A Human Perspective on the Evolution of New Technologies

The rules for doing business will continue to change because technology is changing faster and faster every day. The cycle of technological innovation will not wait or stop …

The rules for doing business will continue to change because technology is changing faster and faster every day. The cycle of technological innovation will not wait or stop for anyone. This cycle revolves around three factors.

#1. Moore’s Law: Every 18 months the capacity of microprocessors doubles — this means either double the power or half the price and/or size. Just take a look at your smartphone, MP3 player, or camera. It will be obsolete in less than two years because we will have devices in the market that will be twice as small or twice as powerful. We can see this computing power at a lower cost moving fast in Latin America, where giants like Dell and HP report sales of mobile computers rising higher than sales of desktop computers.

#2. Shugart’s Law: Every year digital storage capacity triples. This means either triple the amount of information you can store or one-third less cost to store it (or store it in a smaller form factor). This is giving us the capacity to virtualize everything in our real world, from pictures to videos. Yes, we are now digitizing and streaming our lives. Every second millions of people issue their personal newspapers, video news channels, or podcasts about their lives. If we look at the lists of the most visited Internet sites in every country in Latin America, we will see a clear pattern where digital media and assets are becoming the new places to hang out, post, and receive information. We are not just streaming our lives into a digital world but are also getting our news from sources other than traditional news media (most of the time driven by citizen journalists).

#3. Metcalfe’s Law: The value of a network is the square of the number of users. Bandwidth triples every year; more users, bigger roads to travel, and cheaper connections. I remember that in the year 2000 in my country, El Salvador, and in the rest of Central America as well, the annual cost of a 2MB connection to the Internet was about $2000, plus a hefty set-up fee. Today we get our connection speed doubled for free every year, and can find good DSL connections for less than $25 a month with no set-up fee. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the world has 500,000 new Internet surfers every day.… And don’t forget that this world is becoming wireless, giving us the ability to be connected 24/7 everywhere with a mobile device.

Competition in the Latin America telecommunications industry is certainly furious, even characterized by some as “brutal.” This is one of the reasons why it is normal for telecom providers to offer the most amazing all-inclusive plans for broadband and wireless Internet and every year before your contract expires you get a call from them offering more bandwidth and perks to stay loyal.

Some people ask how all this competition and fast connectivity might help bridge the digital gap in Latin America. I would say that in the near future, telecom companies taking advantage of the cycle of innovation will offer prepaid smartphones for $10 carrying $5 of calling credit. People will include these services and devices in their monthly budgets as a basic need. Even if they don’t know how to write a blog, they will have video and audio recording capabilities plus the channels and the know-how to upload what they record for the whole world to see.

If the car had improved at the same rate as the computer, then it would now have a gas consumption of one thimble-full per hundred miles, travel at 3,000,000 miles per hour, and be cheaper to replace than paying a parking ticket!

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Some say the “End” is near. Well, I say it is already here — the “End” of time. We are fixated on getting real-time updates or responses, plus social networks give us the ability to stop time in between conversations. These interactive online technologies are changing the way we interact with the world, and they are becoming indispensable as the primary method for online dialogue for organizations and people of all ages. Here, conversations can happen whenever you have the time and will remain there for others to interact with whenever they find the conversation.

We are also witnessing the “End” of space: Distant places and even distant relationships are now just a few clicks away. And of course we are seeing the “End” of matter… Virtual is the new tangible.

Perspective accounts for 80% of the IQ test. It is the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship, You have just read a human perspective on the evolution of new technologies that are affecting and will continue to affect every aspect of our lives. There is a need to transform everything we do using this data, forming our own perspective to become better professionals, better human beings.

Please share your thoughts and comments. What does this article mean to you after reading it?

Rodolfo Salazar, Senior Partner and Founder at Ideaworks International, is a recognized digital strategist and reputation consultant, and an advisor on corporate social responsibility, new media, and web technologies. Visit www.rodolfosalazar.com.

 

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