If the future of computing is anything like its past, then its trajectory will depend on things that have little to do with computing itself. Technology does not appear from nowhere. It is rooted in time, place, and opportunity. The capabilities and constraints of machines are determined not only by the laws of physics and chemistry but by who supports those technologies, who builds them, and where they grow.
Popular characterizations of computing have long emphasized the quirkiness and brilliance of those in the field, portraying a rule-breaking realm operating off on its own. Silicon Valley’s champions and boosters have perpetuated the mythos of an innovative land of garage startups and capitalist cowboys.
The reality is different. Computing’s history is modern history—and especially American history—in miniature.
From MIT Technology Review
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