First appeared in The Apple
Newsletter of LAMALUG, Mac User Group of Lansing, MI
TIME MACHINE - Part
I want to make some predictions about the
future. I have so many ideas that I'd like to make this a series
of articles. Some of this stuff is a little scary to a lot of
people, probably because of the changes it will require them to
make in their lives. Well, people were scared of the automobile
too, but we still got 'em.
When I read articles about the future,
the authors usually peek only about 5 or 10 years from now. I'm
almost always a little disappointed because the predictions just
don't seem that amazing. Even most science fiction authors seem to
have difficulty looking more than a few year ahead. Those who look
a little further usually summon some nuclear, chemical or genetic
holocost to help them slow progress because is it is so difficult
to project the technological changes as well as all the personal
and moral baggage that will accompany them. Let me give it a try.
Computers are getting smaller. That's not
new. There are a group of people who are trying to make a computer
on the molecular level - trying to make the conductive materials
just one molecule wide. Others are working to make chemical
computers. Combine the technologies and you have something we're
already familiar with - the human brain. A pretty complicated
Once we cross that barrier, we will be
able to connect ourselves directly to computers made of biological
stuff. The human/computer interface will become much faster and
easier than we ever dreamed while using the mouse or voice
controlled computer. Eventually we'll be able to eliminate the
hardware and the "computer" will be merged with us.
The ramifications of this are both
fantastic and morally complicated. We'll be able to communicate
with each other without words - absolutely directly,
telepathically. When you describe something to someone, you'll not
only be able to shoot them your ideas at the speed of thought,
you'll be able to shoot them 3-D pictures as well as smell, touch,
taste and sound. And you'll be able to literally walk a mile in
another person's shoes. With their permission, you'll be able to
step inside of that person, to see and feel life the way they
experience it long enough to really understand them.
Misunderstanding someone will become a thing of the
Also, because of developments in the
genetic sciences, it will be possible to literally make every
person born a genius with total photographic and auditory recall.
We only use about 10% of our brain now. Why not just flick a few
genetic switches and use it all?
Children won't need to go to school.
Everything known will be implanted into newborns, will be
available to them instantly, and updated as new information is
created - perhaps downloaded once a day or even continuously. When
I say all information, this will include what we now call expert
systems. Any child will be able to create works in the style of
Rembrandt, Picasso, Beethoven, or Mozart - at the speed of
thought. This artwork will not exist in solid form, although there
is no reason it couldn't. Instead, we will find it more convenient
to have it in the "software" of our minds, to share with others
and rework to perfection.
I'll bet all this happens within 100
years, maybe even as few as 50. See you next month.