The Great Horse Manure Crisis
London in 1900 had 11,000 horse-powered cabs. There were also several thousand buses, each of which required 12 horses per day, a total of more than 50,000 horses. A horse on average produces 25 lbs. of manure per day, which comes to 1.1M lbs. of manure per day just for London. Consequently, the streets of nineteenth-century cities were covered with horse manure.
Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure.
As we know, this did not happen, because of innovators like Henry Ford introducing the horseless carriage. Now we have to deal with CO2.
For some time Moore’s law seems to be in danger. We are reaching the physical limitations of increasing transistor density on the silicon. Are we in trouble? Is the computer age is ending?
If history repeats itself, probably not. Some type of new disruptive technology is on the way to completely change the game. It may be the memristor, quantum computer, optical chip, nanotechnology or something else. The only certain thing we can expect is that we will be surprised sooner or later. Clayton Christensen’s books capture the nature of disruptive innovation really well.
For IT the disruption is both invigorating and scary, we struggle with comprehending exponential changes with linear thinking.
Today we deal with social platforms, the cloud, mobile technologies, bid data, and others. Tomorrow we will have the internet of things, reality will be augmented, and we will be interacting with the gadgets using gestures. Disruptive technologies remove the complexity on the front end but often increase IT support complexity and vulnerability on the back-end. These vulnerabilities related to data integrity, availability and confidentiality.
Is this really relevant for your IT shop? Probably it is. Especially if you are making significant IT investments for the long term like building a data center or implementing ERP or content management.
So, when you go to work on Monday, think about the upcoming disruptions and check that you have fresh technology road maps aligned with your business strategy. And it always makes sense to query the IT world’s Oracles of Delphi, the powerful foretellers and future makers, the IT analyst firms.