Friday, May 28, 2004 Books: The Blankenhorn Effect: How to Put Moore's Law to Work for YouJakob Nielsen speculates on personal computing power in the year 2034:

...According to Moore's Law, computer power doubles every 18 months, meaning that computers will be a million times more powerful by 2034. According to Nielsen's Law of Internet bandwidth, connectivity to the home grows by 50 percent per year; by 2034, we'll have 200,000 times more bandwidth. That same year, I'll own a computer that runs at 3PHz CPU speed, has a petabyte (a thousand terabytes) of memory, half an exabyte (a billion gigabytes) of hard disk-equivalent storage and connects to the Internet with a bandwidth of a quarter terabit (a trillion binary digits) per second...

...By 2034, we'll finally get decent computer displays, with a resolution of about 20,000 by 10,000 pixels.
By 2034, we'll finally get decent computer displays, with a resolution of about 20,000 pixels by 10,000 pixels (as opposed to the miserly 2048 pixels by 1536 pixels on my current monitor). Although welcomed, my predicted improvement factor of 200 here is relatively small; history shows that display technology has the most dismal improvement curve of any computer technology, except possibly batteries...

What he leaves unstated is the user-interface technology we might anticipate. My take: Research on spinal cord and nervous system injuries will lead to breakthrough interface technology that will not only empower the paralyzed to utilize their limbs... but also provide magnificent new user-interfaces for conventional users:

1) Body-worn computers will interact by reading gestures, eye movement, leg and arm movement (e.g., for game-play), etc.

2) Users will have the option of retrofitting a pluggable adapter into their body that will interact directly with their brain. A short, 30-minute (and almost painless) operation will safely allow direct interaction with a computer and the brain.

3) Future applications that harness the direct brain-to-computer interface will include recording of your vision, your hearing, etc. Recording of thoughts. Even playback of another's experiences or thoughts (a la Strange Days).

4) A wireless brain-to-computer interface (BCI) will also support retrieval of data (e.g., a Google-like seach for information)... browsing of web pages... and some fascinating advertisement technologies - everything will be inside your head.

5) New remote control capabilities spawned by BCI.

Sounds scary, but I think it will be commonplace and well-accepted in thirty years.

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