With Canada 150 upon us, I’ve been ransacking 50 Canadians Who Changed the World. Yesterday I turned up half a dozen Canadians, among them Margaret Atwood and Joni Mitchell, who spirited the Sixties into the 21st Century. Today I discover that five Canadians created the Digital Revolution.
Marshall McLuhan: Recognized internationally as the Prophet of the Electronic Age, McLuhan was an obscure English professor when, in the 1960s, he published two visionary books: The Gutenberg Galaxy and Understanding Media. He anticipated a “global village” of instantaneous communications. Look around: we all live in a World Wide Web.
James Cameron: After creating the blockbuster movie Titanic (1997), Cameron began developing the digital 3D Fusion Camera System he would use in Avatar (2009). That movie, which relies heavily on computer generated animation, revolutionized the film industry when we weren’t looking. It replaced traditional 35 mm celluloid with digital 3D technology. Movies are different now.
Mike Lazaridis: In 1999, after creating a series of increasingly sophisticated mobile devices, this electrical engineer invented the Blackberry, the world’s first widely used smartphone. Today, more than 1.2 billion people use smartphones to access the World Wide Web, and many rarely use any other device to go online. Misplace your smartphone and you feel sick inside.
Douglas Cardinal: Best-known for creating the Canadian Museum of Civilization (aka the Canadian Museum of History), Cardinal pioneered the use of digital technology in architectural design. Drawing on his indigenous heritage, he created curvilinear buildings that drove him to develop Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD). Can you imagine these fancy new skyscrapers without it?
Don Tapscott: The author of Wikinomics and Macrowikinomics, the visionary Tapscott explorers and champions the collaborative innovations made possible by the Internet. He argues that the Millennials, born between 1977 and 1997, are “digital natives” who are changing the way the world does business.
You can find out more in 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, available online by clicking here (Chapters-Indigo). Oh, and if you worry that the book might be short of women or visible minorities, check back tomorrow.