This is “Technologies Do Not Necessarily Fall Into the Abyss: They Become Embedded in New Technology”, section 1.11 from the book Creating Services and Products (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.
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In some ways, technological change is similar to evolutionary change. Some technologies are simply eclipsed by other technologies and fade or die away, such as in the case of the horse and buggy giving way to the Model T and analog TVs succumbing to digital TVs. Sometimes, technologies evolve through subtle differentiation such as the case with cell phones, GPS devices, and operating systems. There are instances where major mutations take place when two different technologies are combined such as in the case of the merging of GPS, cell phones, MP3 players, and Web 2.0 social networking.
In many instances, technology does not just die out or become obsolete, it just becomes part and parcel of a new technology. One of the early partitioning and time-sharing and operating systems, IBM’s VM370, was developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The concepts developed for the VM370 operating systems are the foundation for many existing operating systems, including UNIX, Linux, and all of Microsoft’s products, as well as the current crop of the so-called virtual machine applications. The cloud-computing concept is actually an extension of the IBM’s VM370 architecture. Thin client computing, where a significant part of the processing is done on a central server, was touted as the next big technology in the early 1990s. It faded for a while and then has reemerged as an important concept with the emergence of cloud computing.