Business Speeches: International Business Machines(IBM) CEO Gerstner
It is a great honor for me to share this stage with the Lord Mayor, chief executive of Hannover, with Mr. Yang, and in a few minutes with Chancellor Kohl.
I have been looking forward to this evening for a long time, because I have known for many years how important CeBIT is to the global Information Technology industry. So before I go any further I want to thank you very much for inviting me to participate in this important forum.
Now I have given a lot of thought as to what I would say to you this evening. On the one hand, I am here as a representative of the Information Technology industry on the event that is bigger by orders of magnitude than any other technology exhibit. That is quite a statement in a industry that is good at many things, especially celebrating its own creations. On the other hand, like most of you, I have spent most of my professional life as a customer of this industry. So I know that after the splash and promises comes the harsh light of morning and often the customer is left standing alone wondering what happened, or as the head of one of our most important German customers put it, "Yours is an industry that is very good at weddings and not so good at marriages." So tonight, while I will talk about the power and potential of Information Technology, I hope the temper of my remarks with the perspective I had when I came to IBM five years ago, the perspective of a customer.
Now it is certainly easy to see why raw technology dominates these events. It is adoptive; it is breathtaking; and it is penetrating every aspect of our lives. Today there are more PCs sold annually in the world than TVs or cars. The typical luxury automobile today has 20 to 30 microprocessors in it, more computing power by far than was inside the landing-craft that took the first astronauts to the moon. Last year there were five times more E-mail messages sent than the number of pieces of paper mail delivered worldwide, 2.7 trillion E-mails. And I got more than my share. There is another way to look at what is going on. In the mid-1970s, the first super computers appeared. They were capable of about 100 million calculations per second. And they cost about one million dollars. Today the laptop computer that college students carry in their bags, packs, is twice as fast as that first super computer, and it costs less than 3000 dollars. The trend in data storage is even more impressive. In the early 80s, the standard unit of computer storage, one mega-byte, or one million bytes of information, cost about 100 dollars. Today, it is 10 cents. In two years, it will cost 2 cents. These gains are driven by continuous advances in how we pack information into smaller and smaller spaces. If the US Library of Congress could shrink its collections of 17 million books by the same factor we just discussed, it could replace 800 kilometers of shelf space with less than 40 meters of space. These advances are going to continue and accelerate the rate microprocessors, storage, communications, memory, and all the other engines that are propelling this industry or continue to lead to the products of the faster, smaller, and less expensive, just as they have for 30 years. But as we stand here today, the opening of CeBIT, we are on the threshold of a very important change and the evolution of this industry. In many ways, this industry, a very emitory industry, is about to play out in its most important dimension. That is because the technology has become so powerful and so pervasive that its future impact on people and governments and all institutions will dwarf what has happened today.
I believe there are two trends that are most significant here, and bare the closest watching.
The first is what we call deep computing. The term is inspired by our chess-playing super computer Deep Blue, which I believe many of you know competed with the Grand Master Gary Kasparov last year. Deep Blue is an amazing machine, capable of 200 million moves per second. But speed, while essential, is not enough. After all, Deep Blue's predecessor was quite fast, but it loss to Gary Kasparov two years ago. The difference in second time around was an infusion of knowledge, human chess knowledge, thousands and thousands of chess moves, games and outcomes, captured as mathematical algorithms. This is what led Deep Blue to mimic the workings of the human mind, and race through millions of possible chess positions and extract the best one. And it worked rather well. But Deep Blue is emblematic of a whole class of emerging computer systems that combine ultra-fast processing with sophisticated analytical software.
Today we are applying these systems to challenges that are far more vital than chess. Let me talk about two important application areas, starting with simulation.
Simulation is about replacing physical things with digital things, recreating reality inside these powerful computer systems. In the farmer suitacle industry, the ability to simulate the interaction of chemicals, and do it in the computer rather than in test-tubes and Petri dishes, can speed up by years the discovery and testing of new farmer suitacle. Mercedes, BMW, Fiat, Volvo, SAAM all design cars today on computers, no physical markups, no models. And aviation does so, pioneer many of these techniques, and Boeing broke new ground when it designed the 777 airplane entirely on computers. It was a very bold move, and even some of Boeing's engineers had trepidations. I had trepidations because three month after I joined IBM I went out to Boeing to see my good friend Frank SCHURZ , who was the CEO. And Frank said to me, "Since this new airplane was built on your computers, maybe you should go on the first flight." And I said, "It is my wife's birthday." And he said, "I did not even tell you the date yet. Coward!" Computer simulation saves time, saves money, and it gives customers a competitive advantage, and it can do more than that. Recently the US department of energy asked IBM to build a gigantic super computer to simulate nuclear weapons so that they will never have to be exploded for test purposes, ever again.
