This book and documentary series by Steven Johnson came out recently. At the launch event, Johnson was interviewed together with Fred Wilson, a Venture Capitalist, to talk about technology history.
I quite enjoyed the video – Johnson did most of the talking, as he should, about the many fascinating story of technology. For instance, the first North American sewage system set up was in Chicago, but the city was too flat for water to flow properly into the ocean. So the engineers lifted the city up, neighbourhood after neighbourhood, using jackscrews, sometimes while the residents were still in the building. This, together with his describing the experience of filming the series, gave an intimate view of the past and the present.
While Johnson brings the historical perspective, Fred Wilson looks into the future and gets paid to bet on some of his views. At around 17:40 in the video, he talks about some of the big challenges of our time – transportation in crowded cities, new form of energy that is renewable, sustainable, and not carbon based, and how laying out communication networks through underground means is getting more expensive and making ideas like mesh networks quite enticing.
Here’s the video. Hope you’ll enjoy it, too: