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schneb
03-10-2005, 12:46 PM
Where do you see the computer going in 10 to 20 years? Here are my predictions.

A fiber-optic or organic chip with no need for component cooling.

OLED or equivilent display.

All solid state RAM drive that eliminates the need for built-in RAM.

Optional touch-screen usage or screen pen.

Thimble cordless mouse.

On-chip GPS locator LoJack system with Cell-Phone-Home. (You call it, it locks the CPU and tells you where it is on the globe) Disable it, computer dies.

Holographic square card eliminates need for DVDs or other spinning devices.

Basically, in 20 years, I see no moving or mechanical parts.

G5from128k
03-10-2005, 02:36 PM
Interesting analysis and I bet most of it is right except the part about moving parts.

Mechanical harddrives have been outstripping RAM size for decades. In 1987, the Mac II had a 40 MB drive that was about 5X-40X bigger than RAM. In 1994, the stock 8100 came with 60X more HD than RAM (500 MB vs. 8MB). In 2000, the stock Pismo came with 93X more HD than RAM (6 GB vs. 64 MB). The currently shipping G5s comes with about 320X more HD than RAM (160GB vs 512 MB). This trend will continue for at least 5-10 years and then stop when both technologies hit respective walls on the size of things. I doubt that solid state will catch up within 20 years.

I'm also skeptical about holographic devices because they are not as dense as magnetic media. The magnetic domains on an HD can be very very small (under 65 nm), much smaller than the wavelength of light that define the dimensions of optical drives. Thus, I suspect that HDs with magnetic media will be around for 10-20 years.

Otherwise, I liked all your other predictions and hope other comment on this cool thread.

cudaboy_71
03-10-2005, 02:39 PM
[edit: warning] long rambling post.

i read a very interesting article a month or so back--dont remember where....may have been paper and ink-- about how the future (read the next 10-20 years) already exists.

it's just that its benefits --whether that be in and of itself or being paired appropriately with another technology-- have not been exposed or revealed sufficiently to have become a commodity. this translates to mass-marketability--and, the two are not mutually exclusive--commoditization & mass-market appeal obviously drive one another. this leads into timing and/or stupidity being an issue (refer to Sony betamax/VHS).

that said, peeking 10 years into the future really isnt that difficult. look at what the ubergeeks are pumping out right now, and envision a mass-marketable product. couple that with the miniturization of EVERYTHING, and:

#1

i see computer/media centers.

TV is stupid. i dont mean i dont like TV. i just mean there's no way to screw it up. even in its earliest (mass-market) forms you turn it on, there's a knob or two to twist, and maybe a coupla antennas to move around. this is mass-marketability in its simplest form.

and, i think, the computer is finally ripe for this mass-marketization. the computer-come-tv will reach this level of stupidity and prices will drop and saturate the mass-market.

i'm afraid that comes at the expense of customization. i mean, i'd really like to upgrade the video on one of my smaller televisions to HD; maybe have the cable converter my cable co requires me to use built in to the box; have a better sound card in the thing so it doesnt just drive a single speaker. we're completely used to having that level of freedom in personal computers--but, it's never existed in television because television was born as a mass-market product.

this 'future media center' will not be thought of as a computer at all. it will be the 'new tv'. it will have a music server, photo server, DVR, on demand content, home automation, and perhaps rudimentary word processing, email, web & printing functions. but, it will be a tv first...no expectation of upgrading components, firmware, etc (unless it can be done invisibly from a service provider)

now, keep in mind i realize all this already exists. that's the point i'm trying to make. the tech already exists. but, this specific 'future tv' will exist as a mass-market unit, all wrapped up in one neat little package that even jethro from the ozarks can pick up from the wal-marts, plug in, and use before skeeter can even start dry-humping the styro--and all this without having to dig out the 'structions.

#2 the geeks like us will still have a place in the world. we just have to look at what the fringe geeks are doing already, and smush it all into one box that still costs between $500-$1500.

what's sitting on my desk at the moment:

GPS, iPod, iTrip, cellphone, digital camera, miniDV, car keys, powerbook, iSight; technologies: bluetooth, 802.11b/g, GPRS, WAP, CAT5

so, what would it take to integrate all or most of that? well, mainly an interface that suits a full sized computer running on a phone-sized device.

i dunno what that is--OLED displays, 3D spacial input devices, reliable voice recognition, telepathy???? but, if/when IT does manifest itself, it will be a VERY short amount of time before the cellphone is transformed into your personal computer, music player, digital camera, movie camera, video telecon, 'new TV', GPS, personal transmitter, and ohyeah...phone.

i think you're right on on the tech of the componentry though. i see everything going solid state. everything will necessarily (for the miniturization) will have to be on a single chip.

IMO the timeframe on 'newTV' is very short. the tech is here. someone's just got to make it a commodity. the cellphone-come-computer still has some interfacing hurdles to overcome. but, that's well within the 10-20 year window for resolution.