The second type of deep computing is what we call data mining -- some people call it business intelligence, the ability to extract inside from mountains of information, and see relationships and trends that previously were not available or invisible. Banks are looking at spending patterns and other demographic data to see which customers are more profitable over the long haul. Health-care companies are analyzing millions of patient records to find hidden indicators of disease. These tools are also helping slash the staggering cost of insurance fraud in the health-care industry, which is a hundred-billion-dollar problem in the United States alone. Insurance companies can now spot every billion practices. One company in the United States has saved 38 million dollars, having invested only 400 thousand in this technology. In one instance they found a doctor, who was sending it a bill once a week for a procedure that particular - usually was done once or twice in a life time. At some times the patterns and relationships that are uncovered are truly baffling. One retail chain discovered the following correlation -- for whatever reason, new fathers buy disposable baby diapers and beer on the same shopping trip. This led to many, many thoughtful ideas not at least which was they never discount diapers and beer on the same day.
So we believe that deep computing is a trend that will have a profound effect on commerce and on society. Of course a concept throwing big problems at computers is not a new idea. Its rules can be traced at the very origins of the industry. The difference today is that the systems are so much more powerful and so much more affordable that they can be used by businesses and governments and institutions of all sizes.
The second major development in Information Technology is of course for a topic, already discussed here this evening, and that is the rise of global networks, like the Internet to create a network world, or what some call a network economy. About 16 million people use the Internet today. And the estimates are that that number will grow to 500 million, and perhaps someday to a billion. Now what will these connected people going to do, or they want to do? Not too long ago, people in my industry thought that the action was going to be an information dissemination - news, weathers, sports scores, online magazines called E-zines, and short consumer information. IBM has had a different view for some time. We believe the real potential of the network world is for conducting transactions of all kinds, between parties of all kinds, an effect that seems to be what is happening. Consider that across Europe Internet sales of about one billion dollars last year are projected to reach 30 billion dollars by the year 2001. One study says that the worldwide Internet commerce activity will double, double in the next six month alone. And most of that is business to business transactions. We see the total market for Internet commerce hitting 200 billion dollars by the end of the century. And that is a conservative forecast. It is not just about buying and selling. About a year ago IBM coined the term E-business to describe all the ways that people will derive value from the Net. Transactions among employees within the business to prove how products are developed, how ideas are shared, how teams are formed, how work gets done. Transaction between a business and its suppliers, its distributors, its retailers, to increase cycle times, speed and efficiency. And the very important transactions and interactions between governments and citizens, educators and students, health-care providers and patients. It is a very exciting stuff. And the greatest changes and challenges are not in the technology. In fact, connecting to the Net is relatively easy. The big challenges are in the fundamental transformation of the way things get done in the world. That is because networks are great levelers. They dissolve barriers to entry the neutralized traditional assets like physical stores and branches. Networks dissolved the boundaries within and between companies, countries, continents and time-zones. It is not hyperbole to say that the network is quickly emerging as the largest, most dynamic, restless, sleepless marketplace of good services and ideas the world has ever seen. And naturally this comes with very profound applications. For one thing, they are all ready, time-honored processes that govern the way things work in the world, the way we buy and sell, the way we distribute things, the way we teach, and the way we interact with each other. That I will tell you that nearly every one of those conventions is being challenged by the network world.
Let me cite a few examples drawing on what we and IBM have learned from helping thousands of customers in the last year come to the Net. New competitors can come out of nowhere, overnight, and not just from within your industry. One of the most contentious, fast moving, and bare knocle battles waged today is, believe it or not, in book selling. The leader in this online race is "amazon.com". If you have not heard of them, do not feel bad. Three years ago, nobody heard of them. They did not exist. Their customers do not aware they exist physically, and they do not care. Amazon.com exists only in cyberspace. But with 2.5 million titles, it is nearly 15 times larger than the world's largest physical bookstore. It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. And they recently serve their one million of customer in Japan, one of 160 countries in which amazon ships books. Until recently they had the market to themselves. Now the traditional book sellers like Barns&Noble in the US, and medium firms like Burtlesman in Europe are jumping in. Can virtual companies like "amazon.com" battle against and beat these entrenched brands? Stay tuned. We do not know yet. The same kind of transformation is happening in retail banking, in car sales, in music entertainment, in insurance. And it is not just limited to the commercial world. Public sector institutions are being buffeted by the same powerful forces. In higher education, there is a university in Canada, Atherbasca University, that delivers 100 percent of its courses by what is called distant learning. No students on campus, no campus. All instruction is delivered online. And they have captured nearly 30 percent of all MBA students in Canada. Governments are using networks to transform every thing, from the way they buy goods and services, to the delivery of services to citizens. Singapore is putting 10 thousand suppliers online, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, and by the way is compared with the advantage in Asia. When the government of Verlancia in southern France, starts wiring entire villages, allowing citizens to conduct online transactions with local businesses, schedule a doctor's appointment, get information from their kids' school -- you know something interesting is starting to happen. And believe me in America, when in certain stage you can register your car on the Internet and not have to go a way in line. I can assure you something important is happening. Trust me on this one. Now all of us must realize this is not a spectator's sport, when I was just sitting here watching "amazon.com". Every institution and every entity must grab with this issue at the highest level as management. S&Base, Cacherdeck is one of the largest department stores in Europe. But they are making their first foreway into online sales. That is not an easy decision for an enterprise with huge investments and retail space, not to mention their economic model, their coop culture, rooted and traditional retail sales. Who made the decision for Cacherdeck to jump into online sales? I can assure you it was not their Web master. Increasingly, CEOs of companies, university presidents, government officials are stepping up to these issues. They are testing pilot sites, they are setting strategy, and they are answering questions like "How will this network world affect my organization?" "How are we threatened?" but more importantly, "How can I leverage this new medium for competitive advantage?" The toughest, most jocular decisions that need to be made are which browser or which server their core management and policy issues. This only escalates all these issues, only escalates as the network world marches on.
