I live in San Francisco, and work on the web — the most exciting place to be within the tech industry right now. The digital age is now a reality, computers have revolutionised the world, but we have only begun to touch the potential of the possibilities a single global network can achieve. The internet is still young, and every day it expands, enabling people to communicate and disseminate information in radical new ways.
While research is still active in most scientific fields, Computer science is still in its infancy — its golden age. New advances are so frequent that they often go unnoticed, and all that is required to participate in its progress is a clever brain. Computer Science doesn't require mile long particle accelerators or medical trials to be pushed forward — all it needs is some bright kid in a basement somewhere, tinkering away on an old laptop.
And it is when science is still in the age of tinkerers that it is most interesting. A single idea can change the world. If Google hadn't realised that we would need some way to search all the information out there, someone would, but they did — as a result the web has exploded into the biggest source of information in the world. Wikipedia proved that given enough free time amateurs could write an encyclopedia bigger and of comparable accuracy to all previous ones. The Open Source movement took the same principle and applied it to software.
All of these movements have one thing in common — they enable knowledge to propagate faster than ever before. In an Internet world, knowledge is free, something that I strongly believe in. If people have the opportunity to learn whatever they want, whenever they want, then society has the potential to better itself — no longer does social background determine success — education is available to everyone.
Of course the complete overhaul of the information hierarchy has caught the world by surprise. Former education systems, and entire industries have been taken unaware and are still struggling to understand the new world, let alone take advantage of its possibilities. The internet is the finest form of subversion — destroying institutions with pure logic.
And San Francisco is its epicenter. Just as the San Andreas fault leads towards the city, so the shockwaves of the internet can be traced to the bay area. Here in the city, start ups abound, and money is flowing. Technology is taking over the world, and this is its headquarters.