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Submit a report. At the end of March , In the UK, we currently do not know what impact roads have on our wildlife. A fourth generation Montanan, Elpel founded Green University in , an alternative learning environment where adults learn in-depth survival skills and total self-sufficiency. Bears, he noted, are not legal to pick up in Montana.
Those numbers only get bigger when the game is larger. A longtime vegetarian and former vegan, Young now eats meat if it is salvaged roadkill. It was, to say the least, a jarring moment. But despite such sentiments, California's new bill will face determined opposition from Judie Mancuso, founder of the animal rights advocacy group Social Compassion In Legislation. Archuleta dismisses that concern. Rennie Cleland agrees. At least this way, the right people will have the option at least. I think that a variety of the existing switch people are gonna also be making great switches.
I don't mean it's limited to that. That's high-tech in wide-area networking, whereas that's gonna be ridiculous in just a few years. And that industry's gonna restructure completely as a result. But that's the technology level. There's also some interesting service aspects of that. We go to what I call the communications rollercoaster.
Your phone bill hasn't followed an exponential price curve. It hasn't dropped by a factor of two every year. Nor has the amount of data that you send. It expanded by a factor of two at the same cost. It's basically been static. Well, now we have ATM technology. We have fiber optics.
And we have a third factor, competition, coming in. Those three things are gonna combine to make the communications world change overnight. Now overnight may take five years, may take 10 years to do, but in the historical context we're gonna go from voice being a very expensive sort of a service to voice essentially being free.
In fact, you can calculate the numbers. If they charged more, they wouldn't be competitive with the existing Blockbuster store. Those guys have to get some money and distributors have to get some money. If you compare that to what you have today for voice, you get VOD service, which costs, for most long-distance calls, between 30 and 60 cents a minute.
That's a factor of 10, different in price. I believe that we'll see a time when voice calls, even long-distance voice calls, are free. One of the other factors to consider here is that the economics of the communications business is gonna be turned on its head. The way that public utility commissions and the networking companies today think is in terms of the enormous value of their installed equipment. Well, it is valuable, but you have to remember that the new equipment will probably be a factor of two better for the same price every year.
Whoever is operating these networks has to go on a very intense schedule of upgrading them. They also have to worry that …. A schedule of upgrading them. They also have to worry that if they don't upgrade, some new guy's going to come in, pay a fraction of what they paid to put the things in originally, and have much better service. It's going to be a hell of a ride. But ultimately, I think both for the companies in that business and for the consumers, it's going to be a real thrill too. What sort of network are we talking about? We've sort of talked around the edges.
I think the overall system that we foresee is a switched digital network that offers point to point high bandwidth digital communications, and on which you hang a wide variety of different devices. This is interesting analogy to the electrical system. When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, it became the killer app, the key thing, that focused people's minds on electrification.
When electricity was first installed in American homes, it was installed as a dedicated lighting system. In fact, in large cities, it replaced an earlier dedicated lighting system based on gas, gas lights. Now, we don't think of electricity as a dedicated lighting system anymore. Sure, we have lights, but we also plug in our Cuisinart and our stereo and our computer and our electric razor. It's a general utility. The same thing has happened in the communications world.
Today, you have two dedicated networks. You have a cable TV network, dedicated in the notion it'll deliver you video. You have a telephone network, dedicated in the notion it delivers you point to point communications. Those are going to evolve as we look forward into a general information utility. You'll have a bit socket, like the RJ11 jack you have today.
Into that bit socket, you'll plug your personal computer, and you'll plug your camcorder when you want to send pictures of the kids to grandma. You'll have your smart TV, your smart cable box. You'll have some dumb cable boxes. You'll have wireless phones and smart phones, and you'll have a wide variety of servers and other systems that are set up in order to supply information.
This isn't about the telephone taking over the world. It's not about the TV or the set top box taking over the world. It's not about the personal computer taking over the world. What we're talking about here is a general information utility. Not only those, your water heater will be connected. Every electrical device will ultimately be connected to this information utility, and offer you the ability to do demand-side power management, security, a wide variety of different kinds of information usage.
In fact, we'll think of information as just as fundamentally utility as we think of electricity today. Now, in looking at how this world is going to evolve, there's a variety of aspects of this information. What do you mean information? What kinds of information? How will it alter? I think one of the interesting ways to look at it is to divide things into two sides, the pure information addressing aspects. Are you sending something to one person or to many people?
Is it point to point, one to one, or one to many? Also, look at the temporal aspects in time. Is it synchronous, like a telephone call when both parties have to be on the line at the same time, or is it asynchronous, or offline, so that the two parties can be completely decoupled in time? Well, you can make a list of these things. Examples of an online one to many service would include things like television and radio. We all have to be there when The Simpsons start, and if not, they start without us. We're all synced up.
