Seeking disruptive tech

Noel Chiappa jnc at
Thu Dec 11 07:59:25 CST 2014

    > From: William Donzelli

    >> From: Brent Hilpert

    >> All of which kind of emphasizes Roy's point of disruptive
    >> technologies. So what are some candidates for the most-disruptive?

    > Fiber optics completely shook up the "long lines" telecom industry.
    > Continous casting completely shook up the steel industry. The diesel
    > electric locomotive completely shook up the rail industry. And on and
    > on...

Interesting topic, albeit somewhat off-topic for the list. (My apologies for
continuing it... :-)

Some disruptive technologies are subsets of others; e.g. transistors are in
some sense a subset of electrical (altough, as Chuck points out, they also
draw on materials science). And how far back do you want to go? The discovery
of metals certainly had a huge impact, albeit that it was many thousands of
years ago now!

But among the big ones for me are electricity, which almost has too many
subsets to count (e.g. long distance communication, starting with the
telegraph - read "The Victorian Internet" for a good look at how that changed
the world), the printing press (information technologies in general have
outside weight, since they affect so many other fields), the internal
combustion engine (which has physically re-shaped entire civilizations,
especially the US), with all its subset (e.g. the airplane)... too many to
think of, almost!

And it all started with sharp stones... :-)

    > From: Chuck Guzis cclist at 

    > And yet nobody seems to know about Lilienfeld.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that before today, I had not (that I can
recall) heard of him. And I see there is no full-length book on him. A
hole waiting to be filled, as it were...


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