CAlvarez
03-10-2005, 06:20 PM
It's a great time to be working with technology when the size of the wavelength of light and the speed of light are the limiting factors.

Then again, it does seem scary, because so far it's "impossible" to fix either problem.

mclbruce
03-10-2005, 08:52 PM
There's an interesting article on CNet called, "The Future of the Future," pointing out there there have been other periods of history where there was rapid technological change.

http://news.com.com/The+future+of+the+future/2010-7337_3-5587381.html

My 20 years predictions:
- Desktop Computers as we know them will still exist.
- The line between laptop, PDA, cell phone, and music player will be extremely blurry if not gone.
- I think a laptop will be good enough for most computer users, desktop only computers at home may be more rare than today.
- For businesses, tech support will still be an important part of the total cost of ownership of a computer system, but a lesser part than today.
- People will still lose all their data because they didn't back up. :-)

schneb
03-11-2005, 10:22 AM
People will still lose all their data because they didn't back up. :-)We are talking 10 to 20 years. Terabyte drives will be cheap and commonplace. So what would the average computer user need with a TB drive? Here is my additional forcast.

I see an inexpensive, internal terabyte drive being used to save every file change for an entire year (including older files that were supposedly replaced). These files are locked and cannot be modified without logging in (prevents worms or viruses from deleting them) Each unit has dual drives for redundant protection and an alert that a drive has gone out or is going out. Files a year old or more that have newer version will be deleted automatically or logged for manual deletion. You can then access older versions of files much like you would use Photoshop's "History" tab.

Basically, the computer of the future has to bypass and protect folks from their own stupidity. It can be done!

I also see a thumbprint ID Power or Sleep switch. Basically, to start or bring the computer out of sleep, you press the power button that also reads various user's thumb prints for login ID. This will replace putting in passwords (except to bypass thumb ID login)

I see a perfection of the "Projected Keyboard" that will project in full color for various tasks and keyboard layouts, much like this (http://www.alpern.org/weblog/stories/2003/01/09/Projection%20Keyboards_files/image008.jpg).

cudaboy_71
03-11-2005, 10:53 AM
We are talking 10 to 20 years. Terabyte drives will be cheap and commonplace. So what would the average computer user need with a TB drive? Here is my additional forcast.

hrm....who does that sound like????? hrm...

ohya...

640K ought to be enough for anybody.

i get what you're saying...rhetorical question you are about to answer yourself. i, too remember when i bought my first 1GB HDD, and it was a vast wasteland of storage potential....when the largest file anyone had would fit on a floppy anyway.

10 years ago who thought 500mb files would be the norm (i've got a whole drive full of layered photoshop files that would choke a syquest) and noone would blink at a >1gb video clip?

in 20 years we'll be talking about petabytes the way we talk about gigabytes now.....ya, right :cool:

CAlvarez
03-11-2005, 11:06 AM
We have 1.46 terabytes at home right now, with only about 25% unused space.

schneb
03-11-2005, 11:58 AM
I'm talking average user, CAlvarez. ;) OK, in 10-20 years, let's make that a 100TB redundant drive. One 1/4 TB for every day of the year. Now, we are not talking video here, just daily tasks. In 20 years, we will be looking at the first googol drive. Heh heh...

I also see Steve Jobs getting together with all major auto dealers to have a standard Airport Extreme for music audio and latest travel map download/upload and complete auto diagnostics. Have a strange sound? Contact the dealer. You can upload all the diagnostics plus an engine audio feed to hear the problem and interior audio feed to communicate with the technician.

Your computer will daily monitor your car's mileage, fluid levels, and maintenance needs. It can be linked to an On-Star service and communicate with other remote Airport enabled automobiles.

CAlvarez
03-11-2005, 12:25 PM
Your computer will daily monitor your car's mileage, fluid levels, and maintenance needs.
As well as report your speeding and yellow light running so the fines can be deducted from your Paypal account automatically.

Actually the wireless car is here, there's just little penetration so far. A few people I know have built-in Bluetooth in their cars. You can buy stereo systems from major vendors which have Wi-fi built in. Once Wi-fi becomes more ubiquitous, your car won't even have to wait to get home in order to communicate.

FireWired
03-11-2005, 10:56 PM
Where do you see the computer going in 10 to 20 years?

Here's my prediction (read dream) of a top-of-the-line Mac in 10 - 20 years:

7.5 GHz Quad Processor Power/iMac G8
Max of 32GB RAM (of fast speed)
2x 2TB HDD
Mac OS XI 11.5
With holographic keyboard that projects from bottom of monitor (iMac style w/monitor size of about .5 inch)
Built-in HD (iSight-like) camera into the top of the monitor
plus a bunch of other stuff

ok I'm done.

...Now 100 - 200 years from now... Terahertz Speeds! :D

mclbruce
03-12-2005, 01:30 AM
So what would the average computer user need with a TB drive? Here is my additional forcast.

