Sam Altman is a tech great. At 29, he’s President of Y-Combinator, the most prestigious business incubator in Silicon Valley and the world. He advises $30B worth of companies. He’s frequently cited as one of the most intelligent and visionary voices in tech. He’s made and seen success and failure, and he has a proven eye for the future.
That’s why I was so excited to read Sam’s recent post, The Software Revolution. When someone with so much knowledge of software development on the ground level over many years takes a second to provide a macro-perspective, I listen. His opener is quite the hook:
In human history, there have been three great technological revolutions and many smaller ones. The three great ones are the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the one we are now in the middle of—the software revolution.
Sam equates the advent of software with agriculture and industry. Damn. After taking a minute to think, it really starts to make sense. Today, there’s a software company for every industry. I frequently cite Marc Andreessen’s proclamation that, “In short, software is eating the world”.
Moore’s law has kept up for 50 years, and it’s starting to bleed over into other industries. We’re seeing exponential improvement in solar efficiency, quantum computing, even GDP per capita:
This revolution shows no sign of abating. It’s responsible for tectonic shifts in human welfare and culture. While we might argue today over FaceBook and privacy or World of Warcraft and identity, it’s helpful to keep it all in context and recognize that we are living the most profound transition that humanity has ever undergone.