Will Technology Change How We Live? It Already Has!

Future computers will transform our world. From the brief history of computers, we should be able to get a glimpse into the future.

The digital technology is changing more rapidly than anything else in our lives. We have been amazed in the past, and we should be prepared for even greater surprises with future computers.

The future of computers is both fascinating and astonishing. I will be discussing some of the predictions and the "beliefs" as well as technology that is already in the developmental stages.

In the past, we learned multiplication tables. Soon, those will be part of our history as there is little time for that which can be done quicker and more accurately by a calculator. It is the same with computers.

Computers have already transformed our world in the past 50 years. Future computers will continue to be in every part of our lives.

The PC and laptop landscape has changed so rapidly in the past that new computers are soon outdated. The processing power, for example, doubles every couple of years. That will continue and is likely to exceed those expectations.

Computer History: Very Briefly!

The first computers were filled with vacuum tubes and wires. They filled an entire building and created a great deal of heat.

In 1963, computers were the size of refrigerators and weighed hundreds of pounds. They were very, very slow (by today's standards) and cost so much that only governments and large businesses could afford them.

Today, computers are so inexpensive that they are found in almost every American home.

The computer that guided the Apollo astronauts was no more powerful than a pocket calculator. And much less powerful than a cell phone. Yet, it supplied the precision necessary to select the exact path required to return those men to earth.

As time went on the processing power continued to increase and the size continued to decrease. Eventually the laptop was born. Experts believe that the technology that supplies us with computers is still in the early stages.

What's Next?

The following concepts are already in the developmental stages.

It is likely that in the near future computers will be more interactive. You will be able to give your computer verbal instructions. Speech recognition will also replace typing. In fact, it has improved significantly in recent years.

Gesture controls, particularly in the gaming industry will be revolutionary. The computer will recognize hand or finger movements. You may be able to make game choices by waving your hands or moving your eyes.

With future computers you may only need to look at an "app" to open it. Moving your eyes up or down will scroll.

Will you be able to access a computer by writing something on the screen with your finger? Will it recognize your handwriting? Probably, as everyone's handwriting is slightly different. How about communicating with your computer via pure thought? Maybe.

Can we wear a computer? "Google Glass", which is a "computer-enabled eyewear" is being developed. Apple Inc. is working on a computer "wristwatch".

Innovative Uses for Future Computers!

  • Misplaced your keys. Ask your computer to find them. (It will recognize a fob on the key chain)
  • Lost Alzheimers' patient. (ID wristband located by GPS)
  • Survivors or deceased in an earthquake or other disaster. (ID wristband)
  • Work at home. Communicate via a network. (More of this in the future)
  • Learn at home. (no commuting; work at your own pace; interact with instructors and other students)
  • Record events in 3D with the use of dual lens depth of field technology.
  • End the need for passwords. Your computer will read your "brain wave patterns".

I Don't Believe It - Until I See It!

The following is what many computer experts believe:

  • In less than 40 years, we will live in a world of thought-controlled computer networks. The entire civilized world will be an interactive network.
  • In such a world, our real life and our digital life will overlap seamlessly. This already happens as we navigate a strange city using an "app" on our cell phone. We will rely on digital technology as much as we rely on our GPS today.
  • Is it possible that future computers will be as intuitive and as intelligent as the human mind? The term for this is "The Singularity". It is defined as the "theoretical point at which human intelligence and artificial intelligence has become equal".

Are There Any Concerns?

Our activity, in the digital world, leaves a "footprint". Nearly everything that we do will be traced. For example, when we make a purchase, anyone who chooses to sell us a similar item can send an ad to our computer. Businesses will track our shopping and spending habits. Data that tracks our movements and purchases is already being gathered.

We will have less privacy in the future. Businesses, for example, do not hire a person without checking them out on the social networks.

As is always the case, criminals will find ways to use technology to their benefit. Cell phones have created an entirely new dimension for law enforcement. Stalking, kidnapping, thefts, and burglaries have benefited from digital technology.

Cheaper than a crystal ball and twice as fun, this book by futurist and web creator Watson examines what "someday" could be like, based on the five key trends of ageing; power shift to the East; global connectivity; the "GRIN" technologies of Genetics, Robotics, Internet, and Nanotechnology; environmental concerns, and 50 less general but equally influential developments that will radically alter human life by the year 2050. Watson gently scoffs at Jetsons-like wishful-thinking technology and flying cars; instead he predicts the fanciful (mindwipes, stress-control clothing, napcaps that induce sleep) and the useful (devices to harness the sea to generate energy; self-repairing car paint; retail technology that helps us shop, based on past buying habits; hospital plasters that monitor vital signs). Part Jules Verne, part Malcolm Gladwell, Watson has a puckish sense of humor and his book is a thought-provoking, laughter-inducing delight. 

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