First let me introduce myself so you can calibrate whether my life experience gives credibility to what I am attempting to communicate on the huge changes, both good & bad, brought about by the high tech tsunami washing over us since the last 3/4 of a century and especially the last three decades.
The recent brouhaha about the Cambridge Alalytica/Facebook and, in general, the 2016 presidential election, made me realize how much our half century of technological tsunami is underestimated by all our technically naive elites. In this note, I would like to explain as plainly as possible, why the world is facing a revolution the likes of which HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE and what its multitudinous consequences are likely to be.
The simplest way to conway its import is to reflect on what happened when the Gutenberg Movable Font Printing Press (MFPP) was developed. This Wikipedia article is well worth reading. It clearly documents the cascade of events taking place in Europe from the mid 16th century through the next couple of centuries. It also illuminates how alphabetic writing adopted by the Roman/European societies fully enabled the benefits of MF printing, causing European culture to surpass Chinese culture in spite of the latter having developed such technology & others before the Europeans.
All these history-altering (kairotic) effects were caused by, at most, a two orders of magnitude increase in written documents productivity. In the last half century, technology has gone, as I will show in these notes, through at least eight orders of magnitude of change in several crucial dimension including productivity. One can definitely fully expect a revolutionary time ahead!
I'll close by briefly recalling my exposure to high-tech that goes back to 1954 (2/3 of a century ago) when, in graduate courses at Columbia University, I first learned about digital (boolean) logic and computer (language) compilers. In the 1960s I was involved with the development of Operating Systems (OSs) to share the very expensive computers among dozens & dozens of users. Also during the 60s, I taught at Harvard the first graduate course on Operating Systems. In the seventies, I led the worldwide development of hardware & software for the second largest computer company in the world at the time. In the 80s & 90s continued to teach at Harvard introducing graduate courses in database management & software engineering & architecture.
In the 2000s I advised phone & other communication companies on how to deal with the disruptive wave coming their way &, after my retirement from the Harward Computer Sciences faculty, I was invited by the Harvard School of Design (Classical Architecture) to offer a graduate seminar on the relations between building & software architecture. I also have successfully invested in many of the high tech giants very early on and are staying fully informed on their development.
This e-document is divided in number of sections some dealing with major factors & same dealing with the specific societal impacts as reflected by the link list below:
Implied societal impacts: