Andrew Lippman – Architectures for the Future

The message that I have is simple: We’re not in charge anymore. It’s over. I’m a geek, I’m a technologist, just didn’t qualify for the geek session so I got thrown into this session. We invent, control, debug, our hope is we’re having some effect, and we’re not! Society has taken over, it’s not about what we invent anymore, doesn’t matter if it’s media or technology, it’s the same thing, it’s over.

Andrew Lippman

There are a few reasons: “Technology was anything that was invented after you were born.” — Alan Kaye. That quote has become debased because it was used in Newsweek. The rate of change in society is relative to the age you were when you introduced to the dominate technology of the time. If you’re 16 when the car comes, there are 16 year changes. That’s the fundamental rate where it moves. You get introduced to the computer when you’re 4, so the rate of change is 4 years.

I have kids that graduated high school when the other one was going in, they can’t relate to each other, they’re a generation apart.

I go visit companies, I listen to how they design “products” but there are no more products, there are architectures. We don’t make things, we make the tools that allow everyone else to be creative. The typical design session I call RFD, reasoning from daughter, “did you see what my kids did?” There’s two kinds of parents in the world: the kind that wants their kids to be better than them, and there’s the kind that’s threatened by that.

It’s easy to have an idea, but scaling is the fundamental problem. Two varieties: the raw technical challenge. A friend said it was easy to make a great high school in a city, but no one has made 99 great high schools and created a great school system. Viral systems are scalable, incremental, and value-adding. Intelligence is at the edges, costs are low, they are agile. The internet’s ability to scale has exceeded our ability to use up that scale.

A green network, everyone brings to the network what they take from it. When you get to radio or wireless it’s not so easy, it’s not like fiber where you can always lay more, or storage where you can just buy more. Radio is finite. Is the limitation on communication that we can do wireless rooted in physics or is it rooted in the technology of the times? Take two flashlights, cross the beams, do the photons fall on the floor when they run into each other? The way you scale these broadcast systems is to move the intelligence to the edge.

They’re going to try that at MIT, called Living the Future. Give every student their own programmable wireless device. Replace the MIT ID, the RFID is a technology whose time has passed. I walk up to a door and it says who are you and my badge tells it everything it knows. I want a badge that asks the door who it is before giving them all my info.

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