We have already talked about the first milestone that is the Net connecting, say a billion people to perhaps a million E-businesses. The next milestone is what we and IBM call pervasive computing. Fifty years ago where did you find electric motors? Big factories, power plants, and they were big and expensive. Today you might find a hundred electric motors in the typical home - they are in the appliances, heating, ventilation systems, CD player, the VCR, and, if you are so fortunate, the electric tooth-brush. We do not buy electric motors any more. They come inside of all the things we use and do every day. The same thing is going to happen with computing devices. Chips are getting so small and so inexpensive, (that) they are being embedded in every thing - cars, appliances, tools, doorknobs, clothes. Most significantly all of these tiny intelligent devices will be interwoven in the fabric of the computing and communications network. And what will this mean for consumers and enterprises? A quick example, think about driving down the autobahn.Your intelligent car develops an engine problem. But instead of flashing you a warning light, it sends a message directly to the manufacturer over a wireless connection to the Net. The manufacturer systems diagnose the problem, and they transmit a fix back to the electronic complex in your car. In fact, that electronic fix is transmitted to all models of that car anywhere in the world without having to notify the owners. And that is good for the driver, so also better for the car maker. Instant performance information captured and sent immediately into product development and manufacturing, continuous feedback loop, continuous improvement, resulting in better cars, good for the consumer and competitive advantage for the businesses to get there first. How can any company with tens of millions of vending machines scattered all around the world know at any point what is selling, what is not selling, how much of an item is left, or when to send a rood driver to empty the coin box. A little chip in each machine could check and report on all of those items with ease, and even better. Why could not that machine include a thermal stack that told it, it is freezing today, drop the price by 10 pfennigs. It is 35 degrees, raise the price by 15 pfennigs. Soon we will see this hyper standard network world made up of a trillion interconnected intersecting devices. And this will intersect with the data capability I spoke of early -- pervasive computing meets deep computing. Companies and institutions will amass more data, more information than ever in history. And for the first time they will be able to do something productive with the turn raw data into knowledge and move that knowledge to the right people instantaneously. Personally I believe that future leadership companies and by the way future leadership institutions of all kinds will be those who know how to compete and win on the basis of knowledge -- learning, adapting and improving the vital asset we know as information.
Now I have covered a lot of ground here very quickly. I want to show you a brief video that illustrates some of these ideas that I have talked about.
The brilliant computer technology, which has enabled this biggest explosion in the last 20 years, is that they are getting increasingly more powerful without getting more expensive.
Make a chip run over one giga-hertz was someone like breaking the sound barrier on land. We really found that we can work at it. There is anything that you cannot build. And we have solved the problem and now we are continue to increase frequency for the next 10 years.
Our ability to manipulate information and our ability to do video and multimedia are critically dependent upon having larger and larger storage devices. Recently we demonstrate a laboratory world recogdencive 11.6 billion bits per square inch for a hard disk drive. We want to be having a continued advance at storage capabilities when the physical limitations prevent us from extending current devices. That is why we are investigating using hologramed information, even manipulating individual items.
In the information age, up till now, the oriental culture has a disadvantage, because of the difficulty in input. To do Chinese speech recognition, we need to improve recognition algorithm. Also we need fast computers. Now both conditions are there.
I am painfully slow in typing.
It takes so long to master the skill of typing Chinese.
“我带来我公司的最新产品。请在明天上午召开联席会议 - ‘It is just fast!' - 讨论销售合作的问题。”
Only in the last few years have computers become powerful enough to do on-the-fly translation of languages.
