In his classic TED talk from 2010, distinguished chemist George Whitesides contrasts simplicity and complexity, specifically in relation to science and technology. He describes the Internet as a series of simple, stacked elements from binary ones-and-zeros to the Google search bar. He concludes with two famous quotes, and then closes on a gem of his own.
First, Albert Einstein:
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
Second, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
“You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.”
Third, George Whitesides himself:
“How do we make things as simple as we can, as cheap as we can, as functional as we can and as freely interconnectable as we can? If we make that kind of simplicity in our technology and then give it to you guys, you can go off and do all kinds of fabulous things with it.”
Is that not a beautiful mantra for the engineers, architects and designers of the Internet of Things? Simple, cheap, functional and freely interconnectable. Let’s get stacking!