The Future of Computing

April 18 2008 / by juldrich
Category: Business & Work   Year: 2020   Rating: 5 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from

The future of computing has many different aspects and it is not my intention with this post to provide a detailed explanation of each. Rather, I merely want to share with readers who are interested in the future of computing some interesting and provocative resources.

For those looking for a broad-based overview of how computers will change our lives, I highly recommend this detailed report by Microsoft Research entitled “Being Human: Human-Computer Interaction in the Year 2020.” The second chapter, in particular, is very insightful and documents five major transformations: 1) The End of Interface Stability; 2) The Growth of Techno-Dependancy; 3) The Growth of Hyper-Connectivity; 4) The End of Ephemeral; and 5) the Growth of Creative Engagement.

For readers seeking a slightly more technical understanding of where computers are headed, I’d recommend this press release by Gartner, Inc. It covers a number of “grand challenges” which will dramatically alter how future computers operate and are used.

Succinctly, the major changes are:

1. Never having to manually recharge devices.
2. Parallel Programming.
3. Non-tactile, Natural Computing Interfaces. (This corresponds with the Microsoft report.)
4. Automated Speech Translation
5. Persistent and Reliable Long-Term Storage; and
6. Increasing Programmer Productivity 100-fold.


As a way of thinking about how computers might change our lives in the near future, I leave you with these two article. The first explains how Linden Lab (the creators of SecondLife) is developing a hands-free interface for its virtual reality site. (Among others things this will allow you easily manipulate avatars.) The second article shows European researchers have demonstrated how users can “walk through” a virtual environment.

I close with these articles because, from my perspective, highly functional virtual reality technology has the ability to transform how we shop, go to meetings, interact with our friends; are educated; play video games and sports; and even how we receive medical assistance.

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