The Paradigm Shift

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

You might have read the news that the University of Nevada, Reno, will give its incoming freshman class an iPad Air (with a keyboard and a pencil.) In itself, it isn’t much of a newsworthy of attention, but it does hark back to something I have been thinking about for a long time: a paradigm shift in how we compute, today and in the future. 

Apple once was a much-beloved part of the US education system. Lately, Google’s Chromebooks have been taken over, which are cheaper, and perhaps more affordable for the cash-strapped school systems. (By the way, kudos to Sarah & Ev Williams for giving $10 million towards helping the SF school system.)

Now, suppose we can forget the politics of Google versus Apple. I don’t care either way. Chromebooks (like their Apple or Microsoft counterparts) are simply an extension of the old paradigm of computing — one that is heavily reliant on keyboard and mouse. Sure, Chromebooks live on the cloud and benefit from the cloud, but it is still pretty much the traditional way of computing. Whether it is Google Docs or Google Slides, it is not remarkably novel. 

Essentially, the kids in school are getting trained on the classic model of computing — keyboards, mouse and a semi-tethered state. At home, many of the same kids are growing up with touch devices — iPads, iPhones, and Androids. They are also growing up talking to (mostly) Alexa, (maybe) Siri, or (sometimes) Google Assistant. Every time I interact (Read more...)