Hello World


Right now only half the world is awake. For successful planetary-scale networking, it’s time for diurnal intelligently distributed systems.

Today my partners Dr. Rebecca Bilbro, Edwin Schmierer, and I have embarked on a journey to develop commercial planetary-scale systems and applications with Rotational Labs. The Internet and the cloud provide opportunities to rapidly develop applications that quickly reach an international audience. However, just because the tools exist doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Context is king,” say some of our closest advisors, and our primary goal is to create intelligent distributed systems that accommodate context without homogenizing experience.

“Hello World” is the traditional first computer program, but we see an additional meaning. We strive to develop respectful systems that create meaningful interactions between people in diverse parts of the world with diverse cultural backgrounds. The world is a big place, and “Hello World” signifies that tackling big problems affecting us all requires finding means to cooperate effectively together. “Hello World” means that seemingly simple outcomes are borne of the complex interactions of simple components. For us, technology is not a panacea; it is the means by which we can collaborate and produce change and value.

Our name, Rotational, reflects this as a nod to the diurnal cycles we all experience. If you imagine a system that spans the globe, then likely it will be utilized more in parts of the world where it is daylight. As the planet rotates, utilization will shift. To us, this describes an ecological experience that we all sense but don’t fully recognize: we’re all part of the same system, just using it from different times and spaces. We’re technologists, so we can best contribute to our shared experience through software development. The challenge we’ve set ourselves is to figure out how to create a system that is simultaneously global and hyperlocal, that is both diverse and unifying, that is intelligent, fair, and adaptable.

That challenge brings trade-offs and contradictions, ones we’ve tried to confront as directly as possible in our research and will continue to confront in our work. We will strive to offer thoughtfulness and honesty, and create a culture that celebrates both learning from other perspectives as well as learning from our mistakes.

Hello, world — we can’t wait to work with you!

Photo by NASA.