Friday 21 October 2011

Inter-connected Technologies and Needs

Welcome back to adventures of Autism Works. First of all, apologies for the delay between entries as I have been away on leave. After my work at Daisy Chain and the success of the World Autism Organisation Conference, I have had a week's break in Italy, before resuming my duties at Autism Works, where I have been reviewing the company's operational procedures that I have been in the process of drafting.

Far from being just a welcome break, my visit to Italy was a fascinating cultural journey, seeing a huge breadth of recorded history stretching from the dominance of the Roman Empire under Constantine in Rome through to the Renaissance in Florence. Seeing such a range of history during a visit is fascinating not just to see the individual breakthroughs in art and science themselves, but also to see such events in contexts. Historical events, art movements and scientific breakthroughs very rarely occur in isolation. Often previous developments play a part, which allow for discoveries to be made by those who can make use or build upon these developments. In Florence, I visited the science museum where I saw the telescope with which Galileo discovered Jupiter's four largest moons, a discovery which had a profound impact on advances in astronomy, changing our perceptions of the solar system. Galilieo though didn't invent the telescope, but instead it was supposedly developed by spectacle-makers in the Netherlands who in turn built upon methods of glass-making developed in 13th-century Italy.

Far from being a series of isolated occurrences, history, including technological development is inter-connected. The Italian Renaissance spawned further historical periods such as the the Dutch Golden Age, which saw further developments in including the microscope. In turn, Dutch technology gradually found its way into England after the Glorious Revolution in 1688 (when William of Orange invaded by invitation), which would later contribute to the Industrial Revolution. Similarly, in contemporary times, those who have followed Autism Works since its inception will no doubt appreciate that the company has far from developed in isolation, not least as it is built upon already existing practice, but also technological developments and needs have played a strong part. 

With developments in software moving so fast in a competitive world (some may even argue that it is moving too fast), there is increasing demand for better-tested software products to reach the market quicker. Just like the developments of visual aids helped Galileo see more details in the heavens beyond the 'fixed stars' visible to the naked eye on a clear night, the positive traits of autism allow Autism Works to see detail that may otherwise be obscrued by the working practices of software developers, just like an independent proof-reader of texts for publication, including this blog, may see spelling and grammatical errors that may be obscured by the writers' creativity. This approach will also be helpful when reviewing the Autism Works Operational Procedures. There are two deliberate spelling mistakes and a grammatical error in this entry - did you manage to spot them? Answers on a postcard!

As well as seeing so much history and culture as well as variation in Italian cuisine, I was also fortunate to see Pope Benedict XVI address the crowd during his Wednesday audience in Rome's St Peter's Square. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to New Aspie Horizons for further inter-connected developments in the world of Autism Works.

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