Welcome to the twenty-first century where the product cycle theory which in general states that a product or service has a beginning, a growth and decline stage, and a death, continues to spur the imagination of inventors and drive the workers to labor. Meanwhile somewhere in this cycle there are investors looking to bring the inventors product to the factory, or the farm, and further into the hands of the consumer. This is a global phenomena which has been played under the rules of geopolitical boundaries since the history of man began and even before. The currency of trade is relative to the era. The only thing that has ever changed is the power of influence or the ideologies that move boundaries.
Technology has always played a role in the process of commerce. However the effects of technology in today’s business world is hardly comparable to the technology used by generations from the past. It seems that we modern beings have hit a point in the time-line of human technological progress where linear slow progressive growth has turned to exponential and explosive growth. This point would be referred to as an asymptote by those who think in scientific terms. Scientific minded people also understand the rules of inertia where bodies or ideas resist acceleration and that cycles have tops or that they flow by the rules of entropy, from chaos to norms and back again. But where is the top or the bell curve in the current exponential growth that we are witnessing in technology today and what are the effects of technology in today’s business world?
Theory is based on imagination and some people say that all realities begin in a dream. Theory is where think tanks begin their work and where research and development takes over. Many projects never go beyond the theory stage and that is especially true in a world driven by economy and bottom lines. If however the investors are convinced that a theory can result in a commercially viable product or service then the real labour of bringing that product or service to the public is the driving force of the economy.
So welcome again to the twenty-first century where some things haven’t changed but others have.
The ideologies and the technology have certainly changed and the business world has changed with them. We are a global community and the boundaries or ideological borders are less a standard in business than they ever were in the past. This is a truth that is empowered by these computing machines that are now in the homes and offices of so many citizens of earth. Only a few decades ago the super computers used in business were able to process less information than a single personal computer can today and the only people who could afford to do research and development through the use of super computers were those who had the capital to invest in such ventures.
Today there is a new giant at work which is called a virtual super computer and it is virtual because it is a technology that deals with grid computing. This distributed computing replaces the local network super computers of the past. Grid computing in a sense reaches out into the global community and assembles an army of computers to work together through the Internet. When thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers are working together to solve a common problem or to analyze a theoretical framework then the solutions come much quicker. This is in part the new phase in a new age of the exponential growth of technology which may well be the driving force behind resource allocations. Labour is only one of those resources.
A good example of a grid computing application can be seen in the work being conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch and the giant blue chip company IBM. UTMB and IBM are assembling several thousand computers through the World Wide Web in the hope of coming up with the next life saving antiviral drug to combat the H1N1 influenza virus. This is a work that would take decades were it not for this new grid computing technology. Should the project work then it will bring about a product, in this case a pharmacological new drug, that will somehow drive one sector of the economy to a certain degree.
But that is only one grid computing project amongst hundreds. This distributed computing method of analyzing theories and other data is equally able to challenge scientific problems in any sector. This could lead to new products or services in transportation, health-care, finance, basic materials, or any other commercial sector. Such is the effect of a new technology in today’s business world.
But wait, there are certainly going to be some people who oppose such advancements.
This direct quote from a book called Grid2 shows us that there is indeed some reason to be concerned about this new way of finding solutions to global problems.
“Grids are going to change the world so quickly that we are not going to have much of a chance – on human, political, or social timescale – to react and change our institutions. Therefore there will be a lot of noise, a lot of angry people, and a lot of controversy.”
What this quote is stating is that however good the results of a virtual super computer might be for humanity as a whole it is likely that the competitive nature of people in business might kill the spirit or the full potential of what research and development through a technology such as distributed computing could achieve.
The theory of everything explains in a single model the fundamental interaction of all things in nature. It may be a stretch of the imagination to state that finding the best global business model would mean combining the efforts of all people regardless of borders but that is how the optimum grid computing research software application would work. There are investors and political powers who would deny that best case scenario.
So for my opinion on the effects of technology in today’s business world where chaos rather than functionality seems to be the norm I would have to say that we are in for some major new discoveries that have the potential to break new ground for all types of business opportunities, medical breakthroughs, and possibly a whole new global paradigm where borders and ideologies are restructured.
But recall the Grid2 authors quote where technological change and power shifts is likely to move quicker than the average person can handle and that there may be bumps or more like major potholes in the super highway of progress.
But as a species we are most likely going to adapt to this new paradigm where computing machines interconnected globally on a parallel grid become our allies in finding the best models in business and in other fields of science and technology.