Computer technician with 15 years in the industry. I hold an A+ Certification, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.
Faced with the fluorescence of innovative products that we can find in the market today, some would say that the future is already happening at the tips of our fingers. But the development of new technologies indicates that what we saw in the early 21st century represents only the first steps of a period that, perhaps in the distant future, could be understood as a true coral reef for machines. It's a fertile, lively, high-moving ecosystem that must totally transform the meaning we attach today to the word "computer."
One does not have to imagine many years ahead in time to get an idea of what paths we are following. The Cisco Zetabytte Era report published in June 2014 predicted that more than half of the IP traffic would come from devices other than the PC in 2018. The most relevant growth was in machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which was expected to jump 84% by 2018, compared to 2013, reporting year of reference. In the 2018–2023 report, M2M connections were expected to account for half of all connections and connected devices globally.
If there was a growing debate about the post-PC world when the first tablets and smartphones became popular, these numbers suggest what in fact must happen with the evolution of the machines in the next years.
Intelligent Products Today and in the Future
If we are used to the idea of having cell phones or guided cars without the need of a driver, imagine the amount of intelligent products that could be brought to the forefront. That's not to mention products that already exist (bracelets that measure and analyze heart beats, chips implanted in the skin of diabetics that can warn in real time about blood glucose levels, rings that can open doors, drones, 3D printers).
Smaller and larger storage chips allow the creation of unlikely technologies for years to come. In the concept of the Internet of Things, the products develop interconnected, automated daily tasks and facilitate routines. In some cases, the future seems to be already showing its efficiency.
Our Relationship With Machines
The idea of the proliferation of cyborgs, hybrids of humans and machines, has never been so alive as it is today. Always having the cell phone next to us in our hands, as a complement to the arm, in the pocket, and even under the pillow at bedtime is a strong indication that we have become accustomed to having a much more intimate relationship with machines. What can still represent taboos is the level of intimacy and the emotions we share with machines.
This is a debate well represented in films such as The Bicentennial Man of 1999, in which a robot played by Robin Williams begins to develop feelings attributed to humans and flees in search of freedom. Or the latest and less fanciful universe imagined by the film Her, 2013, in which a man, played by actor Joaquin Phoenix, develops a love relationship with the operating system of his computer, endowed with personality and feelings in the voice of actress Scarlett Johansson. If machines may or may not be able to interpret feelings with such level of acuity, this may be a matter of time and the evolution of artificial intelligence.
Will Machines Gain Consciousness?
In the predictions of visionaries like entrepreneur and futurist Raymond Kurzweil, the turn of the artificial intelligence on the human brain has until date to occur. Involved in several innovations during his career, such as the recognition of human speech by machines, Kurzweil, the engineering director of Google, believes that machines can gain "consciousness" in 2029. This would be the year of convergence between humans and machines, a concept he called "uniqueness".
From this point on, the evolution of machines would be even faster in the sense of consciousness. More than performing automated tasks, machines would be able to interpret humans, understand and tell jokes, and even flirt. From this moment, only time to show what is possible to happen. One thing is certain: machines are increasingly connected and, more and more frequently, plays a leading life role.
The Future of Computing Is Yet to Be Seen
All desktop computers look alike, but the future will not necessarily be the same because an "intrepid group of designers and engineers" is resolving the "equality syndrome" that runs through the computer industry, Computerworld says. New concepts and design are different and point to future forms of work and entertainment.
Some are just concepts or prototypes that will never be commercialized but "allow us to pull our imagination and ask 'what if'," says Murali Veeramoney, who heads the computer design program at Intel. "They help us see the future of computing."
The future even changes the definition of "laptop", with the confusion between traditional notebooks, netbooks, tablets and iPad type tablets, smartbooks, e-readers, mobile computers, and other mobile phones connected to the Internet.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.