I see a perfection of the "Projected Keyboard" that will project in full color for various tasks and keyboard layouts...People will collect video like they collect music now. How many seasons of "Gilligan's Island" will fit in a Terabyte?

There is a nifty bluetooth virtual keyboard that was out for a while.

http://davesipaq.com/articles/iPAQ_Bluetooth%20Virtual%20Keyboard_iTECH_2P.html

But then there were apparently some legal problems:

http://pocketnow.com/index.php?a=portal_detail&t=news&id=2447

It's an interesting concept, but might make it difficult or messy to eat while using the computer! More seriously If this takes off you'll see specialty items similar to mousepads that are made to be comfortable to tap on and that show the projected light well.

mbrzostowski
03-12-2005, 03:22 PM
This was kind of fun to think about. With all the increases in computer power, the enormous potential of the internet, the wonder of cell phone technology, the promises of miniaturization and the fact that these technologies are coalescing - where will it all lead? Here's my guess.

In 10-20 years you will wear your personal communication center. The CPU will fit on your wrist like a watch or around your neck like jewelry. The view screen will be a pair of eyeglasses that operates in two modes. In travel mode the display, depending upon the application, either takes up a small corner of your field of view, or is transparent like the heads-up display in a fighter jet. In full immersion mode, used for VR and miscellaneous video applications, the screen will become opaque, the display will consume your entire field of vision.

There will be an assortment of input devices to suit each users preference. They will include interchangeable interfaces like virtual keyboard, voice recognition, and data glove.

This communications center will be hooked up to one of any of a number of competing global information and communication suppliers who will feed bundled wireless phone, ISP, GPS and satellite-TV features directly into each personal unit.

In 50 years the unit will be an implant that directly interfaces with your brain. The visual display will be projected directly onto you optic nerve, the audio will feed directly into your auditory nerve and the system will be able to capture, interpret and interrupt your brains impulses to your muscles to allow for more life like VR applications. Once inside the body, a whole host of automatic diagnostic applications open up - the system can take your temperature, blood pressure, and do a series of blood tests that feed directly to the nearest medical diagnostic and EMS center.

Now, the question is, "Is this really a good thing?"

schneb
03-12-2005, 04:38 PM
And how many times did you watch Minority Report? ;)

mbrzostowski
03-12-2005, 04:46 PM
I've never seen Minority Report, but I hear it's a great movie. I guess my none of my predictions are particularly original :eek:

Oh, well, it was still fun to think about.

lgrw3919
03-12-2005, 08:26 PM
i think you guys are underestimating the future. I'll bust out some algebra II wording:

you guys are basing the 10-20 year future on a slope of y=x
i think processor speeds and new technologies will increase in power on a line more like y=x^2 or y=x^3.

companies will be rolling out the 10-cored processors in no time... :D

schneb
03-13-2005, 12:03 AM
I've never seen Minority Report, but I hear it's a great movie. I guess my none of my predictions are particularly originalCheck out the movie, you will see 90% of what you mentioned.

schneb
03-13-2005, 12:04 AM
i think you guys are underestimating the future. I'll bust out some algebra II wordingNot really, it is also dependant on market. You cannot create something without a market to help pay for all the R&D. This will effect your equation. Now if the government did it for the military, then yes, your logrithmic rise would be accurate.

macmath
03-13-2005, 07:52 AM
Now if the government did it for the military, then yes, your logrithmic rise would be accurate.

I feel the pressure to live up to my name. Instead, I'll come off as a nerd. :)

Logarithmic growth is slower than the growth by any degree of power function, y=x^r, (with r>0).
alle.png

Craig R. Arko
03-13-2005, 08:13 AM
I feel the pressure to live up to my name. Instead, I'll come off as a nerd. :)



Works for me. :D


PS - in 10-20 years my hair will have even more gray in it. That's about as far out on a limb as I'll go for that kind of timeframe. ;)

mobilebuddha
03-13-2005, 09:04 AM
in 10-20 years, the user interface of computing will change dramatically.

a common example of what computers can be would be the public highways, you use them every day, but you never really notice them being there or know how exacly the road support your vehicle. when computers/computing reaches this level, then we will have truly entered a new era of computing

at this point in time, computers are arcane and complex to majority of the people (hell.. i can't figure out how to add a damn pdf printer on a mac, even though it's automatic in windows once you install adobe acrobat 6 pro), i'd say in 10-20 years, problems like these will go away. common terms such as "folders", "dlls (in windows)" will become extinct because it's the computer's job to be secure, operational, organized; it's our job to be productive w/ the computing tools that we have at hand.

