Digital Development
Communications and info tech in developing countries, especially wireless broadband and high-value applications

Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Monday, March 07, 2005


frontline: high stakes in cyberspace: Paul Saffo in 1995 on PBS:  Fun to read the old stuff.  Paul Saffo is remarkably on-target, 10 years later.  This article mentions "macro-myopia: A pattern where our hopes and our expectations or our fears about the threatened impact of some new technology causes us to overestimate its short term impacts and reality always fails to meet those inflated expectations. And as a result our disappointment then leads us to turn around and underestimate the long term implications and I can guarantee you this time will be no different. The short term impact of this stuff will be less than the hype would suggest but the long term implications will be vastly larger than we can possibly imagine today."  I've since encoutered Gartner's Hype Cycle, which they say they started to use also in 1995, with a graphic version of this insight. 

I found this when looking for a reference to an aphorism that I think comes from Saffo.   The aphorism:  Over two years, things change much less than we think they will; but over ten years, they change more than we imagine. 

It makes me wonder about the timeframe in between, say 5 to 7 years in the future, when major impacts will be felt from things we know are changing now, despite hype (digital sensors and surveillance) and disillusion (wind and solar power).

  12:45:30 PM  permalink  

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