The Next Mountain
In design . . . the vision precedes the proof. A fine steel building is never designed by starting to figure the stresses and strains of the steel. We must get off the ground with an impulse strong enough to make our building stand up, high and shining and definite, in our mind’s eye, before we ever put pencil to paper in the matter. When we see it standing whole, it will be time enough to put its form on paper and begin to think about the steel that will hold it up.
—WALTER DORWIN TEAGUE
Chapter 1 was about some changes in the technology landscape that very likely will happen, and happen soon. We now turn to some potential consequences of those changes. These are things that certainly can happen, and in our judgment they should happen. In the long run, we are inclined to believe that they are inevitable (but then, we are optimists). There is, however, reason to fear that the long run may be unnecessarily slow in coming. In Chapter 3, we’ll address some of the things standing in the way of progress toward Trillions Mountain. It would be disingenuous to claim that the industry is obviously on a trajectory toward the trends we are about to describe. But this is merely to say that these changes are disruptive. It is part of the definition of disruptive technologies that they seem to the inattentive to come suddenly out of nowhere. But just because the trajectory isn’t obvious doesn’t mean that it isn’t discernible. There are long-term trends and fundamental ...