Conference Schedule - PGConf.EU 2012Back
Date: Oct. 24, 2012
When we get a new technology, we mimic the old technology. The first automobiles were called “horseless carriages”, the cinema was “moving pictures” and “artificial anything” has to wait to get its own name. The human mindset needs to anchor itself with the familiar before we can make the leap to something new.
The first films were black and white, low resolution,jerky and short duration because of the physical limitations of the equipment. It would be awhile before high speed color film and lens designed for it would be invented.
While all that equipment is fun, the real innovation was a change in the mindset, not the equipment. For a few thousand years of human history, we had stage plays instead of cinema houses or television. You sat in one place and watched the performance. And that is how the first motion pictures were filmed. It was D. W. Griffith (1875 -1948) who realized that the camera could move. He invented the “basic vocabulary” of cinematography we take for granted – distance shots, pan shots, close-ups, fades, dissolves and tracking shots.
Herman Hollerith and his “unit record equipment” (notice the terminology!) go back to the 1880's. The first ANSI/ISO SQL Standard was in 1986, a “mere” century later. Dr. E. F. Codd was our version of D. W. Griffith and we now assume a relational data model.
Or do we? How much of the prior technology mindset do we still carry in our systems? And where do we go next? Let's take a look at the evolution of databases from punch cards and magnetic tapes to Solid State Disk and the Cloud, and the mindset from sequences of static physical records to sets of dynamic virtual abstractions.