New IP

Like Driverless Cars? Try a Driverless Cloud

The latest episode of Light Reading's original science fiction serial, "Silence Like Diamonds," is up:

Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 7: Nobody Home.

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.

Find out more about the New IP on Light Reading's New IP channel

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."

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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John Barnes 8/18/2015 | 4:45:59 PM
Re: Just a quick pointer ... Mitch, as a general rule, I think the first phase is getting it to work at all and getting anyone to participate -- that's the 1.0. Getting it to do something interesting so that participation greatly increases is 2.0.  So tech-ish people like Yip will be the typical IoT 1.0 users, and many of their neighbors will not see the point.  It's the step beyond into 2.0, where there are a lot of applications and instead of there being internetrons in your environment, your environment is mostly made up of internetrons, that is going to be interesting and lucrative (and require a bandwidth that I am not at all sure will be available, ever, so this may be moot anyway).
Mitch Wagner 8/18/2015 | 2:17:12 PM
Re: Just a quick pointer ... Just read the post on your blog. Very interesting!

I find most of the consumer applications for the Internet of Things uninteresting. I can look in the refrigerator and see if I'm nearly out of cottage cheese. And it really isn't hard to get up and switch on and off a light. We don't even have to get up -- we have lamps right next to where we sit. 

However, there are some IoT consumer applications that are interesting. Once my wife and I went away on a 10-day vacation. On day 2, a part in the refrigerator died. The inside of the refrigerator when we got home 8 days later was scary. Another time a part in the dishwasher died -- we had to wash dishes by hands for a week. It was a horrilble experience of privation. So it would be great if appliances knew when their parts were about to give out, and automatically signalled the manufacturer to order a part and send out a serviceperson to install it. 

Medical IoT applications are interesting. Imagine sensors that monitored your blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc., continuously. 

All of these will require vast network applications. 

Mitch Wagner 8/18/2015 | 2:03:33 PM
Re: Just a quick pointer ... I've noticed many older science fiction fans seem to be late adopters of technology. Six or seven years ago, when I stuck my toe in the waters of being active in the local con scene, I'd suggest programming on this new phenomenon called "social media." The people running the cons would just look at me blankly and then look at each other silently for an awkward moment, and then someone would suggest a panel on some science fiction show that has been off the air for 20 years, and everybody would perk up and say, "Great idea! Let's do a panel on that!"

Lately, there's been fresh blood in sf fandom -- but even the fresh blood seems to be in its 30s or 40s. 
John Barnes 8/18/2015 | 1:48:34 PM
Just a quick pointer ... Over in my personal blog I've just put up some speculation about the Internet of Things 2.0 -- assuming we're just starting on IoT 1.0 today, but it will be mature by Yip's day (2030), then in the world of Silence Like Diamonds, IoT 2.0, whatever it may turn out to be, will be just nascent.

That also brought on a stray thought about science fiction and the future; almost an embarrasingly simple thought considering next year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of my first science fiction novel. Just as for a long time, nobody on television watched television, in much of science fiction, nobody thinks/frets/worries/dreads about the future; the Brave New World is complete and finished and not going anywhere different. But in fact, whatever we're starting now is going to be either the old-hat-that-didn't-work or the "that's the way the world is" in the near future --- and whatever comes after it will then be looming as THIEIR future.
DHagar 8/17/2015 | 2:32:14 PM
Re: Driverless Cloud Mitch, we agree - it's not going to happen.  Keynes' work-production systems are not going to become a reality.
Mitch Wagner 8/17/2015 | 2:12:52 PM
Re: Driverless Cloud That 15-hour-workweek prediction is the fly in the ointment of today's prediction about the end of work. Why will it be true now when it proved so laughably wrong then?
DHagar 8/17/2015 | 1:51:55 PM
Re: I worry about a few other things as well John, excellent perspective and review of history.

We will be limited to the past if we do not recognize that the old patterns are being disrupted and find new ways to generate wealth.  If we can find better AI/Human Intelligence combinations I believe we can unleash more effective production, new technology solutions, better social value, etc.  But if we don't even recognize the need for change we will continue to lose ground.

We need new pioneers!
DHagar 8/17/2015 | 1:46:26 PM
Re: Driverless cloud danielcawrey, good example.  It is positive when we use this change to create something new - which adds value and creates new demands.  We need to keep doing that in order to stay ahead of the game.
nasimson 8/17/2015 | 12:51:01 PM
Which ever way it turns out Thanks Mitch for firing up some brainy discussion. It's interesting to speculate what a post-work society would look like, how would we work, how would we entertain, how would we raise kids. No matter whichever way it turns out, the future will be very different from present.
mendyk 8/17/2015 | 10:24:13 AM
Re: I worry about a few other things, as well We are shifting from an economy that was based on human labor to one that is based on human consumption of goods and services. Maybe it's time to fire up the Kindle and revisit Malthus.
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