By Peter Schwartz
The Washington publish known as The lengthy increase "a future-history and a challenge"-and that's precisely what it truly is: the tale of the world's destiny, powered through rising applied sciences, and a political imaginative and prescient which could support become aware of an period of extraordinary progress and chance. The lengthy growth urges all people to acknowledge that worldwide prosperity, a sustainable setting, extensive social development, or even appreciably prolonged lifespans are very possible-if now not probable-in the twenty years to come back.
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IN AddiTION, A de fACTO AMNESTY foR SOFTWARE piRACy WAS dEClAREd. PlRACy hAd t»£COME A huqE pRoblEM foR SOFTWARE COMPANIES IN the UsT pART of T^E TWENTIETH CENTURY, A«d ihey hAd SPENT ENORMOUS AMOUNTS of MONEY TRytNq TO srop IT. Wfrh The AdvsNT of OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE, The cRAckdoww dldN'T MAke SENSE, IN FACT, USE of A compANy's SOFTWARE WAS AN ASSET: A business wANTEd pEople TO spREAd ITS codE—ANd iTS NAME—AROimd. The wide AccepTAbiliTy of A cowpANy's SOFTWARE ENAbltd ThE iNTRoduaiGN of NEW pROduCTS ANd SERVICES T^AT WERE iht REAl SOURCE of ECONOMIC CjAJN, So by 2006, A COMMON bASE of OPEN, iNTEROpERAble COMPUTER code spREAd ACROSS TifE plAIMCT TO RUN VJRTUAlly All diqJTAl MAChlNES.
But that balance has started shifting during the 1990s—prompting a huge technological debate. Voice has always been transmitted via fixed circuits in the world of telephony. That means that a person placing a phone call to someone across the country first establishes an open connection that reserves a circuit of the telecommunications grid that literally spans that distance. Computer data, on the other hand, are transmitted via packets over the Internet and other protocols. All computer messages or transmitted data on the Net are broken into smaller bits, called packets, that then individually make their way across various routes in the telecommunications grid, to be reassembled at the final destination.
But by 1980, the crowning achievements of that inexorable process had all begun to flounder. This simultaneously happened to giant corporations, the gargantuan welfare states, and the even more colossal systems of communism. The stage was now set for the epochal changes to come in the following two decades. This section of the book, "Track the Inevitable," follows the major developments in technology, economics, and politics that have brought us to our present situation and appear ready to propel us forward.