25.9.05

La ricerca del Santo Graal

LA PRINCIPALE SENSAZIONE (come giornalista), tornando da San Francisco, è che qualcosa bolla in pentola: che stia cioè cambiando qualcosa nel mondo della tecnologia. Il modo più facile per sottolineare questo cambiamento sono due libri: uno scritto da co-fondatore di Wired, John Battele, e l'altro dal tre volte vincitore del premio Pulitzer e giornalista del New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman.

Il primo dei libri si intitola The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture. E' il bersaglio più facile ed immediato, tanto che citare Google in questo momento è quasi scontato. La recensione del club degli editori americani chiarisce meglio cosa c'è nel libro:

Rather than write a book strictly about the rise of Google as a business, technology journalist Battelle targets his research on the concept of Internet search, beginning the book with a discussion of an abstract idea he terms the "Database of Intentions," defined as the sum total of all queries that pour into search engines daily, revealing the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of our culture. Though most of the book is devoted to the search engine giant (which Battelle reports corners 51 percent of the search engine market), the author also includes chapters on "Search, Before Google" and the "Who, What, Where, Why, When. And How (much)" of search. Battelle is at his best when describing the creation of Google, especially through the yin-yang personalities of its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and in describing the company's culture. Though Battelle's descriptions of Internet search technology can get too technical for readers without a computer science background, the book is a deeply researched and nimbly reported look at how search has defined the Internet and how it will continue to be a tremendous reflection of culture.

Il discorso si fa più complesso e affascinante con il libro di Friedman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century , in cui l'autore viaggia attraverso il mondo per spiegare dov'è che c'è stata la grande discontinuità, quella cioè in cui la competizione è stata per la prima volta livellata nella storia e vivere a Cupertino oppure vivere a Nuova Dehli è la stessa cosa, con le stesse opportunità.

What Friedman means by "flat" is "connected": the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. This in itself should not be news to anyone. But the news that Friedman has to deliver is that just when we stopped paying attention to these developments--when the dot-com bust turned interest away from the business and technology pages and when 9/11 and the Iraq War turned all eyes toward the Middle East--is when they actually began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete--and win--not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. (He doesn't forget the "mutant supply chains" like Al-Qaeda that let the small act big in more destructive ways.) Friedman tells his eye-opening story with the catchy slogans and globe-hopping anecdotes that readers of his earlier books and his New York Times columns will know well, and also with a stern sort of optimism. He wants to tell you how exciting this new world is, but he also wants you to know you're going to be trampled if you don't keep up with it. His book is an excellent place to begin. --Tom Nissley

C'è chi sostiene anche che le cose non stiano andando esattamente così, come scrive sull'Atlantic Monthly di questo mese Richard Florida (articolo non disponibile online, sigh!). E' l'inizio di una nuova fase, tra le altre cose, del dibattito sul Digital divide, il divario digitale che rende in effetti conto di alcune dimensioni non solo quantitative e tecnocentriche. Viviamo tempi interessanti...

1 commento:

eclipse ha detto...

Qui: http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/266/ il video di un'nteressante presentazione del libro tenuta da Friedman all'MIT.