Friday, May 17, 2024

Innovation Power

Did you know your project might be at the nexus of geopolitical power, military power, and economic power? Wow! That's a big menu for the project office.

Eric Schmidt, formerly a top executive at Google, puts it this way in an essay in "Foreign Affairs", not your usual project read. He calls is INNOVATION POWER.
Innovation power is the ability to invent, adopt, and adapt new technologies. It contributes to both hard and soft power. High-tech weapons systems increase military might, new platforms and the standards that govern them provide economic leverage, and cutting-edge research and technologies enhance global appeal

He goes on: "There is a long tradition of states harnessing innovation to project power abroad, but what has changed is the self-perpetuating nature of scientific advances. Developments in artificial intelligence in particular not only unlock new areas of scientific discovery; they also speed up that very process"

In effect, Schmidt is saying that what's different is that whereas in the past there were plateaus of innovation: Bronze, steel, steam, electricity, telecomm, stored-program stored-data computing. Once you mastered the technology of those plateaus, there was a long period of technological stability.

No more. AI has properties of "positive feedback". Its possibilities just keep on growing. There doesn't seem to be a plateau or stability. And everything is driven by a need to be first .... speed! 

OODA loops
Remember the OODA loops: Observe, orient, decide, act? Well we are just on the cusp of doing that autonomously  self-driving vehicles; autonomous drones; pick-pack-and ship robots; and a myriad of other tasks where speed and accuracy are key.

Quantum Computing
And then comes quantum computing which, when in the positive feedback loop, will drive innovative breakthroughs that are almost unimaginable. 

One wonders if the usual project rails are up to the tasks ahead

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