Evolution and Innovation

A few years ago, I heard a presentation by Professor Dr. Helmut Krcmar at the TUM chair of Business Informatics (Wirtschaftsinformatik). He spoke about 50 Years of Computer Science. I still often remember this presentation with delight.

I was impressed to hear how fast matters have developed in the IT area. Even though I myself was in the middle of it. But, taking an active part in the development, it seemed self-evident to me. It took the presentation by Prof. Krcmar for me realize the immense speed-up in the IT sector.
It continues. In the short time between this presentation and now, many new changes took place. Facebook and Twitter did not yet exist at the time. Nobody would have imagined an i-Pad and Apps of the new generation. Storage space is now the cheapest possible commodity, totally new processor generations make mobile IT possible in a truly new way. Young concerns dominate the IT world. Again, the future only seems to begin in IT .
I personally witnessed almost forty years of IT innovations. To some extent, I helped it along.

But should we not rather call it a rapid IT evolution? Maybe the development happened without us – and all we did is try to control a little of it? What exactly is the meaning of the words innovation and evolution? Can we make use of innovation in order to control evolution?  Or do we just follow the main streams already determined by evolution when talking innovation?

At a special event of the GChACM at the BMW FIZ for the 50ieth anniversary of ACM, Chuck House, then Mr. President of ACM, read a report. The workshop was titled “Beyond Calculation”. The proceedings of the same title are rather exciting material. 24 leading IT experts (some of them science-fiction authors) describe what they see for the next 50 years. It happened at the turn of the millennium, so we are talking a statement of that time.

Now we are really getting under way!

I often think evolution will happen regardless of what we do. It will happen without questioning if we consider it possible or not, neither will the process have any respect for what we desire.

Innovation might well be our chance to take part in the evolution. Perhaps we can even influence it to some extent. But we cannot create anything based on just rationality. Maybe we will do better if we stick by our values and emotions?

(Translated by EG)

🙂  I wrote this article a long time ago, yet was hesitant about going public, because I wanted to express a feeling, but was not satisfied with the result.

After a beautiful day if skiing in the “Salzburg Alps”, I re-discovered it. Because the (skiing) Alps, too, are an area where innovation (or evolution) took a very (!) strange part. … It is unbelievable what happened here during the last 50 years!!!

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