I consider Tim O’Reilly to be one of the smartest people around. Whether you agree with that or not, or whether you worry about his education agenda being pushed too much, the “Networks and the Next Economy” slides are still worth the time. These are both current and futuristic at the same time.
Tim O’Reilly is always a worthy read. Here are some quotes.
On the future of storage:
I remember Bob Morris, head of IBM’s Storage Division and the Almaden Research Labs, telling me a couple of years ago, that before too long, storage would be cheap enough and small enough that someone who wanted to do so could film every moment of his life, and carry the record around in a pocket. Scary? Maybe. But the future is always scary to those who cling to the past. It is enormously exciting if you focus on the possibilities. Just think how much value Google and other online information providers have already brought to all of our lives — the ability to find facts, in moments, from a library larger than any of us could have imagined a decade ago.
On the future of computers:
At my conference on peer-to-peer networking, web services, and distributed computation back in 2001, Clay Shirky, reflecting on “Lessons from Napster”, retold the old story about Thomas J. Watson, founder of the modern IBM. “I see no reason for more than five of these machines in the world,” Watson is reputed to have said. “We now know that he was wrong,” Clay went on. The audience laughed knowingly, thinking of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of computers deployed worldwide. But then Clay delivered his punch line: “We now know that he overstated the number by four.”
Pioneers like Google are remaking the computing industry before our eyes. Google of course isn’t one computer — it’s a hundred thousand computers, by report — but to the user, it appears as one.