Footnotes under the Arrival of AI/Metaverse: The end of the beginning and public-private dilemmas.

The aim of this page📝 is to share my scattered thoughts about the upcoming, 4th revolutionary wave in the history of computing. These are, of course, just opinions based on the superb The End of the Beginning — Stratechery by Ben Thompson and a bunch of (unattributed) podcasts and conversations.

Pavol Kutaj
3 min readApr 1, 2023
  • We started from the premise that the beginning of the history of computing ended with the stabilization of the big players (~FAANG + Microsoft) around 2010 after the rise of the Cloud and smartphones.
  • three other revolutionary stages preceded this, when the major players always changed, and the basic criterion was access to resources
  • The first three waves are defined by access (to computing) models
  • The first model was centralized-batch, where there was one computing center for the entire organization (very expensive).
  • In the 1980s, new players emerged, such as Microsoft, Apple, etc. — they created a new model, the office-personalized model.
  • With the advent of the internet in the 1990s and its culmination through smartphones and the Cloud, the continuous model emerged
  • However, a new wave of simulation-assistive models is coming, which mixes: …a new type of simulation …a new type of human-AI interaction.
  • Note that this revolution is not defined by access anymore, it’s defined by application (you could say service, but I like the alliteration here)
  • It seems to me that the dynamics of the rise of Open AI are similar to the dynamics of the rise of the internet through Netscape.
  • Sure, the primary causes are different.
  • In the first revolution, Netscape discovered that Microsoft and others were betting on the wrong horse …that the network was inevitable, but would be private enterprise combined with cable TV (aka information superhighway)
  • Netscape, however, focused on the internet/web as a public enterprise connected to existing personal computers.
  • Open AI is doing something different, and if Sam Altman is not misleading us — they knew that the big players are betting on the right horse …however, their intention has been to bring it into the public view
  • Note that the public-private tension is present in both revolutionary moments
  • My friend, supported by my historical understanding seems to come to the correct conclusion that the sprouts of start-ups we have seen everywhere regarding artificial intelligence are starting to wither.
  • The big players are deploying artificial intelligence, integrating the services they can provide into existing products, thereby depriving them of any competitive advantage.
  • This also we have already seen before: you can find Microsoft everywhere.
  • In the early 1990s, they destroyed: …competition in office software …developer software …operating systems (until Linux arrived) …etc. …importantly, the financial area survived because Microsoft was “slapped on the wrist” by regulators.
  • However, at a certain point, the cards are simply dealt — the same is in other domains
  • The (mostly US-based!) market seems divided and will not let anyone new in (but hey, look at DeepL!, this may be wrong)
  • So, will a new revolution bring new players, or has the beginning of history ended?
  • What will happen to Open AI?
  • Will it disappear like Netscape?
  • Is it possible to make artificial intelligence a public service?
  • Or will it be a matter of private enterprise — the same thing Facebook wants to do with the Metaverse?



Pavol Kutaj

Today I Learnt | Infrastructure Support Engineer at with a passion for cloud infrastructure/terraform/python/docs. More at