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A Layperson's View of Future Technology and Society

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What Will Computers Look Like in 30 Years?

my first computer. A Data General Nova

64 is the New 16

The picture above is the front panel from my very first computer, a 1982, Data General Nova 1200. It was the cat's pajamas because it allowed me to enter two characters (16 bits) at a time, instead of eight bits (a byte). I was pleased as punchcards to enter my twelve-letter name in under a minute in binary code. Today, I talk into my 64 bit smart phone, and as quick as my kids, it talks back.

My point, (before I forget it), is that I went from toggle switches to voice recognition in just 30 years. From DOS to Windows. From the first Mac to the latest iPhone. From Pong to Angry Birds. What advancements will I, (yes, I mean me), see in the next 30 years? What changes in computers will you see in your lifetime? It's truly mind boggling.

Here is what I think future computers will be like.

Moore's Law

Before posting an article about the future of computers, any blogger worth their weight in silicon will research Moore's Law, the law named after Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore.

As I understand it, Moore's Law, (more of an observation turned prediction that has more or less held up), can be described as shown by this Intel press kit infographic:

Moore's Law

The problem I have with Moore's law is that I cannot relate it to anything. I couldn't tell you how many transistors are in this computer I am using now or what Mr. Moore paid for them. It does not compute in my brain.

So, just like my flash memory hero Gordon, I present this new law to you with the hope that it is well adopted by the general public and I am generously awarded Intel stock.

John's Law

From Boyle to Newton, the best laws are self-explanatory, come with a catchy phrase and a cool drawing. There is probably some research that goes along with it, but I imagine that can be exhausting.

Every two years I have to buy a new computer and it costs me about the same.

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Computers of Tomorrow

Today's computers operate using semiconductors, metals and electricity. Future computers might use atoms, dna or light. Moore's Law predicts doubling, but when computers go from quartz to quantum, the factor will be off the scale.

What would the world be like, if computers the size of molecules become a reality? These are the types of computers that could be everywhere, but never seen. Nano sized bio-computers that could target specific areas inside your body. Giant networks of computers, in your clothing, your house, your car. Entrenched in almost every aspect of our lives and yet you may never give them a single thought.

What will computers look like in 30 years? Trick question. You won't see them at all.

Ubiquitous computers are in the works.

Grasping the Technologies

Understanding the theories behind these future computer technologies is not for the meek. My research into quantum computers was made all the more difficult after I learned that in light of her constant interference, it is theoretically possible my mother-in-law could be in two places at once.

If you have the heart, take a gander at the most promising new computer technologies. If not, dare to imagine the ways that billions of tiny, powerful computers will change our society.

Quantum Computers

Optical Computers

DNA Computers


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The Personal Computer Assistant

pc assistant

I must admit that in some ways I envy Donald Trump. Not because of all the real estate he owns or even for his cool private helicopter. No, what I envy most about The Donald is his apprentice. Who wouldn't appreciate giving any chore that comes to mind, to an eager and competent assistant? After time, a good apprentice might even anticipate your needs. "Pink tie today, Mr. Trump?". Now apply this same kind of relationship model to the future of computing.

In the future, the number of tiny but powerful computers you encounter every day will number in the thousands, perhaps millions. You won't see them, but they will be all around you. Your personal interface to this powerful network of computers could come from a single computing device that is worn on or in the body.

Aside from providing one 24/7 interface to the myriad of computers and sensors that you will have access to, like a good apprentice, this computing device would come to know your personal preferences and sometimes make decisions on your behalf.

Computer Articles, Blogs and Web Sites

All Links open in a new window. Bold = Recommended

Future Computer Articles
Title Source Date
One-atom-thin silicene transistors may lead to dramatically faster computer chips Gizmag 02/25
Linux Pocket Computer CompuLab 01/15
The Big Future for Tiny machines Fast Company 01/15
Intel's Curie is the future of tiny wearable computers The Next Web 01/15
A Future for PCs? Acer's Chen Is Betting Company On It Bloomberg 01/15
Ultra-fast 'phase-change materials' could lead to 1,000-times-faster computers KurzweilAi.net 09/14
Intel, with Skylake, looks to new day of cable-free computing Phys.Org 06/14
Brain-inspired synaptic transistor learns while it computes Phys.Org 11/13
IBM unveils computer fed by 'electronic blood' BBC News 10/13
Stanford scientists build first carbon nanotube computer Gizmag 09/13
Researcher finds Moore's Law and Wright's Law best predict how tech improves Phys.Org 03/13
Blue Waters NSF 03/13
Cray unveils Cray XC30 supercomputer, capable of scaling to 100 petaflop KurzweilAi.net 11/12
3 Computer Simulations that Changed The World (And 2 That Are on the Verge) io9 07/12
Moore's Law Lives Another Day Technology Review 04/12
The future of computing power – from DNA hard drives to quantum chips The Guardian 03/12
Predicting the Future of Computing The New York Times 12/11
Supercomputer to Propel Sciences Forward IBM 11/11
Next-Generation High-Performance Computing Platforms Intel 11/11
Moore's Law safe into future as 3D 'Ivy Bridge' arrives Silicon Republic 05/11
IBM's "Watson" Computing System to Challenge Jeopardy! Champions IBM 12/10
Supercomputers 'will fit in a sugar cube', IBM says BBC News 11/10
Preparing for the supercomputer war KurzweilAI.net 11/10
Chinese supercomputer is world's fastest at 2.5 petaflops KurzweilAI.net 10/10
Intel Wants to Be Inside Everything Business Week 09/10
The Future of Computing Power (Fast, Cheap, and Invisible) Big Think 07/10
'Smart dust' aims to monitor everything CNN 05/10
Quantum leap: World's smallest transistor built with just 7 atoms Phys.Org 05/10
The $75 Future Computer Forbes 12/09
Gates hails age of digital senses BBC News 01/08
IBM's Roadrunner set to smash supercomputing marks CNET 11/07
Nanoscale computer memory retrieves data 1,000 times faster Phys.Org 09/07
Holographics set to feed a market hungry for data backup The Guardian 05/07
The super-fast future of computing BBC News 06/04


Future Computer Web Sites and Blogs
Title Description
15 Cool & Crazy Concept Computers WebUrbanist
2020 – Future of Computing Nature
Computer Online Exhibits Computer History Museum
How Moore's Law Works How Stuff Works
Non-Techie Talk Good blog on trending computers, devices and software
Shape of Computers in the Future Blog with cool future computer images
The Future of Computers WhipTech


Future Computer Video and Audio
Title Sources
CES 2009: Microsoft Future Products Demo Youtube
Future World - Smart Dust Micro Computers Youtube
Microsoft's Vision For 2019 Youtube
The Future of Computers Edinburgh University


Article Sources
Computers of Tomorrow Article by ffa
The Personal Computer Assistant Article and image by ffa
What Will Computers Look Like in 30 Years? Article by ffa
Image 1 from intel
Image 2 credits:


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Many of the articles found on this web site are from a blogger that couldn't tell you the difference between hydrochloric and high colonic. I try my very best to provide you with useful, accurate information, but I don't always get it right. Please read my full disclaimer before quoting me at work, school or world conferences.