Telephones and most computer networks are examples of point to point communications. We're sending something from one place to another place. Telephone is certainly a synchronous example, or online example. The offline side, a book or a magazine is a classic one to many offline thing. You don't care when the book was written, it could have been written a hundred years before you were born.
It fundamentally was written for a wide audience, not just for you. Finally, there is point to point off line, electronic mail, fax, ordinary postal service. Again, you have a decoupling of time, but you have a point to point address. Now, within each of these categories, I've described a variety of different information utilities, each of which has very different characteristics today. That's going away. Because once you have this kind of information transmittal means, storage means in your hand, you wind up finding that everything within a box winds up becoming quite similar.
The difference between say a record album, which is one kind of one to many offline thing and a book, well that's just different kinds of data. Once you're storing them all digitally, what does it matter? Fundamentally, you see the world collapsing into two kinds of services. There's digital data that's online, a digital phone call, a digital video call, et cetera. There's digital data which is offline, either via a store and forward system, or perhaps it's on an optical storage disc.
I think we'll see a lot of things move from the online category to offline.
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Why should we all have to wait for The Simpsons to come on at a particular time? We've made ourselves slaves to the machines, slaves to the system. You should be able to watch a TV show, a movie, anytime you like. Doesn't mean everything's offline of course. There'll still be late breaking news stories that'll come on that you're going to want to watch at that point in time, but by and large, many of the things that are multicast and online will move offline.
Similarly, many of the things which you had a very long time constant for, you're going to be able to get instantaneously. Ultimately, as we look forward to these kinds of information, we discover that the factors which survive the best are those that are the most generic, the addressing capabilities and the temporal aspects. To get more information on how this is going to happen, we have to look for analogies. It's hard to find something that has the same characteristics as this information highway explosion will have, unless you go very far back, back to the first information revolution, when Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press and completely changed the way people thought about information.
I've got an analysis of that, based on what I call document demographics. Consider the total number of documents, say, published each year, versus the total number of readers that that information was dedicated to. In the zero column are notes to yourself. People take notes, they're not intended for any reader other than the author, it's not for any kind of distribution really, it's as a memory aid.
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Well, then you've got letters, personal letters to a person, business letters, et cetera. Those exist in one to a small number of copies. Once you get up to a higher volume above a hundred, you're probably not sending letters. It's probably things like ads, brochures, newsletters. Finally, get up above about 10,, you have books, magazines, newspapers, things of that sort. You can estimate what the shape of that curve is. You can do that by figuring out how much notebook paper is sold, how many Post-It Notes are sold, what's the combined circulation of newspapers, magazines, books, et cetera.
I've got a schematic curve there sort of illustrating this. The thing that's fascinating to me about this curve is that print media, which is basically what we're talking about, is very mature. Print media is driven more by the fundamental desire of the people who are using it, than by the technology, although technology's played an important role. It gives us an interesting way of looking at what might happen, I believe will happen, for online digital information. Now, within each of these different ranges of documents, there's a characteristic technology used for reproduction, for making the copies, for actually getting the copies out to people.
For the zero case, it's pen or pencil. That's how a document that gets no distribution other than the author is written. From one copy up to a hundred copies, you're in another realm, the realm of the photocopier, the Xerox machine. That's revolutionized that area. From to 10, copies, you're really in the realm of desktop publishing.
Laser printers, they're important in the smaller range too, but laser printers, and small offset presses and desktop publishing, really come into their own between and 10, copies. Finally, when you get above say 5 or 10, copies and up, you're in the realm of commercial printing.
I say around 10, because that's the minimum number you do really serious commercial printing for. Most books, regardless of whether they're some very popular book or they're some very obscure scientific tome, aren't printed in less than about 5 or 10, copies. It's just not worth starting the presses if you don't do that. Now, in addition to reproduction, there's a characteristic distribution technology. How do you take those copies you've made for people, and physically get them to the people who need to see them? Well, once again, distribution's not a problem when you're in the zero case.
From zero to a hundred, you're probably either using by hand, you're physically handing people or your interoffice mail is taking it. Perhaps you're mailing them. Between and 10, copies, there's kind of an awkward phase. How do you send 1, copies of something? It's too small a number to go into commercial distribution. Instead, what you have to do, pretty much, is use the mail. There's no good way of getting it out other than that.
Most of the documents in that are either given free, they're ads, or if they're sold, they're usually fairly expensive.
- Supporting Information.
- An Egg, A Pickle and a Hardwood Floor!
- Boxer (Smart Owners Guide);
- Delightful Duo.
