removable media

This is a collection of various musings on stuff. My day-to-day stuff is on my 'blog

table of contents (newest stuff first)

~1997 - 03/31/1999 : rifts

In my short time as a member of modern society, I have been painfully aware of a rift. One may view this rift as completely illusory and irrelevant, but allow me to expound.

Most of us are familiar with the division of the "Haves" and the "Have-nots". It is a separation that has been with us as long as there have been physical artifacts, and more importantly, since we have placed some sort of value on these artifacts.

It is my humble opinion that this distinction will remain in our society as long as we place value on things. However, I see a parallel rift forming. One in which artifacts are replaced by ideas. Just as manufacturing cedes its dominance to service, the importance of things is slowly being usurped by that of knowledge.

This new division, that of the "Knows" and the "Know-nots", becomes more and more an inexorable reality with the ubiquity of the microprocessor and the reign of the network economy. Up until the recent future, the chief barrier to this future was of an economic nature: it was simply too expensive for all but the socio-economically elite to have access to the new medium.

As die sizes shrink, along with unit cost, and network connections become commodity, access to information is no longer an issue. However, knowing what to do with that information will be the pivot of future society. In the future, the question may change from "Who do you know and how much do you make?", to "Who do you know and what networks do you access?".

Based on these ideas, it is my opinion that a new elite is forming. We see now in the business world a grand yet diminishing separation between "The Business", and the technical community. More and more, companies are looking to populate their payrolls with those who excel in both areas. I feel it is these people who will guide our future.

Already, we see the stealthy shift of our society away from its fixation on artifact. Even now cellular phones are free with service, computer systems are had for a few hundred dollars with a contract for network access. Open Source Software is causing upheaval in the traditional distribution of software. I wonder how long it will be until physical artifacts are completely disposable.