February 17, 2005 | By Seth Schoen

TV-Anytime Hubris

Our friends at TV-Anytime are unusually candid in their dirigisme. Their working group on business models claims the obligation to predict "every conceivable present and future way that [a technology] can be used." Now that's ambition.

You can find the statement in question on the Business Models Working Group home page:

The Business Models working group's mission has been based on the premise that "no system can be properly developed without first imagining & documenting every conceivable present and future way that it could be used."

By this standard, none of the most important technologies of the past century could have been "properly developed." This way of thinking reminds us of the entertainment industry leader who said that the technology marketplace ought to be "polite" and "well-mannered" (with, we imagine, every technology introduced in its appropriate year, after elaborate cross-sectoral negotiation).

Here's a contrary view: information technologies are valuable particularly because we never imagine & document all the ways they're going to be used. People, often end-users, just keep on thinking of new ones. What a pesky, untidy process this is!


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