A Week of Digital Transformation & Hacking Health in France

Several years ago I gave a talk titled at a conference in Paris titled 50+ Years of Digital Transformation which touched on the history of digital transformation from the past (Vanevar Bush, Ted Nelson, Douglas Engelbart) and the near present (Christopher Alexander, Don Norman, Roy Fielding). I also highlighted key trends/leaders that are already shaping our future including Linus Torvaldsgit, Ryan Dahl's nodeJS and Rich Hickey's Datomic.

I also included a lesser-known figure called Eric Schweikardt and his great invention, Cubelets. Cubelets are "micro-bots", each built to do one thing and one thing well (as Unix’s McIlroy once said). The set includes sensors, motors, lights, sounds and power sources that can be combined by just touching them together to build very powerful and interactive robots. What impresses me most about this "child’s toy" idea is that, at the time of the first release in 2012, Schweikardt’s invention was illustrating the early trend of what we currently call "microservices" architecture. It shows that we need to keep an eye on many different sources of creative thinking when attempting to identify future trends in information systems.

Hacking Health Camp, Strasbourg I also had the privilege of joining close to 300 health professionals, lawyers and hackers at the second annual Hacking Health Camp in historic Strasbourg.

I had a great time with my talk: Putting Big Data in its Place, discussing the responsibility systems designers and developers have in making sure that any health data we generate today is still available and usable more than 100 years from now. Can you imagine what would happen if all the centuries-worth of written material was somehow "inaccessible" today due to changes in the "technology of paper"? Sounds foolish but already, in the last 50 years of computing, we’ve changed storage and data formats so often that many millions of "pages" of data created by long-deceased software programs are at risk of disappearing forever — something that Google’s Vint Cerf has been warning us about for some time. Now think of what will happen to the health records of billions of people 50 or 100 years from now. As long as we plan ahead, we can make sure all this information is still usable and accessible.

The talk went well and I enjoyed the lively conversations that followed. Most of the material is in French but you can find more about the international Hacking Health Camp initiatives all over the world, by visiting their Web site.

It was a great week and I met lots of incredibly smart and energetic people working on very creative projects. It is quite encouraging to see so many people focused on transforming not just enterprises but even our own health through the creative use of technology.

The Author

Mike Amundsen

Lead API Architect

An internationally-known author and lecturer, Mike Amundsen travels throughout the United States and Europe, consulting and speaking on a wide range of topics including distributed network architecture, Web application development and cloud computing. His recent work focuses on the role hypermedia plays in creating and maintaining applications that can successfully evolve over time. He has more than a dozen books to his credit, the most recent of which is RESTful Web APIs.

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