(Tal Rabin, Shubhangi Saraf and Lisa Zhang asked me to remind you to publicize this: the bi-annual Women in theory (WIT workshop), NYC, May 28-30, 2014. Apps due Jan 20, 2014. Go here for all relevant information)
If FAX machines had come out 20 years earlier they would have had far MORE impact.
If FAX machines had come out 20 years later they would have had NO impact since by then
we all had email and scanners and what not. So when an invention comes out matters.
Ask your grandparents what white-out was for corrections on a typewriter (while you are at it ask your grandparents what a typewriter is). If it came out 20 years later then Bette Nesmith would have not made 50 million dollars, her son Michael Nesmith would not have had the spare time to become a musician and there might not be a group called THE MONKEES. Gee, we would have no LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE. But I digress (from what?).
If Lasik eye surgery came first and glasses later, glasses may have been seen as a great way to avoid surgery!
Amazon is working on a technology that may become obsolete before it really takes off. I am referring to the Amazon Drone Project. The idea is that when your order an item from Amazon a drone will get it to your house (or perhaps wherever you are) VERY FAST - maybe within 30 minutes. This works well for objects under 5 pounds. Say like what Amazon is best know for BOOKS.
But there is an a technology out there that may kill this idea before it gets off the ground. There is a competing company called Amazon which has already developed ways for people to get books on what they call a Kindle, which is like emailing them a book. So there is NO Physical object to be delivered.
Hence the Amazon Drone project may, like the 8-track tape (ask your great grandparents) become obsolete due to technology being developed by Amazon.
I wonder- had Amazon Drone come out 20 years ago would it have had more impact? Would it have made less of a demand for Amazon Kindle?
Amazon Drone may still have an impact by delivering other things. But I wonder how long it will take before 3-d printers make MOST things that Amazon delivers not need to be physical objects.