Computer Science Enablers for the Exponential Economy

As a computer scientist myself it is good to see my discipline getting the credit for helping to enable the exponential economy. In his Exponentials R Us post Ed Lazowska lists his 7 key economic game-changers of the last decade (see the presentations and videos from the Computing Research That Changed the World symposium):

  1. Search
  2. Scalability
  3. Digital Media
  4. Mobility
  5. eCommerce
  6. The Cloud
  7. Social Networking and Crowd Sourcing

I particularly like Ed’s comment on the cloud:

A few years from now, if you’re a business, having your own datacenter is going to look just about as smart as generating your own electricity. And if you’re a consumer, running your own application software (and doing your own upgrades and your own backups) is going to seem just about as bright. The cloud also provides universal access and sharing. What’s not to like?

Even Ed admits his list of seven for the next decade are pretty predictable; smart homes, cars, bodies, robots, and crowds make five, and then the data deluge and virtual and augmented reality. For me one of the most interesting is the data deluge which speaks to what is being called the Fourth Paradigm or data-intensive science, eScience for short. This requires specialist software backed by shared data representations and storage to allow eScience to share and archive the data used to publish journal and conference papers, reports, books, and the like.

I see one of most problematical predictions is that of smart crowds which assume crowdsourcing outcomes are always right. In a most thought-provoking invited talk at ASCILITE2009 Mark Nichols urged us to question whether group think always results in correct conclusions. His talk was novel for being devoid of any visuals both slides and handouts!

What’s exciting is that the Internet of Things will be behind all the major game-changers of the coming decade.

via @timoreilly tweet


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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