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Change The Constant of Modern Times George O. Strawn NSF CIO Copyright George O. Strawn 2005. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission.

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Presentation on theme: "Change The Constant of Modern Times George O. Strawn NSF CIO Copyright George O. Strawn 2005. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission."— Presentation transcript:

1 Change The Constant of Modern Times George O. Strawn NSF CIO Copyright George O. Strawn This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

2 “Everybody wants economic growth, but nobody wants change” Economist Paul Romer as quoted in The World is Flat by Thomas L Friedman

3 Outline Me Exponential speedup in change 200-year changes Agriculture, IT 50-year changes IT Year-to-year changelessness Future changes Society, IT, Education

4 Source Books Maps of Time, Christian The Control Revolution— Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society, Beniger Seeing What’s Next, Christensen The World Is Flat, Friedman

5 Me Liberal Arts college grad: math, physics, drama, track & cross country, quartet, *and* learned about computers (over a summer) at Argonne Lab IBM: systems engineer, computer sales rep Iowa State: math, com sci grad student, math, com sci professor, com sci dept chair, computation center director NSF: nsfnet program director, networking division director, cise directorate deputy AD and acting AD, and now CIO

6 Myers-Briggs (E/I, N/S, T/F, J/P) Duty seekers: SJs are realistic, practical, and responsible, and they like to stick to standard ways of doing things. Action seekers: SPs enjoy life in the here and now. Freedom is highly valued, and they resist being restricted or controlled. Ideal seekers: NFs tend to have a vision of an ideal world and want to work toward creating that vision here on earth. Knowledge seekers: NTs [seek to] understand and synthesize complex information, anticipate future trends, and focus on long range goals.

7 Foreground/Background Data/Information/Knowledge… Data: in databases; meaning/context elsewhere Information: in messages for which humans provide the context; or in information bases with metadata to provide meaning/context Knowledge: in heads; information in context; actionable information; linked information; foreground information plus background context This is a background/context talk for IT change makers!

8 Exponential Speedup in Change 5,000,000,000Solar system forms 500,000,000Multi-cell life emerges 50,000,000Mammals dominate 5,000,000Human line separates 500,000Big brains, fine tools, fire 50,000Language, fully modern 5,000Civ: writing, math, cities 500Western Civ: printing 50Electronic Computing

9 Dividing up history… Stone Age Up to 5,000 bp Bronze Age 5,000 bp to 3,000 bp Iron Age 3,000 bp to present Pre-Ag Age Up to 10,000 bp Agriculture Age 10,000 bp to 200 bp Post-Ag Age 200 bp to present

10 Really Big IT changes Pre-Agriculture Period (> 10,000 bp) 50, ,000Language evolved Agriculture Period (10, bp) 5,000Civilization invented (including Writing, Mathematics) 500 Western Civ (including Printing) Post-Agriculture Period (< 200 bp) 150 Pre-WW2 (including Telegraph) 50 Post-WW2 (including Computer)

11 Why was innovation so slow from 5,000 bp until 200 bp? 1.Religion and priests 2.Kings and emperors 3.Peasants and agriculture

12 Why has innovation been so rapid since 200 bp? 1.Scientific revolution 2.Commercial revolution 3.Industrial revolution

13 US Agriculture in the post-ag period 1800: Farmers were almost 90% of the US civilian work force 1800s: John Deere and Silas McCormack improved mechanized farming 1900s: The horse was retired, and hybridization drastically improved yields 2000: Farming is almost all science and technology, almost no labor!

14 % US Civilian Labor Force Information = Education + R&D + Comm Media + Info Machines + Info Services

15 US Civilian Labor Force

16 Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society A “crisis of control” occurred soon after the industrial revolution began Needed to control the inputs and outputs for steam-powered factories Needed to control railroad operations

17 Post-ag, pre-WW2 IT Changes About 1840, the Morse telegraph electrified telecommunications (beginning with a USG-funded line from Baltimore to DC!) In 1876, the Bell telephone electrified the human voice (for short distances only) In the early 1900s, the wireless telegraph resulted from Maxwell’s Equations In the 1920s, radio went on the air (followed by television in the 1940s)

