Post Facebook: Let's invent big once again

By , ITworld |  IT Management, Facebook, future tech

Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson talking at the Boulder Book Store at his signing of Anathem. October 1, 2008.

flickr/AMagill

20 years ago, a smartphone in your pocket tied to the knowledge of the world was unimagined. Today, every new Web startup is "like Facebook, but..." and the Space Shuttle is mothballed.

Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic says, "The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future." We built the Internet, the Web, the mobile Web, and social networking. Now everything new looks like "Facebook, but ..." or copies the iPhone. VC-backed free websites lose money faster as they get popular, meaning more advertising or acquisition. Are we too stunned by our success to take the next step?

Author Neal Stephenson, in an interview in Technology Review, takes some of the blame. Science Fiction has turned dark, perhaps discouraging budding scientists and engineers. Stephenson promises to work on being optimistic, and launched the Heiroglyph Project to push plausibly optimistic SF. We can't keep waiting for advancements to make future projects easier, he says, we need to get to work.

I'm ready

What do we do now? Same thing we do every night Pinky Alexis: Try to take over the world!
wiredog on theatlantic.com

Stop thinking like a marketer and think like an inventor with balls. Stop trying to get rich unless you are getting rich by doing something that is worth doing.
rohern on news.ycombinator.com

Stagnant?

Progress is almost always incremental and evolutionary.
acidboy on theatlantic.com

The main dangers are monopolistic predator companies, walled gardens, and government intrusion.
quelo on news.ycombinator.com

What we've lost is the impact the digital world has on the physical world. It's time to bring that impact back.
Troy Morris on theatlantic.com

Everything got put on hold for a generation
Neal Stephenson on technologyreview.com

The culture of investment is completely broken if you want to do something off their radar. The culture of "move to Mountain View and we'll do business" has got to stop. The culture of "we don't know anything about hardware" (ironic, given the name of the place) has got to stop.
Aaron Huslage on theatlantic.com

Good news

SpaceX just announced that they got the green light for their first space station mission, at costs so low even the Chinese government doesn't think they can compete.
Francois Baldassari on theatlantic.com

It could very well be that the next game-changer is already out there and we just don't know it yet. What could it be? Well I don't know... Google self-driving car? Khan Academy? Square?
dude_abides on news.ycombinator.com

consider that solar-stirling concetrator harnessed energy is THE highest energy efficiency conversion technology.
SOma on technologyreview.com

DisneyWorld Mars, anyone?

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