--The economic changes new technology has set in motion are more interesting
and important than the technology per se.
--The technology makes possible new forms of employment, new approaches
to compensation, and new ways of launching enterprises--what is
often referred to as a Silicon Valley System
--Note that this "Silicon Valley System" spreads across the country
and the world, with nodes in Boston, Austin, Helsinki,
Singapore, and elsewhere.
--Leading-edge users and their innovative applications have created the demand
and the markets that have sustained technological development. Leading-
user industries discovered just what advancing information-processing
technology was good for.
--In the beginning computers were seen as powerful calculators performing
complicated or tedious and lengthy sets of arithmetic operations.
--But by the 1970s it was clear that the computer was at least as useful in
stuffing information into and pulling information out of large data
bases as in being a large calculator.
--In the 1980s computers became ubiquitous in the office because they had
another powerful function separate from computation and sorting:
--The office applications used the microprocessor and memory
not as a calculator or a sorter but a trial-and-error device,
a possibility generator, a way of rapidly manipulating a
virtual document to see what the final physical document
--In the 1990's the computer has evolved two new major functions:
--It has burrowed inside conventional products as embedded systems
have begun adding intelligence to manufactured goods.
--It has connected outside to create the world wide web of network-
--Back in the 1950s the discoverers of the tools of modern quantitative finance
dismissed them as theoretically interesting but of no practical use--the
calculations required to figure out what an optimally diversified portfolio
would be were totally impractical.
--They did not foresee the implications of the computer revolution.