It's quite expensive compared to, say, a popular magazine. Once you get above 10, copies, you have the commercial world of distribution, retail, et cetera, where people either use the mail in the case of magazines, they use newsstands, bookstores, paperboys. There's a specialty distribution system, it's all set up for that domain. Now, there's a fundamental lesson to learn here. Each technology has characteristic economics, and that economics is what shapes the whole field. You may think of it in other terms, but in fact, the price per copy was an enormous barrier to people making photocopies at one time.
Was changed enormously by Xerox. In addition to direct economic costs, there's the convenience, the ability to go up to a machine and press a button, changed things enormously. In fact, we can go back and look at what the effects of each of these kinds of information delivery would have been before the technology changed the economics.
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In fact, the lesson is, when you change the economics of the information distribution, you change the world. Here's a chart where I've superimposed on the original one what you used to do before Xerox, before desktop publishing, and before Gutenberg. Well, before Xerox, you could make a photostat or a mimeograph. There were ways of making copies. You could use carbon paper, but you had to hit those keys awful hard to make more than about two copies. In fact, there's a hugely fewer number of copies made. You can estimate this by looking at the sales of copiers and copier paper.
People basically did without having large numbers of copies. As soon as Xerox made them feasible, they exploded. People found a need for all of this. It's hard to imagine if you see the use of Xerox machines today how on earth we could have survived without it. The same thing was true, qualitatively, if you look at the next phase up, for desktop publishing. Prior to desktop publishing and cheap offset printing being able to be done, small distribution documents either weren't done, or they were done very carefully, because they had to be hand set in lead type.
It was one of these typesetting machines would melt hot lead and do this huge amount of effort. It was very expensive. Desktop publishing enormously changed the number of documents in that range, both in terms of quality and number, by making it cheap and easy to do. Finally, commercial printing was utterly revolutionized by Gutenberg. Prior to Gutenberg, there was some monks that would carefully copy a small number of documents, but they fundamentally had a very different means.
It wasn't a distribution means. Books were an object. It was a beautiful thing. They did these wonderful illuminated manuscripts, but a book was no different than a sculpture or a painting. It wasn't something that large numbers of people got. Something you'd come and venerate in a museum or a monastery. Gutenberg changed that, and in changing it created this first information revolution. The lesson we learn is that every time you make it easier, either more convenient or cheaper or both, it creates a whole new industry.
Billions of dollars change hands. But even more than that, the world changes. The world after Gutenberg was a literate world. It was a world where information would flow, where people had to learn to read. Similarly, we're going to see this kind of change happening again, because I believe there's a fundamental need here. These existing technologies in the print world have sampled something very fundamental. Now, we can see that by looking at the distribution of what happens for consumer information today.
Let's take videotape. Millions of people have camcorders, and take pictures of the kids or their vacation or the dog or whatever. That's very much like notes to one's self.
But after that, the curve drops off like a rock. There's some wedding videos, maybe make 10 copies of those, there's training videos, but from there you get this huge desert from three copies out to 10, copies. What do you do? Video is extremely expensive to produce, a lot like typesetting used to be.
It's very hard to distribute.
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What do you do, you mail people tapes, you have some mail order thing. There's no good way of getting it out. Once you get above 10, copies, you discover that there is a market, a commercial market, in video cassette rental, cable television, broadcast television, et cetera. But it's a very funny curve. In fact, qualitatively speaking, it's exactly like the curve before Gutenberg, before desktop publishing, and before Xerox. Consumer information today, from a technological perspective, is way back from what print is. Now, I believe there's a fundamental need expressed here, a thirst that people have for information.
With electronic distribution we have the chance to fundamentally raise that curve. Now, this is a radical view in many ways. If you live in the current world of, say, video information, you think that the world is all about having a small number of people transmit information to many. Those are the ones that need to communicate to all of us.
We don't need to communicate to each other in this medium. The thing that's constant, the lesson you learn consistently from the print world, is that people want information at all scales. In fact, there's far more information distributed in small volumes than in large. Sure, there's going to be Steve Spielbergs that make a Jurassic Park 4 that ,, people have to see. But there's also going to be communications from your mother. Communications from my mother aren't of interest to anybody else, but we all have a mom.
We all have jobs. We all have purchase orders and forms and memos and a variety of pieces of written information that we use that will transfer to the digital world. In fact, the general lesson here is that authors are everywhere.
You have to have a scalable system. You have to have a system that allows you to support everything ranging from the person making notes to themself all the way up to the Steve Spielbergs or somebody else, making a document or a creation that millions or billions of people will see. Of course, by the same token, if you think it's only about the other end of the curve, you'll miss out.
It's really about the full gamut. Now, this vision is based on the fundamental belief that there is that thirst for information, that we all do want and need to be authors at various levels. But I think the print history is going to bear us out. It'll be interesting to see if that's true. There'll be a variety of false starts along this information highway. It's going to be great. It's going to be wonderful.
We're all into it.