You will be able to go into the World Wide Web, go to any site, anywhere in the world, and whatever language that particular site is written, and quickly browse and understand that information in your native language. It is about the same amount of time it takes for you to receive the Web page over the network. We intersect in the server. We do the translation, and we present the new page back to you.
International travel is growing at between 7 and 10 percent a year. And we see the pressure is on world control authorities, and the hastle on passengers continue into grow. We try to create fast ...so it appears very much like an Automatic Teller Machine. A traveler we take a credit card and put it in the kiosk, place their hand on the biometric reader, and those two things in a real time are compared with information that has been stored in a database when they enroll, and then this is what is in it.
How can I make computers more fun to use, easier to use, more like interacting with humans? We have given the computer the ability to see us, and sense where we are. And now we are trying to give it ability to understand what we are trying to say. In fact, all I need to do is to talk to it and move my hands. So for example, now I am moving this object around, just by moving my hand. "Leave it there." The computer hears me and does what I ask.
Some of the really hard problems are their power, a lot of computing power. That is the deep computing.
What we have learned in Deep Blue is that not only you need fast computers, deep computing power, but you need to capture human experts knowledge, and express that in terms of algorithms.
The more power you have, the smarter things you can do. And that is what is starting to happen now because the computers have enough processing power to solve some really interesting and difficult problems.
With such a computer you can actually simulate the physical process of what happened in the physical world.
I think we will tell our kids 10 years ... now, "You may not believe it, but computers used to be things that set of big boxes on top of desks. And look at ...
As things get smaller, faster and smarter, we are about to forget about the computer inside devices, focus on the function of the device.
Computers will be everywhere, performing everyday tasks for people. We will not think them as computers any more.
(END OF VIDEO)
Now I started out this evening saying I hope to represent the voice of the customer. And as we project the benefit of this network world, the hundreds of millions of people may be even a billion. It is clear that the Information Technology industry has a lot of work to do. We have got to make this technology easier to use, and more natural. And that video you saw some of the things we and others are doing and working on ease of use today. We have got our rich agreement on standards, standards for communications, for security, for software development. And I am asking you as customers to keep the heat on this industry. The demand that we deliver open standards, everybody's software running on everybody's hardware over everybody's network.
There is another set of issues that extend beyond the Information Technology industry - there are public policy issues. Some have been around for ever, like privacy. Some we recognize as old issues in new dimensions, like security and taxation in the global market place of the Internet. Resolving these issues is going to require a new level of international cooperation. And I think the nations of the European Union have set a real leadership example, in preparing for the common currency, perhaps the most important change since European integration and the treaty of your own. IBM has been pleased, being involved in helping a number of you prepare for this, which will fundamentally alter the economic landscape and make it easier for all our companies to grow in Europe. But because the nature of the network world is just global - it has to be global, agreements to these critical policy issues are going to take this issue of cooperation to a new level. We are going to have to have a global public policy.
First, people must have inexpensive access to the telecommunication services they need to participate, meaning governments have to encourage competition, and end monopoly structures. And the news from Europe is very encouraging recently here. It is also clear that the discriminatory tax policies can stifle this very nascent, early forming economic engine. We have to insure that electronic business is taxed the same way as the physical business world, no more, no less. And the OECD has taken on this work, and we hardly support their efforts. We also support the move to keep the Internet a tariff free zone. This will be a big fight, but that is one we have to win together.
Next, security. The domains of customers for strong encryption, and governments legitimate concerns about their ability to provide public safety and enforced laws do not have to be neutrally exclusive. IBM is working with the US government, with the European Union, and governments around the world to support an unrestricted market for encryption products that can inter-operate globally. We are not anywhere near for along on this we need to be, but I am confident we will get there. We have to get there, there is too much of stake.
As we look ahead to the next millennium, I do not think there is any question any longer about the profound power of this technology. In an incredibly short span of time, it is developed to the point where it can, we can talk about it in the same context as any of the other great technologies had transformed our world. We are watching, we are participating in the emergence of something much bigger than the new computing model, much different than just a new channel for human interaction. Information Technology, and specifically network technology, represents the most powerful tool we have ever had for change. It is a new engine for economic growth, a new medium that will redefine the nature of relationships among governments and institutions and businesses of all kinds, and the people they serve now, and they might serve tomorrow. This powerful tool is here for all of us today. Each of us will have to decide how will it exploited, and how soon. But in any case, the nations, the government agencies, the public sector and commercial institutions, that do theirs most effectively will create enormous competitive advantage into the 21 century.
Thank you very much, and I hope you have the most successful CeBIT ever.
