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The Future of Computing

Today’s Goals:

(The Future Of Computing)

• To visualize the advances in computing that will take place in the future
• To visualize the impact of computing on our future

Computing & Telecommunications

• The two fields are converging, and, as time passes, are becoming more and more indistinguishable
from each other
• Therefore, when we talk about the future of one, we must talk about the future of both

My Personal Mobile Communicator

• Probably 15-20 years from now …
• Body-embedded uPhone, head-phone, processor
• Voice-only control interface
• The user mumbles, only the uPhone hears
• Longer term: the user only thinks commands and speech and feels the response from the other end;
no actual sounds are made

Required Computing Technologies

• Miniature uPs, RAM, ROM
• Continuous speech recognition

A Mobile Video-Phone

• The technology is available; the infrastructure will become common in 2-5 years time
• However, it may never become as popular as a regular voice-only phone as it will be too
cumbersome to use

My Personal Agent

• A computer program that will works autonomously and will have a voice-interface
• It may start becoming popular in 5-year's time
• Will be able to have an intelligent conversation with me
• I say: “I need two tickets for Hong Kong for tomorrow morning”
• It already knows where I am, what my airline preferences are, and what are my credit-card details
• It will asks me about the return leg of the journey and about hotel reservations as well
• I say: “I’m depressed” or “I’m tired” or “I’m bored” or “I’m angry” or “I’m feeling sick” and it
will know how to respond to situations like that
• For example, when I feel sick, it can ask simple questions and then set-up an appointment with an
appropriate doctor by getting in touch with that doctor’s personnel agent
• It can remind me about various events
• It keeps me updated with news, weather, stock market, etc
• I communicate with it through my personal communicator as well as my computer
• It knows that when I am near a computer display, and writes appropriate info to the screen

Required Computing Technologies

• Continuous speech recognition
• Intelligent, autonomous decision making SW

The key weakness of the Web?

• The Web (as it currently exists) was designed for humans to read, not for computers to understand
and manipulate meaningfully
• Computers face great problems in dealing with the current text- and graphics-based content of the

Future of the Web: Semantic Web

Whereas, today’s Web’s content is designed for humans to read; the Semantic Web’s content will be
designed for computers to understand meaningfully. However, the Semantic Web is not a replacement
but an extension of the present Web, in which info is given well defined meaning

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper, More Efficient

• All types of computers are becoming more powerful, smaller in size, consume less energy, and cost
less than before
• 10 years from now we may have the power of today’s most powerful supercomputer in a package
no bigger than a common brick
• However, the size may not be relevant as a time is coming when computing power will be like the
electric power service that we use at home or office

Electrical Supply

• We do not buy a new electric plant when we install a new air conditioner. Do we?
• We just plug it in, and it works!
• As we use more and more electricity, our monthly bills go up, but importantly, we are not required
to do much else – same will be true for computing power on 10 year horizon

Computing Power that Flows

• These days when our computing needs exceed our resources, we buy a new computer
• In the future, if we suddenly start doing huge data mining tasks instead of just doing simple
accounting on our computer …
• … we will start using more computing power, but our computer (or console, or terminal) will stay
the same, only our monthly “computing usage” bill will change

On-Demand Computing Power

• Almost infinite “computing power” supply
• Reliable, maintenance-free, just like the electricity, telephone, or water-supply service
• You pay for only what you use!
• Same will be true for storage

Computer Terminals of the Future

• The first question is, would we have any?
• It may happen that computers will be everywhere, but hidden!
• If that does not happen, then they will consist of a display only; input will be through voicecommands
and/or touch on the screen only (5-10 years from now)
• In a more distant future, just through thinking!


