It�s much better today, when

by francine Hardaway on July 21, 2005

It�s much better today, when I can see the CEO pitches and learn what�s going on in Silicon Valley. I remember seeing Pluck when it was a new company presenting to Chris Shipley�s Demo conference, and now it is launching a second product:, a place to collect your tags and share them, not unlike Pluck must still be a small company, however, because I signed up for an account now that it�s available for Firefox, but I still don�t have the verification email for either my Pluck account or my Shadows account. Guess it�s not automated yet.

The consensus seems to be that there�s no breakthrough technology here, although collaboration and personalization of the web experience is big. The real geeks sense a creeping incrementalism, through which existing ideas become more and more refined, but nothing truly new emerges. I�m waiting for George Gilder to speak � if he doesn�t find something, no one will. He�s a �quantamentalist,� always looking for quantum shifts.

But George has been in his cave writing a book about Carver Mead and Richard Fineman, and said he had to catch up on technology. Now he has an opinion.

About Bernie Ebbers: �he�s been made the scapegoat for the telecom crash, �and for the appalling blunders of the regulators who thwarted the optical revolution.�

About Skype: VOIP is not a fundamental change.

About video on demand: Also seems boring. In his book �Life After Television,� Gilder predicted that TV would be dead by now, replaced by always on technologies. He still thinks that both TV and Hollywood are slowly dying. Now that there isn�t a scarcity of channels, we don�t need a technology of tyrants. No one can push anything on the user anymore, as the user becomes a producer. Amazon gets 50% of its revenues from books below its top ten. The user not only wants choice, he wants his FIRST choice.

Although TV sets are still emitting fumes in our living rooms, nobody is going to watch anything they don�t want to see. The blog culture will redeem America.

Wi-fi and WiMax: Inferior to EVDO technologies. They are the desperate response of the establishment trying to defend itself against the cell phone trying to become the dominant technology. Their chief promoters are the old guard, defending themselves against QualComm.

About costly security: Security moving to the edge. Platform modules will be on the motherboard and be on every teleputer. Trust will move to the edge.

About smart phones: Gilder refers to them as diddleware.

Nanotech: An extension of Moore�s Law. Things will get smaller throughout the century.

In the �Education of Henry Adams,� Adams propounded the law of the accretion of progress. We are now in a period similar to the end of the 19th century, when everyone thought all science had been discovered.

Fineman defined nanotech: the atom by atom construction of all machines. This reduces chemistry and biology to physics. This was known as Fineman�s mistake. It is impossible mathematically to reduce biology and chemistry to physics, as scientists have said since.

So�Gilder is just winding up; he seems like a bi-polar character on a high.

Silicon Valley can out-innovate scientists, however, because it can build. If you can build it, you can understand it. Carver Mead has built a silicon eye, and is now building new RFID chips in a company called Impinge. The chip is powered by the reader, which can be 45-50 feet away. Powered by incident radiation, combining analog and digital all on a grain of sand.

Real human eyes do more image processing than all the supercomputing power in existence today.

This is the kind of real innovation that can be unleashed by the effort to mimic biology.

The interplay of biology and physics is the major innovation that�s happening today. It�s a transition from an industry dominated by three abundances: power, silicon, and transistors to one dominated by scarcity of those resources. We are going from analog to digital and back to analog. Optics engineers are analog engineers, as are bioengineers. We are going to make body parts of silicon, he implied. Or I inferred.

And then he stopped: �thank you, we have fifteen minutes for questions.�

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