各位晚上好！非常荣幸能够与汉诺威市市长、Yang 先生共同出席今晚的会议，非常荣幸能与科尔总理共同度过这个美好的夜晚。我一直在盼望今晚的到来，因为很多年以前我就知道 CeBIT 对全球信息技术产业有多么重要。因此在演讲之前我首先要对你们邀请我参加这个重要的会议表示衷心的感谢。
对于今晚要说的内容我想过很多。一方面，我是作为信息技术产业界的代表出席这次比其它任何技术展览会的规模都大的会议的。我们的工业是一个对很多事情都很拿手 的工业，尤其善于庆祝其自己的创造发明。另一方面，和你们大多数人一样，我的绝大部分职业生涯也是作为这个产业的消费者渡过的。因此，我知道一通承诺之后必将是黎明眩目的阳光。消费者常常被撇在一边，琢磨着发生了什么事，或者象我们一个非常重要的德国客户的首脑所说的那样，“你们的产业好象对结婚典礼非常在行，但对婚姻却不太懂。”因此，虽然今晚我要谈谈信息技术的力量和潜力，但是我希望我能够象五年前刚到 IBM 时一样，站在消费者的立场上表达我的观点。
纯技术主宰这次展览会的原因是很简单的，因为现在的纯技术是可以被接受的，是令人惊奇的，而且它已经渗透到了我们生活的各个方面。现在全世界每年销售的 PC 数量比电视机和汽车多。今天典型的豪华汽车中有 20 到 30 个微处理器，比那个把第一批宇航员送上月球的登月飞船的计算能力还强。去年全球发送的电子邮件数量比传统的纸邮件数量多五倍，达到 27000 亿封。我的信箱容量就总是不够用。我们还可以从另外一个角度看看现在都发生了些什么事。七十年代中期出现了最初的超级计算机，计算能力是大约每秒一亿次，价格大约是一百万美元。而如今大学生的书包里装着的膝上型计算机的计算能力是那种超级计算机的两倍，价格却只有不到 3000 美元。数据存储技术的发展趋势更是令人瞠目。八十年代初期，一个标准单位的计算机存储能力，即 1MB，或者说 1 百万字节，售价是 100 美元，而现在却只要 10 美分，两年内还将降到 2 美分。这种结果是在技术不断进步的推动下产生的，我们可以把信息存储到越来越小的空间。如果把这种技术用到美国国会图书馆的 1700 百万册存书上，其书架长度将由 800 公里变成不到 40 米。这种进步将继续下去，并且会加速微处理器、存储设备、通信、内存以及所有其它正在推动信息产业前进的“发动机”式的产品的发展，或者会继续创造出更快、更小、更便宜的产品。过去 30 年的情况就是如此。然而当我们今天站在这里，出席 CeBIT 的开幕式的时候，我们面对的是一场业界非常重要的变化和革命。在很多方面，信息产业将成为最重要的产业。这是因为信息技术已经变得如此强大、如此普遍，以致于未来它对人们、政府和各个机构的影响将使目前发生的事相形见绌。
我认为现在有两个最重要的趋势。第一个我们称之为深入计算 (deep computing)。这个术语是在我们会下国际象棋的超级计算机“深蓝” (Deep Blue) 的启发下得到的。我相信很多人都知道去年它与国际象棋特级大师卡斯帕罗夫进行过对抗赛。“深蓝”是一台令人吃惊的机器，它具备每秒 2 亿步的计算能力。速度虽然是必要的，但是仅有速度是不够的。不管怎么说，“深蓝”的前身的计算速度是相当快的，但两年前它还是败给了卡斯帕罗夫。第二次比赛的不同之处在于，人类的国际象棋知识、成千上万步的步法、行棋顺序及结果都被提炼为数学算法。正是这些东西使得“深蓝”能够模仿人类的思想行为，从上百万可能的布局中选出其中最好的一种，而且干得相当不错。“深蓝”实际上是所有正在浮现的将复杂的分析软件与超高速处理能力结合在一起的计算机系统的象征。如今我们正把这些系统应用到比国际象棋更重要的挑战上。我来说说两个重要的应用领域吧。首先是计算机仿真。
仿真是一种用数字的东西代替实际的东西的技术，在强大的计算机系统中重建现实世界。在农业育种工业，如果我们能模仿化学元素之间的相互作用，用计算机而不是用试管和培养皿做试验，我们将可以几年几年的缩短农业新品种的发现和测试时间。梅塞德斯、宝马、菲亚特、沃尔沃......现在都在计算机上设计汽车，不再需要实际制做模型。航空工业也是这些技术的积极倡导者，波音公司破天荒地将 777 飞机的设计完全在计算机上完成。这是一个非常大胆的举动。甚至是一些波音的工程师都感到恐慌。我也感到恐慌，因为在我加入 IBM 三个月后去拜访我的好朋友波音公司 CEO Frank 时，Frank 对我说：“既然这种新飞机是在你们的计算机上建造的，那么也许你应该参加它的首次试飞。”我回答说：“那天是我妻子的生日。”他说：“可是我还没告诉你试飞的日期呢。胆小鬼！”计算机模拟能够节省时间、节省费用、能使用户更具竞争力，它还能做更多的事。最近美国能源部要求 IBM 建造一台巨型超级计算机用以模拟核武器，这样他们就再也不用进行核爆炸试验了。
