thoughts: technology and change

Recently, I came across a quote from screenwriter John August:

Remember the showdown between HD-DVD and BluRay?  Steaming won.

It’s an important concept. The advance of technology is difficult to predict, partly because it’s affected by technical prowess, ease of use, convenience, price, marketing, and many other factors. I doubt people expected the success of Facebook, Twitter, iPod, iPhone, flash drives, or Dropbox.  If there’s a general pattern, I’d say it’s that we usually expect technology to evolve rather than innovate (because it’s more common).

Today I read an article about the state of conferences and journals for computer science, called Technology, Conferences, and Community by Jonathan Grudin in CACM.  The above quote really came to mind.  I’ll try to summarize Grudin’s article over the weekend and comment.


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