Prediction #2: Computers Will Disappear – Literally

by Randy Murray on August 3, 2010

Yesterday I warned you to start planning to live beyond 100 years. Today I’ll predict something that’s really not as radical: computers will literally disappear.

I predict that in just a few years, as few as ten, but probably closer to twenty, you won’t be able to point to a thing and say, “that’s a computer.” The desktop will go away completely. No one will carry laptops. Even phones and the truly wonderful iPad will be gone.

No, I’m not predicting a return to a pre-electronic era with stone knives and bearskins. I’m predicting that the power and capabilities of our computers will be much higher, but the hardware necessary to run them will be infinitesimally small. You won’t need to lug about a computer. It will always be with you, imbedded in your glasses or sunglasses, part of your watch, imbedded in that filling in your molar. And any surface can become a display. Instead of an iPad, a random piece of plastic or cardboard can deliver all of the iPad’s features and more – not because the computer is in that piece of plastic, but because you’ll SEE what you need.

With all this power we better get good at handling distractions. Think that Twitter on your desktop is bad? Wait until it’s hovering in front of your eyes 24 hours a day!

Science fiction mumbo jumbo? Take a step back forty years and tell me that they technology you commonly use today isn’t just so much scifi from the viewpoint of 1970.

Let me also get out in front and handle this anticipated complaint: no, you won’t be able to build your own computer any more. They’ll be nano-machines, not the huge beige boxes full of commodity components. There’s a class of tinkerers that currently exists because most computers are too kludgy for non-technical users, but that day is fading fast. I had a friend who works on PCs look at my iPad and say, “Wow, that’s great. I better start learning how to fix those, too.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there would be nothing for him to fix - it’s a sealed unit. And since users can’t get them gummed up with viruses and malware a simple reset should get most users back in business. That’s the shape of things to come, except in a few years there won’t be a shape!

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The Prediction #2: Computers Will Disappear – Literally by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mari August 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Here’s a look at the pre-sci-fi- technology in my circa 1970 household:

Its place of honor was my parent’s room adjacent to mine. My youthful ears could perceive a click just before it rang, allowing me to intercept late night phone calls without their knowledge. Slick, n’est-ce pas?


2 Randy Murray August 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm

We had the “Princess” phones, but our original one was an actual “party line” phone. I keep thinking I grew up in Mayberry, but it was actually more rural than that!


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