Thursday, September 20, 2007

Technology Insights From Cod

So I'm listening to a book about cod (yes, an entire book about a type of fish). Specifically, I'm in the section which discusses early predictions that overfishing was both a myth and impossible. Yes, impossible. Scientists were clear: humans couldn't catch enough fish to wipe out a species, even if they tried.

Of course, the predictions were wrong - we can easily over fish, not to mention exterminate pretty much anything we put our minds to. Even cod.

What's interesting to me is how the scientists of the past missed the fact that technology could be such a game changer. It allows for a fundamental change in the scale of the problem.

This chapter reminds me of a conversation I heard from the guys that designed TCP/IP. When they specified the original addressing scheme, try as they could, they couldn't imagine having more than 1,000 computer networks in the world. It just wasn't possible.

Fast forward to today, and every household and business in America is on its way to having at least one network in it.

How could they have missed this? These were smart guys.

Of course, they didn't really miss it - it was just not there.

My advice: never use the world never to describe a phenomena.


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