MBHockey
03-13-2005, 10:32 AM
- People will still lose all their data because they didn't back up. :-)

hahah good one! :p

mrchaotica
03-13-2005, 06:48 PM
...maybe have the cable converter my cable co requires me to use built in to the box...no expectation of upgrading components, firmware, etc (unless it can be done invisibly from a service provider)I see an inexpensive, internal terabyte drive being used to save every file change for an entire year (including older files that were supposedly replaced). These files are locked and cannot be modified without logging in (prevents worms or viruses from deleting them)
Your computer will daily monitor your car's mileage, fluid levels, and maintenance needs.As well as report your speeding and yellow light running so the fines can be deducted from your Paypal account automatically.In 10-20 years, computing technology will be the least of our issues. The important thing will be the legal and social implications of those technologies. Will we really be allowed to "upgrade" our computer, when that means disabling the "Trusted[sic] Computing" (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/can-you-trust.html) chip in it? Will we be allowed to delete our old files, when that means the FBI can't subpoena them later? Will it be illegal to disable the car monitoring computer (even if your reasons are legitimate) because it would also disable the traffic rule enforcement? Will we have control over our personal information at all? Will we have privacy? Will the idea of free exchange of information still exist? Will the future be like Star Trek, or will it be like this (http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html)?

I predict in 10-20 years, one of the following two things will happen:

Computers will become completely commoditized and work like cudaboy_71 said. You will not control your computer at all -- no loading software yourself, no programming in anything other than something like Applescript, no deleting of sensitive information (yours or the service provider's), and no messing with the hardware. You'll pay a subscription fee to use it, like you do with your cable box. On top of that, you'll pay a fee to load extra programs or media on it, like with cellphone ringtones or iTMS music (or maybe like pay-per-view, who knows). All "legitimate" media will be controlled by the conglomerates, like the RIAA, MPAA, etc.

-or-

The combination of Free Software, P2P copyright infringment, and public use of encryption will force a major shift in copyright and patent law, and result in the collapse of the commercial software industry, and a major shift in the media industry. All content will be free (because with Free Software there's no way to prevent copying), so business models will be based on alternative sources of revenue (advertising (e.g. network TV, radio), services/techsupport (e.g. IBM), hardware (e.g. Apple), donations, patronage (pay for implementation of features you want), live performances for music, etc.).

ArcticStones
03-14-2005, 01:56 AM
This was kind of fun to think about..

In 50 years the unit will be an implant that directly interfaces with your brain. The visual display will be projected directly onto you optic nerve, the audio will feed directly into your auditory nerve and the system will be able to capture, interpret and interrupt your brains impulses to your muscles to allow for more life like VR applications. Once inside the body, a whole host of automatic diagnostic applications open up - the system can take your temperature, blood pressure, and do a series of blood tests that feed directly to the nearest medical diagnostic and EMS center.

Now, the question is, "Is this really a good thing?"


Hmm... Fascinating thought.
My question is: What would a contemporary virus look like. :eek:

macmath
03-14-2005, 09:41 AM
This is only semirelevant to the thread in that it has to do with technology and 10-20 years.

I love computers and many times wish that I had gone into an area which would have me working with computers daily (software engineer, system administrator, etc), but I recognize that the communications aspect of them (email, messaging, etc) is an intrusion on my daily life. I don't do iChat and the like, but I have to spend a lot of time reading and answering email (spam aside). Cellular phones are the same intrusion (although I've avoided that too), and a walk across campus reveals 1/3 of the students talking on the cell phone while walking.

Clearly, this will only get worse. Over time, we will become Borg, except with nicer interfaces (unless Apple founders and Microsoft takes over completely). Resistance is futile.

Please, convince me that I'm wrong before I convert to being Amish. :)

AHunter3
03-14-2005, 11:09 AM
::boots up 15-year old Mac IIfx with System 6.0.8, takes notes, does some extrapolations::

Loosely speaking, we'll be running 800 Ghz processors with 20 gigs of 700-femtosecond RAM and booting MacOS Fourteen off of our 2-petabyte 26,000 RPM drives, and watching the action on our 3200 x 2400 26-inch displays which will be two microns thick.

Typical uptime will be measured in decades. Which will be a very good thing because it will take an hour and a half to boot :p

mclbruce
03-14-2005, 02:32 PM
a common example of what computers can be would be the public highways, you use them every day, but you never really notice them being there or know how exacly the road support your vehicle. when computers/computing reaches this level, then we will have truly entered a new era of computingI agree. I would extend the analogy to cars a well as highways. I heard a quote a few years back saying, "Computers now are where cars were in the 1920s."

Cars have become much simpler to maintain since the 1920s. Computers still have a long way to go, they require way too much tinkering. Computer manufacturers would stand to benefit from improvements in this area due to lower tech support costs. On the other hand, they stand to lose if people are able to keep their computers longer.

schneb
03-14-2005, 03:53 PM
Please, convince me that I'm wrong before I convert to being Amish. :)Personally, I despise the way people use cell phones. However, the frequent use has made it a cash-cow, so now technology thrives. So there is good and bad.

