More from "Inescapable Data"

From Chapter One: "Our Inescapable Data vision suggests that it is not just advances in each of these technologies, it is the combination of these fundamental elements that will break barriers and magnify gains to levels not yet anticipated. We think these new combinations will lead to an explosion of benefits driving both higher personal and economic satisfaction. That is the upside. The downside could be loss of personal privacy, identity theft on a monumental scale, and trust in formation sources whose authenticity cannot be verified." Well, maybe. In fact, I tend to agree with Stakutis and Webster. But remembering the huge impact of organizational drag, it is likely that this convergence most certainly will lead to the downside, and perhaps faster there than to the upside. Something from my own experience that parallels Stakutis and Webster's thesis. People often wonder how I manage to get as much done as I do...edit a magazine, a website, three e-magazines with original content, travel and visit press events and process plants and vendors, volunteer for ISA and WBF, run CorgiAid Inc., etcetera yadda yadda, and still have a life. I most certainly DO have a life, and the reason I do is that the more connected I got, and the more of these productivity tools I became enamoured of, the more free time, not less I found myself with. There are a lot of similarities between the effects of productivity devices and Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" when you come to look at it. And to bring it down to the process automation world, it can be expressed like this: First we were interested in how to build a watch; so we talked about how to build a watch, and vendors sold watch-building kits, supplies and training. Once watches were ubiquitous, vendors and end-users were absorbed in learning how to tell time. Now that we all have a watch, and we all can tell time, end users are now most interested in learning about the benefits of being on time, and the penalties for being late. In other words, we are now dealing with third order abstractions, because telling time on our watches has become automatic. So too, will the convergence tools affect how we work and how we live.