Jason Pontin, editor and publisher of MIT Technology Review, was in Houston recently to talk about emerging technologies. The magazine has published its list of top 10 emerging technologies for 2009.
Chronicle reporter Purva Patel talked to Pontin about the list and the state of technology amid the recession. Here is an excerpt from that conversation.
Q: What technologies didn’t make the list?
A: I believe the most overhyped technology in America right now is micro-blogging, like Twitter and status updates on Facebook. I know it’s popular and Oprah endorsed it on her show the other day. But what I look for in a technology is, is it really going to have a broad commercial impact? Does it have real market pull? It has to be solving an actual real problem, a pressing need in the world. The technology has to represent a breakthrough in some way. There has to be a real reinvestment over the years to create an elegant solution to whatever the problem was. And finally, it needs to be defensible because of technology patents or a long-term investment by one party that would make it hard for anyone to compete. If you look at Twitter, I don’t know how important a need it is to be able to post 140-word microblogs … I think Twitter will survive as some part of a communication company and be bought by Google or Facebook.
Q: Wouldn’t some claim you’re just saying that because you’re a journalist?
A: I’m on Twitter. I think it’s a lot of fun. I just don’t understand how it’s a sustainable business. Twitter doesn’t release how many people are using it, but it’s somewhere between 10 million to 13 million. By contrast, Facebook has 200 million users, and it isn’t even profitable.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.