Technologist offers perspective

Technologist and venture capitalist Dr Arno Penzias on Monday held forth on the march of technology, including how it has advanced and where it may be headed, during a keynote speech at the BMC Assurance 2000 conference here.

Penzias -- a former chief technology officer at Lucent Technologies, formerly Bell Labs -- spoke about how computers formerly were large machines that ran the Fortran programming language. But these days, computers have progressed to the point where a network economy is resulting, he said.

"Customisation and interoperability are expected in the world," he said.

Partnerships, he said, will be the basis of the economy. "We have to build an economy based on partnership. It can't be based on demand anymore," he said.

Penzias predicted users will see terabyte-size RAID storage systems on the desktop, along with the demise of SCSI and fibre channel. "I think we're a couple years from getting away from SCSI and fibre channel," said Penzias. He also predicted a vast expanse in the number of telecommunications companies.

He warned, however, against sacrificing resiliency for efficiency. For example, airlines, he said, are very efficient in their operations, but if a process breaks down, their efficiencies make them unable to operate properly because of a lack of resiliency, or flexibility.

"I think what we have to do is aim for efficient people and (the) resilient systems to serve them," Penzias said.

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