CHANGING THE WORLD – ONE DEVICE AFTER ANOTHER
The digital world is changing rapidly. The Silicon Valley giants are constantly bringing out new devices to satisfy the demand for improved communications and social networking. To increase device capacity, the major companies in this high-tech industry need to create a new chip to operate these complex systems.
I was inspired to review the potential new digital gadgets when I saw the cover of The Economist for April 9, 2016. In a pose simulating a marble statue of a Roman Emperor was Mark Zuckerberg posed with the heroic oak leaf crown, a traditional toga, one arm extended with his thumb-up and the other hand grasping an I-phone with the monogram f.
The cover portrait represents a current portrait of the digital world: a king of new technology, the Facebook corporate symbol of a thumb up and the gaze of a confident young and ambitious entrepreneur and the fifth richest man in the world.
There’s no doubt that the founder of Facebook greatly enhanced the digital world in association with digital manufacturers such as Apple, Cisco, Intel and many others that drive this equipment. As a founder of Facebook at age 20, he proceeded to go public in a lackluster start that ballooned into one of the largest U.S. corporations. I have extracted several references in The Economist cover story to help explain the rapid and immense growth in the digital world over the last decade.
Let’s start with Zuckerberg’s rise to fame. He brought to market a completely new concept of social networking. While a student at Harvard, he began to create a digital networking system on campus. It was so successful that the university had to shut it down because it overwhelmed Harvard’s network switches and prevented students from accessing the Internet.
Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software while in middle school. A biographer wrote, “Some kids played computer games. Mark created them.” His colleagues at Harvard who helped develop the Facebook concept were dealt out of the deal and filed a lawsuit that resulted in a settlement of 1.2 million Facebook shares that were worth $300 million at the time of Facebook’s IPO. The Facebook project was so consuming that Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year, joining other creative entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs who never achieved an advanced education but didn’t need it to be successful.
Today Facebook is the world’s largest social network with 1.6 billion users. It is the sixth most valuable public company on earth. Zuckerberg as the largest stockholder has 410 million shares with a value of $54 billion after selling stock worth $300 million, reported Forbes magazine.
In spite of this success, Zuckerberg has greater ambitions such as taking internet signals to poor countries using drones and is making a big bet on artificial intelligence. The company is locked into a battle shaping the digital world with other giants like Google.
Like a Roman Emperor, Zuckerberg has built an empire by dealing with potential competitors by buying them. The social network system is turned itself into one of the world’s most influential technology giants, and it wants to become ever more powerful, according to The Economist.
Facebook reached its position of influence and power by defining three maxims about the Internet: that social networks have short lifespans, that it is impossible to make money from them and that mobile advertising is a grim business.
Social networking is not the only new face in the digital world. IBM has put its powerful resources behind the future of artificial intelligence with the centerpiece of its latest computer giant named Watson. After competing in a game of Jeopardy with experts, Watson proved to be smarter.
How will this benefit the future of industry? Already in the development stage is a program to assist the Air Force in procurement due to the complexity of the regulations issued by the government, 1897 pages of the densest prose on the planet, according to Christian Davenport of The Washington Post. Using Watson cognitive learning computer, the Air Force can deal with vendors yet comply with regulations. The idea is to create a “bureaucracy buster.”
Meanwhile the major chip makers in the U.S. are already in the development phase of a higher capacity chip as a 5G model for the growing complexity of digital equipment. These major companies, including Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Cisco are trying to keep up with the demand for more capacity and speed. There is also a growing interest in the so-called “cloud” industry for similar digital applications.
If the Trump economy continues to accelerate and encourage more manufacturing jobs in America, these new devices for the digital universe should receive support from industry and government.