The problem with human nature is when we come up with a great new technology, there is always the base-human that use it to either rip off others or peak under skirts. To limit the intrusion or sticking to pure analog living is a mark of discipline. We have a cell phone, but use it for emergencies and the "where you, I'm on the corner" kind of calls. We have computers, but limit our addresses to friends and family--deleting anything not in our addressbooks.

To get back to the subject, part of the 10-20 year prediction may see society bored with technology and seek the nostolgic hippie lifestyle of the 60s. There might be an all out rebellion against anything computerized, yet there will be no escaping it. If previous posts are correct, we will see the computer become more utilitarian, not even noticing that it is there.

mobilebuddha
03-14-2005, 06:04 PM
I agree. I would extend the analogy to cars a well as highways. I heard a quote a few years back saying, "Computers now are where cars were in the 1920s."

Cars have become much simpler to maintain since the 1920s. Computers still have a long way to go, they require way too much tinkering. Computer manufacturers would stand to benefit from improvements in this area due to lower tech support costs. On the other hand, they stand to lose if people are able to keep their computers longer.

good point, i'd say the computer hardware is like the highways and the operating system/applications are like the cars that we drive on the highways. both aspects of computing must be elevated to the point where we no longer have to be computer professionals to master their powers. they should be able to repair, maintain and upgrade themselves.

imagine a world where you do not have to spend an hr looking for an email that you sent 6 yrs ago (across multitudes of your archived email files, each with its own format cuz they were created using different mail programs).

imagine a world where we don't have to reboot 10 times everytime we install a copy of windows xp. :) (or imagine a world where we don't have to install OS at all!)

cwtnospam
03-14-2005, 06:52 PM
Cars have become much simpler to maintain since the 1920s. Computers still have a long way to go, they require way too much tinkering.

That's funny, because many Windows switchers claim to like OS X because it's got a command line, which is almost exclusively for tinkering.

My feeling is that computers need to grow arms and legs. Business, entertainment, and comunications apps abound. Incremental improvements in these areas won't be enought to sustain growth. Robotics is the only area left that is relatively untapped. It's also the one area that can easily use the super fast processors coming.

mobilebuddha
03-14-2005, 07:54 PM
there will always be tinkers, i think mac os x is a step in the right direction: on one hand, my gf can use the system and not have to worry too much about things like virus protection, IM security, worms and OS security updates (take it from me.. don't even try to educate a computer iliterate on the importance of checking for os updates), on the other hand, os x allows someone like me to do vi and regexp to my hearts content if i so desire.

however, there are still many aspects of current-day operating systems that i feel are inadequate:

1) folders: why on earth would someone want to have folders, i spent 2grand on a compuer so i can get my job done, i didn't spend 2 grand so i can stop organizing my vanilla folders and start organizing my electronic vanilla folders. the computer should know exactly where to store my files and index my files.

2) file names: same concept here, the computer should pick a name based on what i wrote, whom i wrote a document to, where i wrote it at, the mood that i was in when i wrote it. the computer should also know how to recall that file when i say "i need that email that i wrote to julia when i was drunk off my ass last thursday night", after all, it's a tool, not a god that i pray to everytime i want to find something.

3) software: the computer should know what i need, if i want to make a visio diagram, it should know to download the software necessary. if i got a file that i wan to open via email, it should know to scan for virus, download the necessary software, instead of giving me a "duh, i have no idea wtf is going on, please help me" sign and ask me to provide a clue to it and tell it what program to use to open a particula kind of software.

4) os updates/security: again, the computer should know exactly what to do here. my day job is a usability specialist/project manager, not a microsoft certified security professional. the computer should know when and what to download and do automatic installs. it should also not open up a dialog box and say "hey, i need to stop whatever you are doing and reboot cuz i just installed IE_update_20050201", all this stuff should happen automatically, and should happen w/o interfering with the user. both windows and os x have made big strides here, but we still have a long road to go.

above are just some of the examples of the problems that i see today. granted, it will probably take us 10-20 years to fix all of that, but when we do get there, our productivity will increase tremendously because by then, computers will have become truly ubiquitous, because everyone will be productive w/ a computer.

anyways, this is my pipe dream. :)


That's funny, because many Windows switchers claim to like OS X because it's got a command line, which is almost exclusively for tinkering.

My feeling is that computers need to grow arms and legs. Business, entertainment, and comunications apps abound. Incremental improvements in these areas won't be enought to sustain growth. Robotics is the only area left that is relatively untapped. It's also the one area that can easily use the super fast processors coming.

AHunter3
03-14-2005, 10:42 PM
mobilebuddha: imagine a world where you do not have to spend an hr looking for an email that you sent 6 yrs ago (across multitudes of your archived email files, each with its own format cuz they were created using different mail programs).

Got it already. Every email I've ever sent (minus a lost-email period around 1993-4) is in Eudora and I can find anything I've ever sent or received in secionds.