第二种深入计算我们称之为数据分析处理 -- 有些人称之为商业情报处理，即从大量信息中提炼出有用情报，并分析出以前得不到或看不见的各种关系和发展趋势。银行在分析消费模式和其它统计数据，以弄清哪些客户长期的收益状况较好。Health-care 企业在分析成百万的病例以从中发现隐藏的疾病迹象。这些工具还有助于削减 health-care 产业中惊人的保险欺骗损失，仅在美国这个损失就高达上千亿美元。保险公司现在能够发现任何欺诈行为。有一家美国公司仅在这种技术上投资 40 万美元就减少了 3800 万美元的损失。有一次他们发现一个医生每周都要送来一份医疗检查帐单，而其中的一些项目一生也只会做一次或两次。有时发现的一些情况和关系着实令人难以理解。有一家零售连锁店发现了如下的相关联系：不管出于什么原因，新爸爸们总是在一次购物中同时购买一次性婴儿尿片和啤酒。这一点引发了很多很多很有思想的想法，例如他们从不同时对尿片和啤酒打折。我们相信深入计算是一个将对商业和社会产生深远影响的趋势。当然把难题扔向计算机的观念并不新鲜。它可以追溯到这种产业刚出现的时代。但是今天的不同之处是现在的系统非常强大，价格又极为公道，以致于能够在各种商业和政府部门、各种科研机构中广泛应用。
就象今天晚上已经谈到的，信息技术第二个重要的发展是全球网络的崛起，比如 Internet，它创造了一个网上世界，也有些人称之为网上经济。如今有 1600 万人使用 Internet。估计这个数字很快就会升至 5 亿，也许有一天还会达到 10 亿。那么这些上网的人打算做些什么，或者说想做些什么呢？不久以前，我们这个领域的人认为网上活动将会是信息发布 -- 新闻、天气预报、体育比分、在线杂志（被称作 E-zine）以及简短的消费信息。IBM 对此持不同观点已经有一段时间了。我们认为网络世界的真正潜力在于引导所有不同团体之间的不同种类的交易，网上现在正在发生的情况似乎就是如此。跨欧洲的 Internet 上的销售额去年是 10 亿美元，到 2001 年将达到 300 亿美元。一项研究表明，世界范围内的 Internet 商业活动仅在未来 6 个月里就将翻一番。其中绝大多数是商业团体之间的交易。我们认为本世纪末 Internet 商业的全部市场将会达到 2000 亿美元。这还只是保守的估计。我们说的不仅仅是买和卖的问题。大约一年以前，IBM 创造了一个术语 E-business （电子商务）描述所有人们得以从网上获取价值的方式。企业雇员之间的交流将验证如何开发产品、如何共享观念、如何形成小组、如何完成工作。企业与其它供应商、分销商、零售商之间的交流将加快资金循环次数、速度和效率。另外政府与市民、教育者和学生、医务提供者和病人之间的交流和交互作用也非常重要。这种情况令人非常激动。最重要的变化和挑战并不是技术方面。实际上，连接到 Internet 上相对来说很简单。大的挑战来自于这个世界运行方式的基本变革。网络是伟大的平均主义者。网络消解了所有进入那些受压制的传统产业 -- 比如实际的商店和分店 -- 的障碍。网络消解了各个企业、各个国家、各个大陆和时区内部以及它们之间的界限。可以毫不夸张的说，网络正在迅速成为一个前所未有的最大、最为活跃、从不平静和从不休息的业务和思想的市场。自然这也将带来一些意义深远的应用。一件值得注意的事儿是，这些障碍都是历史悠久的、早有准备的部门，它们统治着信息世界运转的方式 -- 买卖的方式、分销的方式、教育的方式以及我们互相交往的方式。我得说几乎传统观念中的每一方面都在受到网络世界的挑战。
