Co-founder of AOL predicts massive change to Internet

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Case was a key player in the early days of the Internet.

As co-founder of AOL, he was a major part of one of the first companies to get millions of Americans online.

Now, Case is predicting a massive change coming to the Internet and how we use it. That’s the focus of his new book “The Third Wave.”

KXAN’s John Dabkovich spoke with Case at the Long Center, Monday:

DABKOVICH: “So, I’ve read part of the book. It’s fascinating. Basically, it says we’ve seen the first wave and the second wave of the internet and now things are going to change. What’s the third wave?”
CASE: “The first wave was building the internet. The second wave was building apps on top of it. The third wave is really integrating the Internet in seamless and pervasive ways throughout our lives and really in the process change things like how our kids learn and our parents stay healthy, what the think about food systems, energy, transportation.

“It’s going to create some opportunities, but it’s also going to put some jobs at risk. So, one of the things I do is encourage people to think about their own careers with an entrepreneurial mindset. When I was growing up the idea was you work for one company your whole life. Now there are people who work for different companies in the same day! So, the nature of work itself is changing in the third wave.

DABKOVICH: So what do we need to do then? Do we all need to become software engineers?
CASE: No. Obviously, the engineers are part of this, but I think in this third wave the skills around partnership and engaging in policy… people skills are going to be much more important. But the most important part is creativity, making sure you’re thinking in new kinds of ways imagining new possibilities. That’s sort of the core of what innovators and entrepreneurs do. Just imagine a different kind of world.

Case also said he’s seeing a lot of the innovation moving out of Silicon Valley, and that places like Austin are in a good position to continue growing as the Internet becomes a bigger part of our lives.

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