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Viewpoint | Zhu Dan: Digital reconfiguration changes the world at a faster pace

The human society has stepped into an era of digital survival that digitalization has resulted in the underlying reconfiguration of human ecology. From the underlying logic, digitalization reconfigures the connection, rules and space-time.

Firstly, the reconfiguration of connection. Based on the connection of all things, digitalization is in essence the cross-border reconfiguration by big data sharing to subvert and rebuild the world we have taken for granted. In the digital era, the human activity boundary and cognition scope experience great changes. In the future, every person tends to have two identities: one in the real world while the other in the virtual world, and thus lives in two parallel universes. The human body will be digitalized, and the brain-computer connection may copy memories and emotional data contained in the brain, probably achieving digital immortality. The organizational boundaries, product models and value ecology of enterprises usher in all-round cross-border reconfiguration as well as the relation between enterprise and customer. The changes in political, economic, cultural and military boundaries between countries also fall within the scope of connection reconfiguration. These two mutually-independent worlds are interconnected profoundly, which will bring about underlying and fundamental changes to the world.

Secondly, the reconfiguration of rules. Digitalization reconfigures the rules and processes of all walks of life. China is advancing the digital transformation of the whole society including digital economy, digital city, digital government and digital society, which are in essence the reconfiguration of fundamental rules of all sectors. In the digital era, customers have the final say, which shows the subversion and reconfiguration of the economic rules. In the science and technology sector, technical standards are the most decisive rules, which is the focus of competition for rule-making rights internationally. When strengthening its core technical barrier, the US consciously adopts the standard-oriented strategy to break the technical and trade barriers of other countries, and attempts to gain the dominance of international technology and trade by superior standards. In 2000, American National Standards Institute issued the United States Standard Strategy (USSS). It clearly proposed to take advantage of the US standard system, integrate all available resources and promote the internationalization of the US standards, making them more accepted by the international market. By USSS, the US has captured the wealth of many other countries. The reason why there appeared a fierce confrontation between China and the US is that China tries to break the rules. The US makes up opinion leaders who turn lies into truth through countless repetitions, and incite people on social media to sabotage and overthrow undesirable governments. Such acts of digital violence are essentially the attempt of the US to utilize its advantage of Internet technology to reconfigure the rules of technology and Internet and dominate the world. However, the process of reconfiguring rules by digital technology provides us an opportunity to transform and upgrade the traditional industries.

Thirdly, the reconfiguration of time and space. Of course it refers to the temporal and spatial reconfiguration of mankind instead of the time-space itself. First of all, the nonlinear narrative mode of the digital era is actually a new time-space state. Focusing on the present state implies a new narrative structure that through engagement of more relevance, elements and dimensions forms a present-focused "melting" pattern. People no longer watch it, but have more interaction and take part in it, forming a virtual sense of engagement and a survival pattern of "the present is eternal". The financial derivatives that caused the global financial crisis in 2008 but remain exist today are actually to blur the future and the present, and through time leverage guide people to ignore risks so that they feel like "seizing the present". The sectors of industrial Internet and intelligent manufacturing also contain such nonlinear narrative time-space logic. Under the customized intelligent manufacturing in the digital era, consumers have real-time participation in the flexible manufacturing featuring customization, differentiation, more batches in small quantity, so as to "melt" the past and the future with the present that includes new time-space status. Next are the digital twins and metaverse. The former is to make use of the digital technology of virtual-real combination, and through iteration and evolution observes the physical space of factory, park and city as a whole to get the insights of its development trends for scientific analysis, prediction and decision, and thus improve the physical operation efficiency by management of virtual network. The digital twin refers to the digital infrastructure in both the metaverse and the physical world symmetrically and is an integral part of metaverse. The metaverse is the virtual living space of human, and an ideal digital society with sharing and immersive experience, so that human becomes an "amphibian" inhabiting the two parallel universes. Digital reconfiguration of time and space enables us to have a god's perspective to observe and understand changes across time and space, and reconfigure and innovate the business form and value ecology. While creating a new lifestyle and means of value satisfaction for people, this double-sided coin also leads to impetuous attitude and pressure of time-space overlapping.