The latest episode of Light Reading's original science fiction serial, "Silence Like Diamonds," is up:
Need catching up? Start at the beginning: Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 1: Family Business
Or find links to every episode on the Faster-than-Light Reading page.
When you're caught up, come back here and we'll continue the discussion about businesses run entirely by software.
"Silence Like Diamonds" imagines a future where one of the most powerful companies in the world is a cloud provider named NameItCorp, with no employees at all. Everyone up to and including the CEO is software.
You've heard of driverless cars? NameItCorp is a driverless business.
NameItCorp stirred up some interesting discussion on the Light Reading message boards.
danielcawrey says: "I think we're getting close to that future, scary as it might seem. Just think about high frequency trading. That used to be done by daytraders."
I responded: "Consider Facebook and other companies with billion-dollar valuations. A century ago those would have been manufacturing companies employing hundreds of thousands of people with factories all over the US. Now, they're just a few people and a few massive datacenters."
John Barnes, author of "Silence Like Diamonds," replied: "Mitch, in 2000, Al Gore ... made a spectacular campaign gaffe in Seattle, where he said that sure, closing the Boeing airliner assembly line there (because to get the contract, Boeing agreed to do the assembly work in China) cost a lot of high paying machinist jobs, but just look how many high paying coder jobs were being added at Microsoft."
Barnes added, "That Boeing plant employed almost 30,000 workers; at the time, Microsoft had maybe 2,500."
Barnes continued that we may be on the verge of a "post-economic society," with no scarcity and therefore no rationing. To get there will require "decoupling work" almost completely from both production and consumption. The weight of "all of recorded history" stands in the way of that transition.
Communications service providers will be at the center of these changes, as machine intelligence, the Internet of Things and other technology advances require network connections. And the New IP is a baby-step in the direction of self-organizing networks as the foundation of smarter CSP businesses -- maybe even eventually CSPs that run themselves.
But that's a long way off; for now, the New IP delivers efficiency, agility and new business models for the real-world companies of today. Which are definitely run by people.
Even if we're heading for a post-work society, here in 2015 I've got a lot of work to do, so that's it for me for today. Join us Tuesday for the next installment of "Silence Like Diamonds."