Admittedly, getting those ancient America Online emails out of AOL and into Eudora was no picnic; the vintage 1991 IN_MAIL and OUT_MAIL files from the IBM 3090 mainframe were interesting, too. (Thank God for QuicKeys and FileMaker). The Netscape email, meanwhile, was a snap, just dropped them into the Eudie Mail folder and there they were. (Thank Got for standard formats).

macmath
03-14-2005, 11:11 PM
there will always be tinkers, i think mac os x is a step in the right direction: on one hand, my gf can use the system and not have to worry too much about things like virus protection, IM security, worms and OS security updates (take it from me.. don't even try to educate a computer iliterate on the importance of checking for os updates), on the other hand, os x allows someone like me to do vi and regexp to my hearts content if i so desire.

however, there are still many aspects of current-day operating systems that i feel are inadequate:

1) folders: why on earth would someone want to have folders,...
2) file names: same concept here, the computer should pick a name based on what i wrote, ...

3) software: the computer should know what i need,....

4) os updates/security: again, the computer should know exactly what to do here.....


I agree with the earlier portion and #1, but 2, 3, and 4 sound like Microsoft-ware...trying to second-guess what I want. Word trying to tell me what it thinks the grammar should have been, the XP telling me with bubbles the there is new hardware somewhere, a software update available, that there is no wireless signal available, etc.

mclbruce
03-14-2005, 11:35 PM
I like surprises. I hope there will be one or two big surprises in the next 20 years. Maybe a surprise will happen in robotics, that's certainly a possibility.

The WorldWide Web caught a lot of people and a lot of companies in the computer industry by surprise. The rapid growth of the web was just amazing to watch.

Cell phones were not as big of a surprise but the rapid adoption surprised me. They have their problems but are a very reasonably priced way to get on the Internet for those that can't afford a computer. It has been said that the majority of the world's people will first experience the Internet on a mobile phone.

It will be interesting to see what the future brings for the many people in the world who do not use computers yet. Anybody have predictions in that area?

I tip my cap to schneb for starting this thread!

mobilebuddha
03-15-2005, 02:09 AM
I agree with the earlier portion and #1, but 2, 3, and 4 sound like Microsoft-ware...trying to second-guess what I want. Word trying to tell me what it thinks the grammar should have been, the XP telling me with bubbles the there is new hardware somewhere, a software update available, that there is no wireless signal available, etc.

Even though MS did not have a good implementation of the ideas, doesn't mean that those ideas are bad. It is my belief that a truly usable computing platform should allow you to focus on what you intend to accomplish w/ the system (the end goal) instead of worrying about how to get there.

cwtnospam
03-15-2005, 07:14 AM
Even though MS did not have a good implementation of the ideas, doesn't mean that those ideas are bad. It is my belief that a truly usable computing platform should allow you to focus on what you intend to accomplish w/ the system (the end goal) instead of worrying about how to get there.
It doesn't necessarily mean they're bad, but in this case they are. Since it's not possible for another intelligent person to know what you want without you telling them, there's no reason to expect that any computer, however advanced, should be able to figure it out. The computer can only provide the tools to get a job done. It's up to you to choose the right ones.

AHunter3
03-15-2005, 09:41 AM
mobilebuddha:
1) folders: why on earth would someone want to have folders, i spent 2grand on a compuer so i can get my job done, i didn't spend 2 grand so i can stop organizing my vanilla folders and start organizing my electronic vanilla folders. the computer should know exactly where to store my files and index my files.

2) file names: same concept here, the computer should pick a name based on what i wrote, whom i wrote a document to, where i wrote it at, the mood that i was in when i wrote it. the computer should also know how to recall that file when i say "i need that email that i wrote to julia when i was drunk off my ass last thursday night", after all, it's a tool, not a god that i pray to everytime i want to find something.

3) software: the computer should know what i need, if i want to make a visio diagram, it should know to download the software necessary. if i got a file that i wan to open via email, it should know to scan for virus, download the necessary software, instead of giving me a "duh, i have no idea wtf is going on, please help me" sign and ask me to provide a clue to it and tell it what program to use to open a particula kind of software.

4) os updates/security: again, the computer should know exactly what to do here. my day job is a usability specialist/project manager, not a microsoft certified security professional. the computer should know when and what to download and do automatic installs. it should also not open up a dialog box and say "hey, i need to stop whatever you are doing and reboot cuz i just installed IE_update_20050201", all this stuff should happen automatically, and should happen w/o interfering with the user. both windows and os x have made big strides here, but we still have a long road to go.

How'd I miss this post?

