Delivered 2020-12-09 for API Days Paris












Reconnecting with our Futures Past

Decisions made 100 years ago affect the options we have today. The choices we make today will affect our collective future into the next century. What were the pivotal decisions made in the 1920s that set us on the course to where we are today? And how would our world be different if other choices had been made so long ago?

In this talk, we’ll explore the visions of Paul Otlet, Von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Grace Hopper, and others. We’ll see our future through their eyes; what they expected, hoped, and planned for us. And we’ll compare their aspirations to today’s computing culture of always-on, hand-held, on-demand social media net-scape made possible by Bill Gates, Dame Wendy Hall, Mark Zuckerberg, Page & Brin, etc. How would the concepts of work, leisure, travel, and entertainment we have today be different if Otlet, Hall, and others had prevailed?

We’ll take the time to re-discover the futures we’ve lost through choices made in the recent past and see how we can re-commit ourselves to decisions today that make those past futures possible once again.

Today is the first day of our collective future. What will you do to shape it into something positive, supportive, and engaging?


Here’s a list of references I mentioned in the talk:


Mike Amundsen

An internationally known author and speaker, Mike Amundsen consults with organizations around the world on network architecture, Web development, and the intersection of technology & society. He works with companies large and small to help them capitalize on the opportunities provided by APIs, Microservices, and Digital Transformation.

Amundsen has authored numerous books and papers. His most recent book is "Design and Build Great Web APIs" with Pragmatic Programmers. He contributed to the O’Reilly book, "Continuous API Management" (2018). Amundsen’s "RESTful Web Clients" was published by O’Reilly in February 2017 and he co-authored "Microservice Architecture" (June 2016).