3 years ago

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BIZPEOPLE4 continued

BIZPEOPLE4 continued from page 10see if what would happen if we had thiscommercial e-mail system trying to talkthrough the Internet protocols. But I alsowanted to break this policy-barrier [ofkeeping commercial traffic off the government-runnetwork].And they [the FNC] gave permissionto do this. So we brought up a gatewaybetween the commercial MCI systemand the Internet, and as soon as we announcedit existed in 1989, all the othercommercial e-mail providers like CompuServewanted their connection too,and got permission to do related to the Internet, and peoplewere throwing money at them.But while the Internet continues togrow, it still needs to grow more, becauseit’s only 30 percent penetrated. So I’meager to see new ways of getting Internetservice up and running everywhere.CWHK: What about divisions withinAsia?VC: I’m no expert in history, but the Internet’sexistence itself and the interconnectionof Asian countries through thatmedium means they can work togetheror, whether they like it or not, there’sWe believe that Internet technology, atmosphereand environment will be strongly influenced by Asianculture, languages, styles of work and styles of livinguse a biological metaphor.In hospitals today, there’s a staphbacillus called MRSA—don’t botherto write down the name, just Google it(journalists laugh). Here’s how it cameabout: when you treat people with antibiotics,it kills off some of the staph bacillibut the ones that survive become resistantto the antibiotics.I think that the more you try to suppresspeople’s access to the Internet,it’s like feeding antibiotics to the staphbacillus: if it survives, it does so bylearning how to defeat the antibiotics,so it becomes stronger. So the more youtry to suppress Net access, the moreincentive and motivation users have tofind a way around it. And I’m confidentthat the creativity of individuals is verypowerful, so I’m confident that, overtime, the Internet will become increasinglyaccessible.Because all these e-mail providerscould talk to the Internet, they could talkto each other for the first time—beforethey had incompatible protocols, butnow that they had to work through thisInternet-thing, they became compatible.So suddenly they were interconnected.Also in 1989, three commercial ISPsstarted in the USA, and there was legislationlater allowing commercial trafficin general to go onto the governmentsponsorednetworks. After this time—and especially after Tim Berners-Leeintroduced the World Wide Web andNetscape Communications was founded—wesaw a very rapid dotcom boomin the 1990s.It’s also worth noting that the dotcom“bust” was really a venture-capital bust:the network kept growing by a factor oftwo each year. This indicates that peoplewere investing in businesses that justdidn’t make sense. They didn’t havebusiness models, they were just some-connectivity. Because the Internet isglobal in scope, it’s possible to buildbusinesses that grow globally. TakeSkype for example: it knows no internationalboundaries.China has a remarkable track record ofengaging with a lot of businesses aroundthe world, as do Japan and Korea. Soit seems to me they’re fully capable ofrecognizing the importance of workingtogether.CWHK: China has had its differenceswith Google, and they also develop alternativesto globally popular tools likesocial media, VoIP and IM. As they havesuch a large online population, they’renot as concerned with compatibility.VC: This is an interesting angle, but perhapsbetter answered by people with abetter sense of history and politics thanmyself. But on efforts to suppress people’saccess to the Internet, I’d like toCWHK: What important technology doyou see emerging in coming years?VC: Several things—mobile technologythat can deliver information to people nomatter where they are. The idea that your“information-window” is [worn on] yourhip is very cool. Another is the adaptationof optical fiber to high-speed communications.And finally, the inventionof computer chips with more than onecomputer on every chip: “multi-core”processors. They’re impressive, but theyhave a weakness: getting information onand off that chip is turning out to be abottleneck, so there’s room for new architecturesfor computers.I’m excited about the potential of technologyto change the way the Internetworks, but I want to emphasize againthat it’s the software that makes thingsmost interesting—the ability to createnew software is going to drive whatkinds of applications we see on the Netin the future. 312 Computerworld Hong Kong April 2011

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