Inventing the Cleanweb
- Monday, April 2, 2012
- By Sunil Paul and Nick Allen
The energy problem is humanity's greatest challenge. Here's how information technology can provide some answers.
At the peak of the technology bubble in March of 2000, spending on Internet infrastructure had exploded, Cisco Systems had a market cap of $578 billion, and venture capitalists were pumping millions into anything that ended in ".com." Over the next three years, 655 telecom companies would go bankrupt, and $5 trillion in market cap would vanish from stock exchanges.
A disaster, right? It felt like one at the time. Raising money for an Internet startup became nearly impossible on Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road. Yet all that investment in the infrastructure of the Internet—the switches, the routers, and the fiber optic cable—drastically reduced the costs of bandwidth and made possible the applications layer, the things we love about the Internet—Twitter, streaming movies, cloud computing. Today we use information technology to do things we didn't imagine circa 2000, like buying shoes without trying them on first. All this was accomplished with software and clever ideas for better using the available infrastructure.
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