Golden Age

Published Sun Aug 23 2020

He settled the black terry sweat-band across his forehead, careful not to disturb the flat Sendai dermatrodes.
He closed his eyes.
A gray disk, the color of Chiba sky.
Disk beginning to rotate, faster, becoming a sphere of paler gray. Expanding –
And flowed, flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of his distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to infinity. Inner eye opening to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority burning beyond the green cubes of the Mitsubishi Bank of America, and high and very far away he saw the spiral arms of military systems, forever beyond his reach.
And somewhere he was laughing, in a white-painted loft, distant fingers caressing the deck, tears of release streaking his face.

– William Gibson, Neuromancer (edited)

I believe when times are tough we should take a moment to take a breath and marvel at the world around us. A flower blossoming towards the sky, a rose-tinted cloud at dawn, a painter's thoughtful stroke on a canvas.
And while I cultivate many passions, I often marvel at technology - because oh my, there is so much to marvel at!

It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since humankind cobbled together a bunch of silicium and electrocuted it into thinking, of all things. And while we have not quite reached Gibson's vision of cyberspace, I'd argue that we are, more likely than not, in a tech "golden age".

This might come as a surprise to you. After all, we're starting to see the end of Moore's law, a few tech giants have leveraged consumers' laziness to build an advertising market bubble that rules the world's economy, and a rising superpower's "Cyberspace Administration" managed to deny 1.8 billion people free, uncensored access to information.

And still, especially for hackers, makers, post-dotcom entrepreneurs and other digital-age freaks, now more than ever is the time to get excited.

The COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted what was left of the old world into digitalization. Millions of apes wired to one another waited long months in their home for their screens to blink and tell them "lockdown's over". No 1984 science-fiction writer could have imagined such an alien scenario, nor its consequences.

As hordes of white-collar workers download videoconferencing software, unknowingly settling down in cyberspace for an ever-expanding portion of their lives, the curious among them will start to notice this is a land of opportunities.

Here, most resources can be leased dirt cheap and in unimaginable quantities - data storage, bandwidth, computing power. A common form of business are SaaS products, leased access to computer programs that, if made correctly, can accommodate a virtually unlimited number of tenants, effectively printing cash.

While we haven't figured out dermatrodes yet, you can dive in on a wide range of devices, and soon from pretty much anywhere on this planet, and perhaps the next one, too. Oh, you're also joining a growing population of 4.8 billion humans - other inhabitants include connected IoT devices, crawlers and other cyber automatons, and the occasional neural network, which might have a blog - in fact, you can't really know for sure that this very piece you're reading hasn't been written by one.

So go ahead, explore, learn, build something. Whatever it is you're thinking of, you can probably learn about, build, ship, and scale it on the Internet. Your paychecks live there too, as will your food orders, entertainment, relationships...

Meatspace is becoming more irrelevant each and every day.
Now is your time to punch deck and get yourself a place in cyberspace.

Welcome to the Golden Age.