• The demise of the CRT monitors has already started, and their replacement with LCD is gaining
pace with steadily dropping prices
• Like CRT monitors, LCDs are 2-D displays
• Display of the future, however, will have to be a 3-D one
• The 3-D illusion will be created through goggles or by directly writing the images on our retinas


• Magnetic storage on disks will stay with us for a long time, at least two decades
• Data densities will improve steadily with time
• Optical disks will keep on getting better (currently the BlueRay DVD can store more than 50GB)
• However, the mechanical nature of these technologies will not be able to keep up with the speed of
the computers of the future and the enormous capacity requirements of the future
• Semiconductor memory will keep on becoming faster, denser, cheaper but will never have the
capacity/price ratio of the magnetic/optical disks
• Disks too slow! RAM too expensive! What then?
• Some never-heard-before technology or possibly, holographic optical storage

Holographic Storage

• Digital data stored in and read from a 3-D optical material with the help of lasers
• Depending upon the material, they could be read-only or R/W
• The data density (quantity of data stored per unit volume) will be millions of times more than
anything available today
• The concept has been validated but commercial applications are at least 10 years away

Data Transmission

• Our homes and offices will be hooked up to the Internet through optical fiber or a free-space
optical connection
• However, most devices within the house and office will be connected to each other and the main
Internet connection through wireless connections
• The bit-rates will be enormous by today’s standards

The Fully Connected House

• Wall to wall computers, but hidden!
• Kitchens will be full of them
• Air conditioners, lights, security alarms, entertainment and communication systems
• Each house will have 100’s of uPs, all talking to many others through wireless links, always trying
to make us more comfortable while conserving energy and other resources


• Being there, without physically being there!
• Two remotely located people, with the help of special equipment, immersed in a simulated 3-D
environment where they interact like they are sitting next to each other
• Chatting, a telephone conversation, or even a videoconference are examples, but in a degraded
sense of the idea
• Full-fledged 3-D telepresence may become common 10-15 years from now

Immortal Minds

• Some day it will be possible to load all the lectures, papers, books and SW produced by an expert
into an intelligent system
• After that system processes, indexes and restructures the info in those artifacts, it will be possible
to have a conversation in plain English (or some other language) with that system
• The system will have that conversation based on the ideas and beliefs contained in the stored info
and in the style of that expert
• Initially this may happen in the form of text, then speech, and then a talking head on a computer
screen, and finally in a 3-D simulated reality environment


• Natural language translators: One of the most biggest challenges for today’s computer scientist
• Fully automated and reasonably accurate translators (say from English to German) do not exist as
of now …
• … but will, perhaps, 20 years from now


• 15-20 years from now, all education will be computer-based but will not be impersonal as the
computer-based education of today
• The group-method, the basis of today’s learning, will continue to be used, but without the
requirement of physical presence of the teacher and the taught in the same room
• Simulated-reality techniques will be used to create an artificial but effective educational


• Due to computer-assisted research into medicine and genetic engineering, most, if not all of the
current diseases will be eliminated over the next 50 years
• Probably a few deadly ones will be created accidentally as part of that research or by the
germ-warfare labs


• Goal of war: Disable the enemy
• That can be achieved by killing off the communication systems of the enemy army
• Why use nasty and expensive things like nuclear bombs for that? Why not a computer virus?
• Countries (and certain groups) will focus more and more of their resources on this area, where they
can maximize damage even with meager resources
• The key target will be the telecom infrastructure and the financial systems (stock markets, banking
• The developed countries are more vulnerable because they rely more on the targeted systems


• Movies in which animated characters will be indistinguishable from humans actors have started to
• 15 years from now human actors may become extinct
• Not too long after that, movies as an entertainment form may become extinct as well
• Movies will become interactive like video games
• Video games will become more realistic like movies
• And then they will converge into a single form of entertainment, probably called
• Players will be able to become a part of the movie along with other players, if they wish!


• I believe that petty crime will disappear in 50 years time due to computer-based methods for
investigating and tracking criminals
• And after that, all crime will be computer-assisted and on a very large scale
• It will most probably be committed by nation-states, not individuals

No Personal Privacy

• 50 years from now, due to the low cost of efficient sensors and highly-powerful computers,
tracking of humans will become quite easy
• All governments will start keeping track of every move of every individual in the name of peace
and security

Slave Master

• The way things are progressing right now, the roles may reverse over a 50-100 year time frame
• Computers may become self-replicating, self-healing, and self-programming just like humans
• And one fine day they may do a conference through the Internet and just may decide that enough is
enough. Slavery, no more!

Today’s Lecture:

(The Future of Computing)

• We tried to visualize the advances in computing that will take place in the future
• We also tried to visualize the impact of computing on our future

Next Lecture’ Goals:

(Programming Methodology)

• To understand effective programming practices that result in the development of correct programs
with a minimum effort
• To become familiar with simple debugging techniques

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