An early Eureka moment: Reinvent the window and change the world (4:01 length)

INTERVIEWER: What was the pivot point for you, as you began to look around the world and what was happening with technology looking into the future, that gave you the idea that there was going to be a new thing that became the Expandiverse?

DAN ABELOW: It actually was a very interesting moment. I was standing at a window and looking at the world outside the window. I wasn’t seeing that world.

What I was actually seeing was I realized we’ve made a lot of things digital. We’ve gone from no microchips inside of things in the early 1980s, to by the beginning of the 1990s, maybe a dozen microchips surround us during an average day to maybe 300 by 2000. Now, it’s just a saturation level

I was thinking about how much of the world has really become digital versus what’s not. It suddenly occurred to me that the window in front of me had never been made digital. We have screens around us, but we’ve never had digital windows.

What would a digital window be?

It suddenly made me think that I could be looking anywhere in the world, but not just looking out through a window; that someone else could be looking back at me.

What the window could do digitally could really change the experience. It wouldn’t be like looking through a window anymore. It would be more like being there in the same room, just with a piece of glass between two people.

The technology of what the cameras on my side could do to make me feel there to somebody else, and what the cameras, transmission and processing on the other side could do the same.

Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, 40 years from now, when all of our processors are 1,000 times or even 10,000 times more powerful than they are today, and the bandwidth is so much larger, the storage — it doesn’t matter where something is. The processing can occur almost anywhere throughout the network, as well as on both sides of the transmission.

You suddenly are in an environment where everybody gets to feel as if they’re “there” and wherever “there” is, it’s here.

We’ve already started with the Internet feeling like the death of distance, but we haven’t even begun to recognize what the death of distance really will be. The death of distance is that you who are watching this, and I, could actually be in a conversation instantly.

It could be the equivalent of my tapping you on the shoulder digitally and saying, “You got a minute?”

You look up and you say, “Sure!”

We start talking to each other. Except you could be 3,000 miles away from me. Or 8,000 miles away. Or you could be down the hall. But again, it doesn’t matter.

The technology that we’re about to have, the technology that I started working on the systems for, is that bridge between everybody.

So that the Earth really becomes a single room with everybody in it, for the first time.