Interesting question I read on the Internet yesterday. The first part was directed at the blogger in question, the second part of the question was more generic. It is a blog I read at least weekly and I usually enjoy the questions asked as much as the blog itself.
The question (second part) was why do you look ahead in technology? Not really just that but that was the part of the question that interested me. Why look ahead? I began my technology career in the very edge of the beginning of the age of connection. An age we have now moved to the middle of, where there are people born into the world always connected, people that built the world of connection and people struggling to adapt to this new world.
Or, the middle of the age. On the horizon is the grand age of information spoken of and thrown about by pundits and analysts for the past few years. Not here yet, because frankly too much information remains outside of the digital realm.
The age of connection continues. Hopefully someday we will move past the bumps and bruises of the early stages of connection and will move into the world of digital information. That is why I look ahead. Because I know things are coming. There was a time, before cellular phones, when it was harder to communicate. We lived overseas when I was 11 and 12 years old. The only way to call home then was via a land line. The connections were terrible and the cost of that call was horrific. We didn’t call home. In order to maintain connection my grandfather gave my mother a tape recorder. One that could both play and record. We then sent tapes back and forth talking about what was going on, so we could hear the voice, heard the inflection and sound of the family we left back in the US.
As a professional IT consultant, I traveled all the time. But I traveled in the dawn of the age of cellular communication. The worst trips were Europe because I could only call once a day (I was up long before my family was awake and by the time my day was ending there day was in full swing). I was however able to call home at least once a day. That was the worst case. If I was in Asia I could call home twice a day (early am and early pm due to the 12 or 13-hour difference in time).
That was the dawn of the age of connection. It is still growing, as now you can and communicate via free wi-fi anywhere in the world. Cost is the biggest factor in the age of communication I.e. connection. The cost charged for a single phone call is still far too high (by the way, it is the fees tacked on by each company that touches your connection that is expensive not the call itself!).
All of this evolving slowly. For example, right now the EU is evaluating how to tax companies that do business in the EU. The US is entering a new era of considering the reality of trade agreements made in the past. Both are going to stifle connection over the next 2-3 years. They will evaluate better trade deals, and increase the taxes paid by companies that do business on both sides. That taxation will do more to slow the rise of the information age than anything.
Add fees to the cost of equations that already are fee based on now you are taxing fees and therefore increasing the cost of business not making it more effective. The concept of taxation to support government is an old one. I wonder if as part of the age of connection, it is one we should be considering as obsolete…
Innovation, connection and the rise of the information age will move all of these problems into something we used to do. Eventually the world will realize that it is important to support their citizens and the people that live in their nation rather than create economic sanctions that limit not only where companies do business but how much that company is willing to invest.
We are living now in the age of connection. We are going to stay in that age until we understand the impact of a fee based system of connection.