Fundamental Questions of IT


There are four fundamental questions:

  1. Who started it?
  2. Are we going to make it?
  3. Where are we going to put it?
  4. Who’s going to clean up?

It’s convenient to think about the Universe in this way. But these questions can also be applied to something mundane like information technology.

The answer to the question “Who started it?” is clear. This is not Ada Lovelace. She is the first programmer, but not the first IT specialist. The first serious IT specialists were the authors of petroglyphs. They figured out how to encode information so that it would last for thousands of years.

Petroglyph with a caravan of bighorns.

Whether we will succeed in IT is also clear. It will definitely work. So far we have not encountered any fundamental limitations and are unlikely to encounter them.

The answer to the question “Where are we going to put it?” simple. Let’s put it everywhere.

It is fashionable to say “Software is eating the world”. It is already noticeable that software has eaten up photography, music, cinema, logistics, retail, even recruiting and the oil and gas industry. You can come to some remote village in another country, go into a store, buy orange juice and discover that the juice was produced by a company with a huge IT department. And you haven’t even heard of this company.

In the near future of “The Three-Body Problem“ displays were everywhere. Even people’s clothes are a display. It is very convenient to match the color of the shirt to the color of the trousers. Just one click.

“Who’s going to clean up?“ is an interesting question. There are options here.

In the same “Three Body Problem” an extraterrestrial civilization was cleaning up. First they shot through the Sun, and then they collapsed the number of dimensions in the solar system from three to two.

In “Diaspora” a supernova explosion in a neighboring star system was cleaning up the solar system.

In “The Time Migration” it was cleaned up by people who were tired of living in virtual reality.

Maybe no one will have to clean up :)