下面让我举几个例子，几个过去一年中我们 IBM 在帮助成千上万的消费者走上网络时得到的例子。新的竞争者将会无时无刻无所不在，而不仅仅是来自你自己的产业界。今天争吵得最利害、行动最为迅速的竞争 -- 信不信由你 -- 是在书籍销售领域。这场竞赛现在的领先者是 amazon.com。如果你还没听说过它，不要紧。三年前没有人听说过它们，那时候它们还不存在。它们的顾客并未意识到它们在实际上的存在，它们也不在乎这些。amazon.com 仅仅在网上存在。但是它拥有 250 万种图书，几乎比世界上最大的传统书店大 15 倍。它每天 24 小时、全年每天都营业。不久前，它们在日本接待了它的第 100 万名顾客，日本只是 amazon 销售书籍的 160 个国家中的一个。现在传统的书籍销售商如美国的......媒体高速如欧洲的......也跳进了这个市场。象 amazon.com 这样的虚拟公司能否击败这些根深蒂固老牌号？等着瞧吧，我们也不知道。类似的变革同时还发生在零售银行业、汽车销售、音乐娱乐、保险业中，而且还不仅仅限于商业领域。公众机构也遭受了同一种强大力量的冲击。在高等教育领域，加拿大有一所......大学完全通过所谓的远程教育传授它的课程。校园中没有学生，也没有校园。所有的指导都是在线传送的。几乎加拿大全部 MBA 学生中的 30％都出自这所大学。政府正在利用网络改变着所有的一切，从购买货物和服务的方式到向市民提供服务的方式都在改变。新加坡正在将 1 万个供应商放到网上，降低了成本并且提高了效率，另外还因此在亚洲地区赢得了有势。当法国南部的......政府将整个村子连接起来，使得市民可以在线的同本地商业企业进行交易、预约医生、从他们的孩子就读的学校获取信息 -- 你们可以看得出，一些有趣的事情正在发生。请相信我，发展到一定程度后，在美国你们将能够在 Internet 上注册汽车而不必排队等候。我向你们保证，一些重要的事情正在发生。在这一点上请相信我。当我坐在这儿浏览 amazon.com 时，我们大家或许都已意识到这决不是观众在看体育比赛。每一家机构和实体都应该象抓企业管理的一样抓住这个问题。......是欧洲最大的百货公司之一。它们是第一次走向网络销售。这不是一个轻松的决定，这家企业已经有巨大的投资规模和零售空间，更不要说它的经济模式、企业文化和它传统的零售业务了。是谁作出在线销售的决定的呢？我相信决不是它们的网络主管。逐渐地，公司的 CEO 们，大学校长们，政府官员们都在走近这个问题。他们测试试验网站，制定战略，而且对诸如“这个网络世界会对我们的组织产生何种影响？”“我们会受到何种威胁？”以及更重要的“我们如何利用这种新的媒体获得竞争优势？”等问题做出回答。最为为难的、最滑稽的是要决定采用何种浏览器或服务器用于核心管理和政策问题。这只会在网络世界前进的道路上加剧这些问题。我们谈到第一个里程碑是 Internet 的连接，比方说将 10 亿人连接到 100 万个电子商务企业上。下一个里程碑是我们 IBM 所说的普遍计算 (pervasive computing)。五十年前，你在哪儿能见到电机？只能在工厂、电厂，它们非常庞大而且很贵。现在你在家里便可以看到上百个电机，各种电器设备，加热装置、通风系统、CD 播放机、录像机，如果你足够幸运的话，你还可能用到电动牙刷。今天我们不再直接购买电机了。它们跟随日常用品来到我们的生活中。类似的事情也将要在计算设备中发生。芯片越来越小，越来越便宜，能够被嵌入到各种产品中 -- 汽车、器械、工具、门把手、衣服。其中最为引人注目的是将小型智能设备交织进计算和通信网络的结构中。那么这对消费者和企业来说将意味着什么呢？举个例子吧。想象一下你正在驾驶一辆新型汽车。当这辆智能汽车发生了一起引擎故障时，它不是向你闪烁警示灯，而是通过无线 Internet 连接直接向制造商发送信息。制造商的系统诊断出问题，然后向汽车的电子系统发回修理信息。实际上这个电子修理信息将在不通告其拥有者的情况下发向世界上所有这种型号的汽车。这对驾驶人员和制造商都是有好处的。性能信息随时都可以得到，并被立即发送给产品开发商和制造商，这样经过不断的反馈，不断的改进，就可以制造出更好的汽车，从而有益于消费者，使企业拥有领先的竞争优势。一家拥有遍布全世界上千万自动售货机的公司如何能够知道各个售货机中什么卖掉了，什么没卖掉，还剩多少，或者什么时候该派人去把售货机里的钱取出来。每台机器中安装一个很小的芯片就可以很方便地检查并报告所有这些信息，甚至可能做得更好。为什么不能在这些机器里装一个温度计呢？温度计会告诉售货机说，“今天很冷，价格下调 10 分尼。”“已经 35 度了，提高价格 15 分尼。”很快我们就会看到这种由上万亿的互相交叉连接着的设备构成的网络世界。这和我刚才讲到的数据能力是相互交叉的，也就是说，普遍计算和深入计算是相交叉的。各种企业和各种机构将可以比以前聚集更多的数据、更多的信息。而且它们将第一次能够立即把原始数据变成知识，并立即把这种知识传送给相关的人。我个人认为，未来社会领先的企业和领先的机构将是那些懂得如何在知识的基础上开展竞争的企业和机构，他们将懂得学习、适应和改进这种我们称为信息的生死攸关的资产。
