by Leon Rosenshein


The world is always changing. And the rate of change appears to be changing as well. The stone age lasted 3000 years, and ended 5000 years ago. The bronze age took the next 1800 years, ending 3200 years ago. Iron ruled for about 1500 years, and technology stabilized for a while. Then things took off again. The industrial revolution, the atomic age, the space race, the silicon era, all in the last 250 years. Or, to put it in perspective, my grandparents grew up before phones, my parents had a party line, and the computing power you have in the phone in your pocket is probably more than the entire world had in 1965. And here we are on the cutting edge of technology. But technology isn't just deep, it's wide. So how do you keep track of things? Not only what's happening now, but what's just being talked about now and won't be a "thing" for 2 or 3 years?

One of the things you can do is find a person or group of people you trust who do think about things like that, and keep track of what they're thinking and saying. In the computer world one of those groups is ThoughtWorks. They're a cross between a consulting company and a think tank. On the think tank side they put out something called the Technology Radar. About twice a year they get together and think about the state of the industry, what's happening, what's hot, what's past its prime, and what to get ready for. I've been paying attention for the last 5 years or so, and they've done a pretty good job of prediction. I think that comes from the fact that they're consultants who need to understand how things really work if they want to get paid.

Regardless, they've been doing it for about 10 years now, and they put together a retrospective of the big changes. It's a pretty good synopsis of how things have changed, along with some predictions on the next 10 years. Something interesting to check out if you've got a few minutes.