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Thread: Fifty year view

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    Fifty year view

    Fifty years back, which is 1967, I distinctly remember three of us discussing what the computers we'd use would be like eventually. We got as far as every home would have one and they'd be built into a desk. We had push buttons on them and banks of lights, but no keyboard. We weren't sure what they'd be used for. I wrote my first FORTRAN program the year after.

    Anyway, now we know. We weren't remotely close to being right. We had a failure of imagining just across fifty years' progress.

    What we should have said, back then, is that a computer in fifty years would be something that fitted into a pocket and that several billion other people would have one. Most of those several billion people would answer if you "dialled" them, you'd not need an international operator to do it, and you could have a real-time conversation with them even if they were outdoors. A large proportion of those several billion people would be visible, moving in real-time, on the front of the computer, more clearly than any cinema camera could have captured back then.

    What else - the computer would he able to carry and let you see pictures and read or listen to books. One picture would take the same space on the computer as twenty books. You might run out of room if you had more than a million books on your computer, but the good news is that you could carry a million extra books on storage weighing half a gram and swap them over in about ten seconds.

    None of that crossed our minds. Nor that the computer would cost less than a week's net pay, or that the cost of calls would be included in a fixed one-off payment of one hour's net pay each month regardless of where in the world the other people were. You'd need to be a writer of speculative science fiction to create that sort of projection. But every bit of the science for it was understood back then, it wouldn't have been unbelievable magic. We also thought, because we were only two years from the first manned lunar landing, that there would be permanent scientific moon bases within fifty years and they'd use computers a lot.

    So, the question for the thread: what will fifty years from now be like. Any aspect will be interesting, it needn't be computers.
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    Re: Fifty year view

    Back then if you'd looked at star trek you would have seen the personal computer, hand held communicator that would recieve calls even while outside and the ability to see them in real time voice search of widely available databases. It wasn't unbelieveable magic we just hadn't worked out how to do it.

    As for the next fifty odds are ww3 may will have wiped out large chunks of humanity born again christians will see climate change as god's punishment on us for having the arrogance to believe science was a tool we should use and they will be clubbing fundamental islamists to death because they were to blame as well as religious education will make sure no one can make any modern weapons any more.

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    Re: Fifty year view

    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    Back then if you'd looked at star trek you would have seen the personal computer, hand held communicator that would recieve calls even while outside and the ability to see them in real time voice search of widely available databases. It wasn't unbelieveable magic we just hadn't worked out how to do it.
    To quote Wikipedia, "The show is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260". My original point was that few people back in 1967 - certainly not me - thought any of that science would be in general use within fifty years. The writers had projected it 300 years into the future simply to allow credibility on the part of the audience.
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    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
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    Re: Fifty year view

    I am still blown away with the capabilities of my phone.

    This past week it has told me I was in the hospital and that I could connect to their wifi.
    Also that I was at a country pub, the name of the pub.................but....not what I was eating or drinking though.
    I have seen and spoke to my adopted daughter in Nigeria, and my daughter in America, and received videos of their children singing.
    Received direct communication from the president of America via Twitter and other people I respect......not forgetting the email facility.
    Posted on forums and Facebook........asked Google for information.
    Took lots of photographs and stored them online.
    I get constant News and weather updates.............Bank balance, transfer of funds, Online shopping......order takeaway deliveries.
    And if I get lost it tells me where I am and directs me home.
    I can listen to radio and watch TV, store and download music........there is an alarm that wakes me up another tells me it's pill time......I can make notes with a stylus.
    Can even play games on it.

    I carry more computing power around in my hip pocket than was on my first computer from about 18 or 19 years ago.
    I thought I knew more than this until I opened my mouth

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    Re: Fifty year view

    Monkey Butlers.

    edit: The one that gets me these days is Space exploration with the missions to the planets and the space telescopes. That's not a "may happen in 50 years", it's happening now and my guess is that images will become hugely more detailed. So perhaps in 50 years we will have detailed pictures of the event horizon of a black hole.

    To go even more Star Trek, perhaps the discovery of dark energy and matter means we will have a dark matter drive that warps spacetime and makes interstellar travel possible...

    Or given that NASA just announced the discovery of another 10 planets in the habitable zones of their stars, the discovery of alien life (though probably not intelligent life) just became much more likely.

    Are we going to get working fusion reactors in the next 50 years? If we do things look pretty rosy. If not, things could get very nasty indeed.

    edit edit: Or perhaps renewables like wind and wave will make technical breakthroughs and become really cost effective contributors to our power needs.

