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The Great Seduction?

Posted by bboyes on June 12, 2007 at 12:24 PM PDT

Don’t Look Back by ZDNet's Andrew Keen -- How to innovate? That was both the spoken and unspoken question on everyone's minds at the Wall Street Journal's memorable D Conference this week in Carlsbad. How can we radically improve the experience and value of interacting with one's digital device? What is the next chapter in the evolution of information and entertainment technology?

The part of this that really sticks out for me is the issue of looking ahead instead of behind. Exactly what that means isn't fully explained in Keen's blog. The possibility which rings true for me is the concept of disruptive innovation vs evolutionary innovation. I just finished an Anne Perry historical novel and one example of disruptive technology is the advent of rifled-barrel, cartridge-loaded firearms which displaced smooth-bore muzzle-loaders around the time of the US Civil War, with devastating results.

Speaking of looking forward, Ann Perry seems to have succeeded in spades. She has gone from a murder conviction (this was news to me until researching this blog) at the age of 16 to a new name, career, and commercial success. That's a turnaround!

This year, my company - Systronix - is releasing several new products which attempt to look forward into areas such as robotics and wireless sensors. These are not a logical progression from existing products, so perhaps we can consider them disruptive...

Please share your thoughts on how you try to look forward.

And what does this mean for Java and related technology? Will Java be eventually displaced by something disruptive, or will we see the programming language evolution of the last 20-30 years continue for the next decade or two? Personally I believe that programming is far too slow and complex and we all would benefit greatly from a radically new answer to the question of "how to we make programmable devices do what we wish?" but I have no idea what such a quantum leap might be, or even if it is possible.

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