Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Silicon Eye

I just finished reading George Gilder's new book "The Silicon Eye." I've been following Carver Mead and Federico Faggin since the early 1990s when I was Editor of the now defunct "Journal of Bionomics." Over the years, I've gotten to know Carver Mead. I think he's one of most astute scientists on the planet. Unlike others of his ilk, Carver is down to earth and very approachable. A scientist with a big heart -- a rare combination. I highly recommend Gilder's book, which lays out the story of Mead and Faggin's journey into analog processors and the quest to build intelligent technology. I found this passage illuminating and bang on:

"Like the railroads that bankrupted a previous generation of visionary entrepreneurs and built the foundations of an industrial nation, fiber-optic webs, storewidth breakthroughs, data centers, and wireless systems installed over the last five years will enable and endow the next generation of entrepreneurial wealth. As Mead states, 'the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was to get a company going during the bubble. Now, Mead says, there's space available; you can get fab runs; you can get vendors to answer the phone. You can make deals with people; you can sit down and they don't spend their whole time telling you how they're a hundred times smarter than you. It's absolutely amazing. You can actually get work done now, which means what's happening now is that the entrepreneurs, the technologists, are building the next generation technology that isn't visible yet but upon which will be built the biggest expansion of productivity the world has ever seen.' "

Amen.

(steve)

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