(2011-08-21) Andreessen Software Eating The World

Marc Andreessen on why Software Is Eating The World (Eat People). My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift (Technological Revolution) in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures (Disruptive Innovation). Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not... Software is also eating much of the value chain of industries that are widely viewed as primarily existing in the physical world. (I'm not sure I'm convinced by his examples.) Health care and education, in my view, are next up for fundamental software-based transformation (see 2007-01-18-KlingFogelFocusEducHealthLeisure). In some industries, particularly those with a heavy Real World component such as oil and gas, the software revolution is primarily an opportunity for incumbents (Sustaining Innovation). But in many industries, new software ideas will result in the rise of new Silicon Valley-style start-ups that invade existing industries with impunity. Over the next 10 years, the battles between incumbents and software-powered insurgents will be epic.

Venkatesh Rao says we should be very afraid. This is far more scary than Sky Net. I call it Bug Net... Sure, you could start teaching programming in schools and have today's adults become more computer literate. But that would be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic... You may want to learn a hedge skill that would be valuable in a Bugnet-caused softocalypse (I am being totally serious here).

  • Oct27 update/aside on some Video selections: With software eating the world, whether we get a Singularity scenario or a Collapsonomics (Collapse) scenario largely depends on whether or not some fundamental problems with software (involving entropy and bugginess) can be solved. Alan Kay is optimistic. If he’s right, we’ll get the Singularity - 2011-07-31-KayProgrammingAndScaling, and Lord Skynet will let us continue happily in our current state of self-absorbed idiocracy that the BBC documentary describes. If we fail, we get BruceSterling’s world: grim, with collapse looming, and rich and poor alike scrambling to adapt to inevitable decline - 2009-06-30-SterlingReboot.
  • Apr'2012 update: 2012-04-19-RaoUbihackingNonDisposablePlanet

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