RCFoC on a recent BusinessWeek futures issues

Rohit Khare (khare@w3.org)
Thu, 3 Jul 1997 15:35:13 -0400 (EDT)

Jeffery highlighted many pieces in a recent BusinessWeek in his
June 30 RCFoC. Here's a very compelling pair:

> * And here's another set of views of what tomorrow may bring, from
> the June 23 issue of BusinessWeek which looks inside some of the
> premier research labs whose business is creating that tomorrow:

> * British Telecom is studying ants, and for a reason you might
> not expect. They're looking at a ten-year, $46 billion
> investment to overhaul their phone network, yet by then it
> would again be out of date. So they're using biologists and
> entomologists to see if they can apply nature's ability to do
> complex things with very simple "software," to their problem.
> For example, they're exploring sending "intelligent agent"
> ants scurrying through the phone network to find the best way
> to reroute calls around a clogged area. One "ant" won't do
> much, but as with an ant colony, thousands just might do what
> one cannot. Details are at
> http://www.businessweek.com/1997/25/b353218.htm .
> * And speaking of ants, of which there are about one
> quintillion on earth, do you remember Gordon Moore (Moore's
> Law -- a 37 year average of chip density doubling every
> eighteen months, while the cost for a given amount of compute
> power drops by 50%)? He points out that this year we'll
> produce as many transistors as there are ants! A quintillion.
> And Moore expects this rate of transistor count growth to
> continue for the next 15 to 20 years as semiconductor line
> widths decrease from today's .35 microns to .07 microns by
> 2011. One results? "Silicon intelligence is going to evolve
> eventually to the point where it'll get harder and harder to
> tell intelligent systems from human beings." You'll find more
> on Moore at http://www.businessweek.com/1997/25/b353225.htm .
> And of course there's even more -- if you haven't ODed on
> tomorrow, today, check out
> http://www.businessweek.com/1997/25/970623.htm .

In a tangentially similar vein, the global market for voice telephony
was .5 trillion minutes last year -- or one minute on the phone for
each $50 of goods and services produced on the planet.

Line penetration: .43 per capita in Singapore, .49 in Japan, .61 in the USA
and the leader, .67 in Hong Kong.

Now, here's a teaser: even if penetration circa 1983 was .50, that's one
hundred million of those old rotary telephones. Where did they go?!

Is there a giant landfill somewhere? Were they shipped to the Third World,

Rohit "Anteater" Khare

PS. There was a FASCINATING bit on new PHS phones in that issue of RCFoC, too