The Revolution Yet To Happen

Gordon Bell and Jim Gray

Abstract

By 2047 almost all information will be in cyberspace (1984) – including all knowledge and creative works. All information about physical objects including humans, buildings, processes, and organizations will be online. This trend is both desirable and inevitable. Cyberspace will provide the basis for wonderful new ways to inform, entertain, and educate people. The information and the corresponding systems will streamline commerce, but will also provide new levels of personal service, health care, and automation. The most significant benefit will be a breakthrough in our ability to remotely communicate with one another using all our senses. The ACM and the transistor were born in 1947. At that time the stored program computer was a revolutionary idea and the transistor was just a curiosity. Both ideas evolved rapidly. By the mid 1960s integrated circuits appeared – allowing mass fabrication of transistors on silicon substrates. This allowed low-cost mass-produced computers. These technologies enabled extraordinary increases in processing speed and memory coupled with extraordinary price declines. The only form of processing and memory more easily, cheaply, and rapidly fabricated is the human brain. Peter Cohrane (1996) estimates the brain to have a processing power of around 1000 million-million operations per second, (one Petaops) and a memory of 10 Terabytes. If current trends continue, computers could have these capabilities by 2047. Such computers could be “on body” personal assistants able to recall everything one reads, hears, and sees.

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
Pages22
NumberMSR-TR-98-44
InstitutionMicrosoft Research
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