intelligence using terms and phrases like sharpness, quickness of mind, astuteness, giftedness, alertness, aptness, wit, cleverness, canniness, smartness, talent, and even braininess in informal settings.
These adjectives describe people's IQ rather than their other intelligence aspects. I have witnessed in some situations, for example, some people describe a talented employee as a woman or man of superintelligence even though the talent can be related to a person's social and emotional capabilities.
After this brief introduction to the meaning of intelligence to bring us on the same page, let's touch on digital intelligence, which is the primary theme of this section.
What is Digital Intelligence?
Quite frankly, despite my diligent efforts, I have not come across a standard definition for digital intelligence so far. Even more depressingly, I have not seen an established body of knowledge with influential and cited publications directly researching the digital intelligence phenomenon.
However, does it mean that digital intelligence doesn't exist? Not in my humble opinion. Interestingly, during my literature search, I reviewed a few case studies using the term "Digital Intelligence" and skimmed some marketing brochures, articles, and blogs discussing digital quotient, which sounded promising. I thought it was at least better than having nothing.
I make an effort to define digital intelligence as a new term, at the most fundamental level, to be able to show you to understand this technological concept for clarity to set the context.
My aim here is to create awareness and show some thought leadership, not to credit myself unrealistically as an expert in the field as the field is just about to emerge.
My definition of digital intelligence, at a high level, is the ability to convert or represent the physical world in digital format.
Even though this definition sounds straightforward, these two critical verbs "convert and represent" represent a loaded meaning thus can pose enormous complexity. The terms - convert and represent - can extend to multiple scientific disciplines, domains, and subdomains.
Ability covers a broad spectrum of process, people, tools, and technologies. Physical and digital are two different worlds with dissimilar and distinct entities. They have their inherent capabilities and limitations.
By using computer science and engineering, we found ways to represent the physical world in digital formats. Physical and digital entities are related and can enhance each other's scope.
When I explore general intelligence, I mention that intelligence is the ability to acquire knowledge and skills and apply them as needed. We can transfer this definitive understanding to defining digital intelligence.
In this case, we may claim that digital intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply digital knowledge and skills encompassing the digital world. The digital world consists of various processes, technologies, tools, techniques, methods, and approaches.
Components in systems are relational and filled with interrelations. There may be one-way, two-way, or multiple-way relationships amongst components and elements of a concept, plan, or system.
Our digital intelligence, in this case, can also relate to an understanding of all relationships for these components and their sub-components.
This understanding involves an enormously complex task hence requires in-depth knowledge of the digital world and cross-discipline skills, from technology to science, to make sense of this fascinating and emerging world.
My conclusion is that, to be digitally intelligent, we need to have in-depth knowledge of the process and acquire practical skills relevant to the products and services of digital domains.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
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