Great video here from the PBS News Hour featuring three tech visionaries debating the impact of the Internet and digital technology over the past decade, plus a look forward to the future. It features Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist and author of the forthcoming book, “You Are Not a Gadget,” Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings, which invests in technology startups, and Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster and consulting professor at Stanford University.
I like Esther’s line, “the Internet has given each of us the power that you needed three secretaries to have and an institution behind you.” It’s true. Even though many people complain about information overload, the Internet and digital technologies have also given us the unprecedented ability to gather and filter through massive amounts of information and then put that information to work for us. You really did need 2 or 3 people, or an entire institution behind you in the past to accomplish things that you can now handle yourself in just a few hours (perhaps just minutes) with your computer or smartphone. Progress is good.