Monday, May 17, 2010

A Looming Convergence

Recently on Facebook, I posted a TED Talk by Stephen Wolfram. This is one of those TED Talks that's had me thinking for the past two weeks. Here's the talk:



I think I know what caught my attention. Wolfram talks about how computation is giving insights into the Standard Model of physics. He has started using his software tools to model multiple universes with properties similar to ours. What is impressive is that he has achieved models that account for much of modern physics starting with simple components.

For the last 100 years, physicists have been searching for the Grand Unified Theory which will bring together all the different, incompatible theories of physics. String theory, super gravity, M-theory are all attempts to resolve this dilemma -- with varying results. Now, Wolfram is working on the same thing but from a completely different direction.

I think we are on the verge of a massive scientific convergence. These rare events always bring about incredible social, political and economic changes.

Convergence is when multiple sciences come to a unified understanding of a pivotal truth -- from their unique and different directions. Every major tech revolution has been brought about by convergence. The theories of one field are applied to the processes of another to arrive at a new physical understanding.

For example, the Industrial Revolution came about because of the convergence of Newtonian physics, metallurgy and pneumatics -- to name just the Top 3. Isaac Newton figured out his famous "1 Inch Formulas" that describe motion and forces. They formed the "language" that made the Industrial Revolution possible. Metallurgy created new steel alloys which could contain the forces calculated by Newton's laws. And pneumatics tied them all together to create the steam engine.

We are heading towards another major convergence. Our understanding of the physical world is growing by leaps and bounds. The discoveries made in particle accelerators and quantum mechanics are enabling advances in nano technology. Computers are working around the clock to break down and understand organic processes, like DNA mapping. Our technology is being applied across scientific fields with staggering results.

This next convergence is coming on the heels of the Information Revolution. This will cause a massive change in every aspect of our lives -- so much that it is impossible to predict what will happen. I'm not necessarily talking about Ray Kurweil's Singularity, but something big is coming.

And it's coming soon.

The looming convergence is going to rewrite the rules. Again. Get used to it. Change is coming faster than ever before. Those businesses designed for agility and a willingness to adapt to change will survive. The rest will fail.

Are you ready for tomorrow? Get futureproof with R-Squared Computing.


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