FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 01, 2004

Digital Disruptions and Disruptive Memes

Those of you who follow disruptive technologies will be interested in a post on Om Malik's blog concerning an interview with Bob Bailey, chief executive of PMC Sierra, and his thoughts on what were the five leading "digital disruptions" changing the way we communicate and process information. The technologies he named were:
  • MPEG/MP3 downloads (disrupting CDs/DVDs and the entertainment industry)
  • PVRs (Tivo and the like, disrupting advertising)
  • Internet (disrupting pretty much everything)
  • Digital Photography (disrupting film manufacturers like Kodak and Fuji)
  • Linux (disrupting Microsoft and non-open-source software makers)
  • Networked Computing (disrupting traditional PC makers)
Just as informative as the initial post are the comments, which suggest other disruptive technologies, such as VoIP, XML and (my suggestion) RFID. Another clear disruptive technology -- not as dramatic in the States yet as it has been in Europe and Asia -- is the emergence of text messaging and mobile computing. In developing countries that never had decent communications infrastructures, cell phones are proving to be highly disruptive. And let's not forget blogs; after the last couple of weeks, traditional news media will never be the same thanks to our blogging colleagues.

Disruption is not at all limited to technology. As we discussed here earlier, manufacturers of high-carb foods are struggling as consumers watch their carbs along with their waistlines. So perhaps the low-carb movement is a disruptive meme, which is just as interesting and meaningful a concept. A disruptive meme that can be associated with the advent of text messaging is that of the smart mob.