I don't want any of this. If Apple rolls such changes out, I'm downloading hacks to disable this (or re-enable what it takes away).

a) I love folders. I'd enjoy seeing some improved navigation features (translation: I still want PopupFolder behavior in the Finder, dammit!), and both files and folders need some "fields" (columns?) akin to labels and comments but not hardwired to finite existing values or requiring arcane maneuvers to enter, edit, or reference the info. But I want to put my files where I want to put them, organize them as I wish to organize them.

b) I sure as hell don't want my OS naming my files for me. 'Nuff said?

c) No software gets installed without my permission; I don't want the OS to decide what app gets to open what kind of file, either — an ability to figure out what apps can open a given file, sure, but kindly let me map the file types and suffixes to the apps of my choosing. If I want Acrobat Reader and Audion instead of Preview and iTunes, that's my business, and it's my computer.

d) If OS updates and security updates and etc. can install and activate themselves without requiring a reboot, that's cool, but I'm the one who gets to say "Yeah, I'm okaying the installation of that one, having read that it doesn't have any major problems with my model and configuration of Mac other than incompatibility with older versions of QuicKeys which I've just updated to a compatible version".

schneb
03-15-2005, 02:00 PM
I don't want any of this. If Apple rolls such changes out, I'm downloading hacks to disable thisHunter, always the purist for GUI. ;)
I think the next OS will have a combination of both. You can either choose to, or not use it. The problem with folders is the constant drilling and organizing. If you look at what Spotlight is all about, imagine every file you have sitting in your hard drive-sans folders (including System files). You do a search or have a Finder window that is based on metadata. It would take alot of work and time in R&D and usability, but it is possible. Tiger may even allow a small look at this. Place all your personal files in one folder and do all of your retreival via Spotlight. This may be the direction Apple is taking. To this end, I still do not see the folder structure going anywhere. There still needs to be a directory system in place.

schneb
03-15-2005, 02:23 PM
I hope there will be one or two big surprises in the next 20 years. Maybe a surprise will happen in robotics, that's certainly a possibility.The reason why robotics have not "taken hold" is cost of ownership. Why buy a Roomba Discovery for $250 when you can do a better job yourself? If you are disabled and live alone, perhaps it would be nice, but still, there are drawbacks. I honestly cannot think of a single robotic device for the home that would really be worth the price.
What would really be surprise in the 10-20 year span would be virtual access. Let me give you an example.

You wake up in the morning with a severe pain in your side. You go to your home Macintosh and login to an online family practice. You pay your co-pay via PayPal.
Immediately you are put on a waiting list that you can see-- You are patient 5 in a list of 8. A loud beep can alert that you are at number 2, then number 1.
Before the doctor sees you, and while you are waiting, it asks for some vitals. You put a USB enabled stethescope over the places it directs you and sample the audio. You place a USB enabled bloodpressure band on and the computer automatically takes its measurements. You enter your current weight manually or via a USB scale. Other vitals can be done the same way.

The doctor will see you now and up pops a live video-feed. He looks at your vitals, works on his diagnostic-based computer program which confirms that there is a possibility of appendicitis. An appointment is made to go in to your local hospital for some lab tests and possible surgery.

The computer of tomorrow has to make strides like this to really get that "surprise" factor you hope to acheive.

Thanks to mclbruce for the kudos!

CAlvarez
03-15-2005, 02:31 PM
The Roomba is a fantastic invention. I'd buy it again at twice the price. I push a button, leave the house, and when I come home the room is reasonably clean. The difference between the job it does and the "real" vacuum is not detectable by just looking. I'm sure there's a difference, but I don't see it. Meanwhile with two big dogs in the house, I can either live with crap on the floors, vacuum manually every other day, or just let the Roomba work for me.

Same with the automated coffee machine we got recently. We make sure it has fresh-roasted coffee beans and water in it. When we want coffee, we press a button, and have a fresh espresso or large coffee in 30 seconds. It dumps out the used grounds and rinses itself automatically.

The X10 home control system...why would anyone live without such simple, inexpensive automation...?

Some of us are ready for the next level of robotics; something to dust, do the dishes, etc. My housekeeper may not like it, but I will.

cwtnospam
03-15-2005, 03:43 PM
The reason why robotics have not "taken hold" is cost of ownership. Why buy a Roomba Discovery for $250 when you can do a better job yourself?
As with computers, increased popularity will lead to lower cost of ownership (Ok, Windows systems excluded) and better performance. I'm thinking that in 20 years, the Roomba & contemporaries won't be recognized by most as the beginning of the Robot Revolution. After all, people today don't recognize all the systems that were out before the IBM PC.
Either way, robots are coming because people will pay almost any price to avoid physical labor. Once there's a truly useful multipurpose robot, they'll buy it.

schneb
03-15-2005, 04:28 PM
I do not consider the coffee machine or the X-10 products robotics, that is automation, and that is different. The Roomba is a thinking and adapting processor tied to a specific function. That indeed is a good use of robotic technology, and I did not mean to sound like I thought it was not a good product--it is. My point is from a marketing POV. It is still a gadget--a fairly expensive one. A better robotic vacuum would be one that is half Dyson, half Roomba with the docking station that not only charges, but empties the canaster via a stationary vac to a can outside. It can be a tall unit with a robotic arm that sweeps out to get underneath tables and chairs. It needs to be able to climb and clean stairs as well. Tall order, I know, but hey, we still have time.

