Since the first days of early man, technologists have pushed the boundaries of gathering and sharing information.
Early in our history, we shared stories, fables, and myths to communicate values, lessons and historical context.
Paper allowed us the ability to share our wisdom for all of time, and the printing press gave us the ability to distribute to more people than a just an anointed few.
Ink is mightier than the sword so we endeavored to create faster ways of distributing the words we inked.
Napoleon’s 1790 semaphores, Morse’s 1837 telegraph, Bell’s 1876 telephone, and Licklider’s Intergalactic Computer Network…
… all inventions designed in the race deliver faster, ubiquitous, and affordable, information.
Simultaneously, inventors sought to enhance human capabilities through mechanization.
Jacquard’s 1801 mechanical loom, Hollerith’s 1890 tabulating machine, Turing’s 1936
Turing machine, and Mauchly’s & Eckert’s 1946 ENIAC…
… all inventions designed in the race to automate human capabilities.
The arguably predictable advances in telecommunications, storage, computing power, and binary abstraction gave us the ability to commoditize delivery, infrastructure, platforms, and software. An engineering monument of fiber, silicon, and code.
We are now faced with innovating a new era for humanity. An era where the human condition will be transformed through technology.
Historically, people in power clutch on to their own existence at the peril of others, and we are no exception. We are perceived as keeping technology to ourselves in a struggle to maintain power because we seek to solve problems as engineers, and not as people. We embrace our moniker “geek” because we are too distracted, or worse, too apathetic to look up from our monitors and beyond our cubicle walls. We have begun to believe our own press, “the geeks shall inherit the earth.”
Such pride is always followed by a great fall.
We must lose our technophile bigotry before we become relegated to the ranks of tech support. We must stop dehumanizing people by relegating them as users…
Both the private and public sectors that rely on technology have been stuck in an integration and maintenance eddy. They needed the elastic infrastructure, platform, and software capabilities of Cloud Computing before they could disrupt the status quo.
Finally, they can break free of their own legacy platforms and start providing their customers differentiating digital products and services.
These organizations’ demands have begun to surpass our fiber, silicon, and code priorities.
We, the people who work in a digital field, must elevate our goals and meet the commercial and humanitarian needs of our society. We have the foundation for easy to deploy, composite applications, but those applications will live or die on the acceptance of the effectiveness of their human interfaces.
Our legacy will be written by the human interfaces we create.