There was a recent article inThe Wall Street Journalby Andy Kessler discussing how video games have supplanted the military in the development of some of our newest technologies. The Chinese recently announced they had created the world’s fastest computer clocking at 2,500 trillion operations per second powered by processors from Nvidia, a Silicon Valley company that developed these chips, selling hundreds of millions of them for video games!
What a change. Today’s computers, along with so much of our current technologies, were first developed by the military for such uses as calculating artillery firing tables and code breaking. Just as a side note, I used my first computer as an Army artillery officer calculating trajectory tables for the Honest John Nuclear missile in 1960. Today, that military-industrial complex is rapidly being replaced by the entertainment-industrial complex.
Kessler refers to Apple’s iPhone, which derives all of its technologies (such as color LCD displays, low power usage and precision manufacturing) from video games such as the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.
This past Christmas, the hot item was the $150 device called Kinet for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Five million sold! Kinet recognizes faces and gestures, responds to voice commands and allows users to use their own movements to control the game without the use of other devices or push buttons.
How long is it going to be before you design your next product driven by tools that use only voices and gestures? Where are you going to find the people who can do this?
Last week we discussed the emergence of the N-Geners in the workplace. How do you suppose video games will influence how they interact with each other? A military simulation game called “Call of Duty” has a mode that allows players to cooperate from remote locations. In another game called “World of Warcraft” players form guilds to collaborate, using real-time texting and talking, to navigate worlds presented in high-resolution graphics. Wikinomics, peer sharing, openness. In a few years this technology will most likely replace meetings.
Displacing the military as technological innovators is all about high sales volume leading to lower costs. The $300 Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner, which iRobot says has over 5 million customers, drives down the costs of the Army’s robotic bomb removers. The new-generation coders who write the software for these devices won’t even think about writing an app unless there are millions or tens of millions of potential customers.
So, how is this going to impact the factory of the future? More on Wikinomics next time.