I am pretty sure you have seen this clip that went viral last night. It shows Stanford University’s Robert Wilson walking up to the door of his neighbor, Stanford colleague, and former student Paul Milgrom in the middle of the night. Wilson is there to tell Milgrom that he has won the 2020 Nobel Prize for economics. Wilson’s graciousness is such that he doesn’t mention that they won the prize together.
This priceless moment is all caught on Milgrom’s doorbell camera. I often talk about the unintended consequences of technology, both good or bad. This one seems to be in the positive column. A decade ago, the idea of doorbell cameras or nanny cams was viewed as a joke, something destined to be confined to the pages of the (now long-gone) Sharper Image catalog. Now, these things that were essentially viewed as toy cameras are pervasive.
As their utility and presence has increased, so have our fears about them and what they see. They have become a lightning rod for privacy advocates, and many view the camera culture as part of the post-digital redlining of society. But those heavy topics need to be put aside for today as we celebrate the chance to witness a truly special moment. I wanted to see this clip again and again.