Analogue Evolution, Digital Revolution: Tipping Points in Technology
Technological progress is non-linear. Sometimes, innovation is a smooth curve; hundreds of small, incremental improvements over many years – until something comes along that changes the game; something that fundamentally challenges our assumptions around what technology can achieve. Within the last few decades, technology has profoundly and irreversibly changed the shape of human society; how we work, how we relax, how we communicate and collaborate. And, in almost every case, the key has been digitalisation: the ability to take transform part of our reality into a stream of bits.
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see the tipping points, to identify the moments when a particular technology or idea achieved critical mass, when something went from being an interesting prototype to a viable product – but for people who were there at the time, it often wasn’t nearly so obvious. In an industry that’s perpetually excited about the “next big thing”, how do developers and technologists decide what to focus on? Should we be thinking about augmented reality? Will machine learning replace developers? Is AI a fun toy, a useful tool – or an existential threat to humanity? Join Dylan Beattie for an entertaining look at the innovations that really did change the world (and a few that didn’t!), and how understanding our history can help us make sense of the next digital revolution – whatever that turns out to be.
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