About a month ago, I attended the API Strategy and Practice conference in San Francisco. Overall, a pretty good conference and, as always, much of the value was in connecting with people between and after sessions.
One panel discussion was concluded with the question ‘what is the future of the internet?’. The responses seemed to fall into two categories 1) code/APIs everywhere and/or 2) intelligent consumption and composition of the available APIs.
I wanted to point out that the first category of thought reflected the view of a (now defunct) little technology outfit just down the highway who voiced the credo of ‘the network is the computer’. They had a great spec/implementation for a technology called JINI that very much reflected the philosophy of ‘be a node and not a hub’ – inherently scalable and cluster-able running practically anywhere.
The second group reminded me of the great AI gold rush in the mid-90s, when ‘intelligent agents‘ were going to manage all our personal data and book travel and plan meetings based on all of the metadata that we surround ourselves with. Companies were funded and failed trying to deliver on this vision (General Magic anyone?). Perhaps it was an idea before it’s time and enough has changed and opened up that it might work this time. We shall see.