18 In 1905… Life expectancy: 47 years Homes with a bathtub: 14% Homes with a telephone: 8% Cars in the US: 8,000 Paved roads in the US: 144 miles Population of California: 1.4 million (21 st ) Average wage: 22 cents per hour High school graduates: 6%

19 In 2005… Life expectancy: 77.6 years Homes with a bathtub/shower: > 90% Homes with a telephone: > 90% Cars/trucks in the US: 200,000,000 Paved roads in the US: 500,000 miles Population of California: 37 million (1 st ) Average wage: 22 dollars per hour College graduates: 25%

20 Post-ag, post-WW2 IT Changes Computing: from mainframes (1950s) to personal computers (1980s) Networking: from stand-alone to LAN (1960s) to the Internet (1990s) Information: from a little data to islands of some information to the Web (1990s) Human-Computer interface: command line (1950s) to GUI (1980s) to the Web (2000)

21 Sustaining technologies An sustaining innovation makes a product better Incumbent companies are very good at producing and marketing sustaining innovations

22 Disruptive technologies An disruptive innovation provides a poorer solution to a known problem If it also provides a solution to another problem(s) that incumbent providers and customers aren’t interested in, it may flourish and improve in its own market niche If its rate of improvement is fast enough, it may end up displacing/disrupting the original technology *and* the companies that made it

23 Sustaining or disruptive technologies? Computer makers tried to use the chip as a sustaining innovation to make better mainframes; but its disruptive use was to make pc’s Telephone companies tried to use fiber optics to improve telephone long distance service, but its disruptive use was to enable the Internet High volume, low cost disk storage is about to disrupt the publishing industry

24 Year-to-year Changelessness (changes occur decade-to-decade) Four phases of a technology: Lab, Exotic, Manufacturable, Pervasive Computers 1940, 1951, 1981, 2005? Internet 1969, 1991, 2010? 2020?

25 Future Telecom Changes The Internet to displace the voice net as phone calls go VoIP? Cable-TV telephony? Wireless Data to displace cell phones? IM and similar “toys”? All optical networks (optical transmission and optical switching) to bring back circuits?

26 Other Future IT Changes Computing: thing computers (TCs)? Networking: wireless sensor/actuator nets? Information: all info available everywhere, all the time?

27 Societal Changes: the Earth Flattners 11/9/89 (Berlin Wall) + PCs 8/9/95 (Netscape goes public) Work Flow Software (XML, SOAP, WSDL) Open Source (Linux, Apache) Outsourcing (India)Triple Convergence Offshoring (China)Level Playing Field Supply-Chaining (Wal-Mart)Collaboration Insourcing (UPS)New Players In-forming (Google, Yahoo) Digital, Mobile, Personal, Virtual

28 Education changes? Higher education: motivated to cut costs? Community colleges (now 50% of students) For-profit universities (mostly adult students) Corporate training programs (just in time edu) K-12 education: motivated to improve? Charter schools (not) Individual courses over the Internet Edu-tainment?

29 Higher Education disruption? Currently IT-based education is poorer than (the best) traditional education IT-based education is finding niches and it will continue to develop Will the science of learning yield the ‘scientific’ application of IT to education? Could education be automated by IT to the extent that agriculture has been automated? Could IT-based education takes us from 20 students per class to 20 teachers per student?

30 Higher Ed Changes: When? About the time my sons (ages 20 and 24) are reaching the end of their careers? By then all the professors and teachers, not just the students, will have grown up with IT But will we figure out how to automate education about the same time that Hans Merovic (the CMU roboticist) predicts that all work will be automated?!

31 Conclusions Modern (post-ag) times really are different! Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian, Modern, Postmodern, … It was was 5000 years from the beginning of farming to beginning of civilization How many years will it be from the beginning of the post-ag era to the beginning of a “new civilization”? 500? Can we survive (pollution, extinctions, pandemics, terrorists, etc) until then?

32 John Dewey ( ) “For the futile effort to achieve security and anchorage in something fixed, [we must] substitute the effort to determine the character of changes that are going on and to give them in the affairs that concern us most some measure of intelligent direction.”

33 Some more books The New Renaissance, Robertson Information Ages, Hobart & Shiffman All books by Thomas P. Hughes To Light Such a Candle, Laidler From Dawn to Decadence, Barzun Saving Capitalism, Rajan & Zingales The Mind and the Market, Muller The Soul of Capitalism, Greider


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