General purpose computers are in fact astounding. So astounding that our society is still struggling to come to grips with them. To figure out what they’re for. To figure out how to accommodate them and how to cope with them.
We’re at a thousand dollars per gigabyte, which is what current disk drives cost. The twenty terabytes that people estimate in ASCII that’s in the Library of Congress is just twenty million dollars. So that’s not very much money in terms of being able to store and retrieve [crosstalk] the Library of Congress.
There are all of these wonderful laws that people have discovered and refined and proposed and proved over the years. And some of these laws can apply to the software projects and the teams and the communities that we work in every day.
There’s already a kind of cognitive investment that we make, you know. At a certain point, you have years of your personal history living in somebody’s cloud. And that goes beyond merely being a memory bank, it’s also a cognitive bank in some way.
The largest part of the ENIAC team by far were the people that were actually building the thing. And it’s interesting they’ve been forgotten by history, because although their job titles were wiremen, technicians, and assemblers, being a business historian I looked up the accounting records, and sometimes they spell out the payroll. You suddenly see all these women’s names like Ruth, Jane, Alice, Dorothy, Caroline, Eleanor showing up.