    We will have a map of all objects larger than 5m across in the Solar System including the Oort Cloud that is 99% accurate.
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    Re: Fifty year view

    With hindsight, Gene Rodenberry was an amazing visionary. It was as if he had actually been into the future & been inspired by what he saw. I imagine that if he had written all this as being within 50 years no-one would have taken him seriously. Pretty much everything he incorporated in the original Star Trek has actual thins that we can relate to that would have been unheard of 50 years ago. Even the question of Matter / Energy transportation is only just on the border. I know Southampton University have being research & have had some promising results. Perhaps that is something that will be seen in the future.
    Electric cars will come & go. No more need to charge up - all solar powered. No more nuclear power stations - all power from using solar cells in the roads (as currently being done in Normandy). Cars are likely to become driverless as the norm. Perhaps not even actually owned, but community cars, as with pushbikes in Holland. Just get in a car & let it take you to where you need to be, then let the car go park itself or move onto its next passenger.

    Hard copy media will be a thing of the past. Remember what we first thought of CDs - being able to get so much more on them than a LP, with far better quality, then DVDs etc. The history of the VHS is well known. Who bothers with CDs & DVDs now, though. Everything is done via MP3 or AVI.
    I remember just a few years ago having to have a separate program that would enable me to return to a download of a program if it was too big to download in a single day (like a massive, 100mbs, for example) - something that now takes a matter of seconds.
    On the down side though, progress also takes a negative turn. I have recently had to re-install windows to get my PC bak to being operational. In the process I have lost my Outlook & backup Windows Live Mail email clients. WLM is no longer supported & I can't find anywhere where I can download it from. Outlook, of course costs a fortune. I've set up with Thunderbird for now, but it's crap. I can, of course, use Outlook.com for Webmail, but standalone email clients are getting more & more difficult to find as the trend seems to be moving to cental online use, rather than locally operated. Of course it has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages.

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    Re: Fifty year view

    Quote Originally Posted by FourPart View Post
    I've set up with Thunderbird for now, but it's crap.
    I hope you're happy with the notion, but I've submitted this quote to Oxford English Dictionary Monitoring with the new usage suggestion "crap n: Synonym for unfamiliar".
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    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
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    Re: Fifty year view

    Quote Originally Posted by Clodhopper View Post
    Monkey Butlers.

    edit: The one that gets me these days is Space exploration with the missions to the planets and the space telescopes. That's not a "may happen in 50 years", it's happening now and my guess is that images will become hugely more detailed. So perhaps in 50 years we will have detailed pictures of the event horizon of a black hole.

    To go even more Star Trek, perhaps the discovery of dark energy and matter means we will have a dark matter drive that warps spacetime and makes interstellar travel possible...

    Or given that NASA just announced the discovery of another 10 planets in the habitable zones of their stars, the discovery of alien life (though probably not intelligent life) just became much more likely.

    Are we going to get working fusion reactors in the next 50 years? If we do things look pretty rosy. If not, things could get very nasty indeed.

    edit edit: Or perhaps renewables like wind and wave will make technical breakthroughs and become really cost effective contributors to our power needs.

    We will have a map of all objects larger than 5m across in the Solar System including the Oort Cloud that is 99% accurate.
    Everyone knows that commercial fusion power is only thirty years away - it has been for the past fifty years

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    Re: Fifty year view

    I've just discovered that Monday's Horizon was predictions for the next 50 years. I've no idea how I picked that up yesterday morning wandering the Internet but I must have done, it's too coincidental otherwise.
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    Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game!

    The watch of your vision has become reasonable today.

    It’s normal. You must provoke. You must insult the belief of all monotheists. You must make fun of the belief of all monotheists.
    From the upper tier of the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium, I watched the events of that day unfold with horror.
    When the flowers want to oxygen and nutrition, or you’re a wedding or party planner, I will help you too much.
    Write that word in the blood

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    Re: Fifty year view

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    Quote Originally Posted by spot View Post
    I hope you're happy with the notion, but I've submitted this quote to Oxford English Dictionary Monitoring with the new usage suggestion "crap n: Synonym for unfamiliar".
    Interesting. Unfamiliar has never been something I ever associated with "Crap"

    Useless, junk, and excrement seem more appropriate.
    "The trouble with people isn't that they don't know, but that they know so much that ain't so."
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