今天晚上我曾说过，我希望表达的是消费者的意见。在我们描绘网络世界将带来的好处的时候，我们的网络世界中的几千万用户可能已经变成了十亿。显然信息技术产业中还有很多工作需要做。我们必须让这种技术使用起来更容易、更自然。在录象上大家看到了今天我们和其他一些人为使信息技术易于使用而正在做的一些事情。在工业标准方面我们已经达成了很多协议，关于通信、安全和软件开发的标准。因此我请求你们这些消费者对这个产业保持热情。我们正不断的推出开放的标准，使任何人的软件都可以在任何人的硬件平台上运行，在任何人的网络上运行。信息工业还面临着一系列其它的问题 -- 公众政策问题。这方面有一些问题是永远存在的，比如说隐私权。有一些是新领域中的老问题，比如说 Internet 全球市场的安全和税收的问题。解决这些问题要求国际合作达到一个新的层次。我认为欧盟的各个国家成为了真正的先驱者，你们正在为统一货币而做准备，这有可能是欧洲统一进程中签署条约以来最重要的变化。IBM 感到非常荣幸被接纳来帮助一些欧盟成员准备此事，这将从根本上改变欧盟的经济格局并使得我们这些公司更易于在欧洲发展。但是由于网络世界的本性就是全球性的 -- 它只能是全球性的，在这些重要的政策问题上达成协议将使得在这一问题上的合作达到一个新的水平。我们将不得不建立一个全球性的公共政策。首先人们必须能够以低廉的价格接入的他们必须参与的通信服务，也就是说政府必须鼓励竞争，从而终结垄断结构。而最近从欧洲传来的新闻是很激动人心的。税收政策的差异也可能压制这个新生的经济引擎，这一点也是显而易见的。我们必须确保电子商务的税收水平与自然贸易的税收水平相同，不能多也不能少。OECD 正在作这方面的工作，但我们不大支持他们的努力。我们还支持保持 Internet 为一个无关税的自由区域。这将是一场激烈的斗争，但也是我们必须一同赢得胜利的斗争。其次是安全性。用户对强有力的加密技术的渴望、政府立法领域对他们保证公共安全和提供法律的能力的关注是可以走到一起来的。IBM 正和美国政府、欧洲联盟以及全球的其他政府合作，来支持一个不加限制的可以实现全球互操作的加密产品市场。虽然为了做到这一点我们还有很长的路要走，但对此我充满了信心。而且我们必须做到这一点，因为这里面已经投入了太多的赌注。最后是隐私权的问题。我们怎么能继续破坏这种平衡呢？这种平衡使得个人隐私权和信息在广泛联系世界中流动带来的利益达成了妥协。这里的解决方案必须由私营部门发起，而不是政府。这里有几条被所有的业务都证实了的原则，消费者们仅仅对对他们有用的、属于他们的和有助于把握机会的信息给予关注，并强化它们的应用。大量的公司在向这个方向转移。IBM 最近采纳了一项在线管理信息的全球隐私权政策，并且把它张贴到了我们在世界上的所有站点上。有了全球协议、合作以及谅解，信息技术工业、政府和我们的客户们就可以勇往直前。我认为并且确信这个全球性的市场将显著的、安全的成长，并实现他的承诺。这对于每一个人都是非常重要的。当我们展望下一个千年的时候，对这项技术拥有的强大能量，我认为不再会有任何疑问。在令人难以置信的短暂时间里，信息工业发展到了这样的一个程度，我们可以谈论的内容已经能够和那些曾经改变了我们的世界的伟大技术相媲美。我们正看到的、我们正在分享的远远不只是一个新的竞赛模式，也不仅是人们相互作用的新渠道。信息技术，特别是网络技术，代表的是我们从未拥有过的可以改变世界的最强大的工具。它是经济发展的新的动力，它是一个新的媒介，是可以重新定义所有政府、组织和企业之间关系的本性的媒介，是可以重新定义正在接受它的服务的人们和将来要接受它的服务的人们之间的关系的媒介。这个强大的工具是赐予我们大家的。我们中的每一个人都必须决定怎样去开发它，或在什么时候开发它。但无论如何，国家、政府、公共部门和商业组织都可以通过最有效的工作建立巨大的竞争优势，并将它带入 21 世纪。
非常感谢你们，祝愿你们的 CeBIT 成为历史上最成功的一次 CeBIT 。