If Honda perfects ASIMO to the point that it starts walking and talking like C3PO and costs the same as today's G5, then we are getting that "surprise" factor. I would love to call ASIMO and ask him to check the stove and make sure it is off or call me if it sees anything different in the house that I should know about.

voldenuit
07-22-2005, 08:47 PM
Wow, what an interesting thread, lots of inspiring ideas tossed around, don't know how I managed to miss it...

The thoughts expressed by mrchaotica (Post #23, social evolution around technology) seem pretty important to me.

While it remains interesting to speculate how processors will evolve once Moore's law hits the wall of physics (as in "there need to be quite some atoms to make a transistor"), I think we are living a very crucial period of time right now.

The dangers pointed out by mrchaotica clearly exist, but I will adopt an optimistic point of view:

Blogging and associated technologies will enable a lot of people to take part in a real public debate that will reduce the latitude of governments to flat out lie to "the population" and use media influence to get away with it. I am prepared to give examples, but will refrain from doing so unless challenged for the benefit of a non-partisan thread.
Given the ease of use, the few patent kooks already out there to amuse us will be completely diluted in a massive quantity of poeple who care about whatever they choose to blog about and are able to communicate their knowledge to lots of others.
The chinese government is completely right when they fear their regime's days would be numbered if their population was free to inform themselves, let alone blog.
Desktop publishing, cheap books on demand some time ago and real easy online publishing now have about the same liberating potential as did the inventition of the Gutenberg press some 500 years back.

Hopefully, this "distributed common sense" will be able to counterbalance lobby-efforts from industries challenged by the fast evolution of technology such as the content industry with their complete lack of vision. Part of the music- and film-industry as we know it today might survive, but the market will finally favor content in usable formats, unencumbered by DRM.
For a well done, yet entertaining roundup on DRM and how it doesn't fly, see Cory Doctorows http://craphound.com/msftdrm.txt .
creativecommons.org will be a significant alternative to classic copyright much like the GNU public license for software that has already been with us quite a while.

Software patents, the digital equivalent of patenting bricks and mortar while still expecting to have a roaring building industry, will not make it in Europe and elsewhere and the US might very well sue themselves out of a now existing leading position simply because a good idea, when pushed way beyond reasonable limits will no longer do what it initially intended: encourage inventions.
Instead, it will exclude smaller corporations without a patent portfolio to cross-license from significant R&D, becaus they can't afford to license all the trivial patents on tabbed menus and whatnotelse.

cwtnospam
07-23-2005, 09:43 AM
Blogging and associated technologies will enable a lot of people to take part in a real public debate that will reduce the latitude of governments to flat out lie to "the population" and use media influence to get away with it.

I'd like to think you're right, but I think the so-called convergence of computers and television is being heavily weighted towards mind-numbing television. Pop-up menus, spam, and even spyware are slowly, if grudgingly, becoming accepted facts of life. I'm afraid that most people will think of their computers more as tvs that can add instead of computers that can entertain.

In Isaac Asimov's robot novels, the robots do so much for humans that eventually, people end up as bed ridden blobs who wouldn't dream of physical exertion. The parallels to today's obesity epidemic are hard to miss, and I'm afraid that over the next twenty years technology will exacerbate the problem far beyond its present girth.

A population that's addicted to entertainment and abhorrent of action is easily manipulated by government, and just as likely, by multi-national corporations that consider themselves beyond the reach of local governments.

:(

ArcticStones
07-23-2005, 10:13 AM
I love computers …but I recognize that the communications aspect of them (email, messaging, etc) is an intrusion on my daily life. I don't do iChat and the like, but I have to spend a lot of time reading and answering email (spam aside). Cellular phones are the same intrusion…

Clearly, this will only get worse. Over time, we will become Borg, except with nicer interfaces…

Do you know what is true status here in Norway**? To not have a cell phone! To be so important that you can afford to be inaccessible. And given that, you have time to think and be creative in accordance with your own rhythm.

In an over-digital world, we’re doomed to miss the essence of life and the essence of our own humanity -- which is non-digital.

There is a lot to be said for an "unplugged" life. There is also a lot to be said for using technology appropriately and sparingly. The way it is now, I venture to say that for most of us, computers and digital technology have become our "personal arms race".


With best regards,
ArcticStones.


** Of course Norway is a country where you would be really hard pressed to find a place where 50 people reside without GSM coverage -- a far cry from dismal coverage in, say, California, where Cingular is "raising the bar".

irene7999
09-28-2011, 10:05 PM
Heh, yea I work at Brookstone, the leading seller of 'i' prefixed products. Nearly every product in the store begins with 'i' and has a sister product prefixed with 'u'. It's really becoming unoriginal. We haven't sold one of those robot vacuum cleaners (http://www.espow.com/wholesale-health-lifestyle-living-goods-robot-vaccum-cleaners.html) in months.
Anywho, back to the game. The robot models look too detailed in comparison to the environment texture. Makes for an ugly combination imo.
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