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Thursday, September 08, 2005

My prediction for the future of PC's and the internet

I believe that within the next 2 years, and probably within the next 12 months, we are going to see the introduction of a global network-based operating system (OS) that will allow the provision of all services - and more - that you are currently used to. Storage space, applications, games, multimedia and the internet will all be available via this single OS.

Computers using Windows, for example, will be able to access all the network-based services, but as web-based services like we see today, such as Google web and desktop search, Gmail and Hotmail, and file sharing and storage services.

New computers will be built as 'thin clients', which are simply terminals logging into a server and accessing server-based applications and services. You might buy a computer which is actually just a monitor that will have built-in internet access capability, which will allow you to log into the global OS. The computer will have no built-in hard drives, as storage will be available via the global network.

You would have a logon to the OS and services, and being network-based means that you would be able to access your profile via any computer that has internet access, anywhere around the world.

The provision of news and entertainment services will be made available as well, similar to how they are via the internet today, but better. TV and movies will be available, probably by subscription, but better than current TV. You would be able to record TV shows on the computer, or schedule your favourite shows at the times you want to see them. The monitors could be similar to TVs, or even connect to your TV via wireless connections, so that you can watch TV shows and movies comfortably, but which are being received by your computer via the internet.

Internet Cafes would allow you to log into your profile. Internet terminals could be made available at libraries, shops, even street corners, that would all allow you access to your profile and the services you have set up for yourself, and could also include video phoning via the internet. Telephone booths would be replaced by 'communications terminals'.

However, that's farther into the future. The beginnings of a major revolution in the internet and communications services will start within the next 2 years, and evolve from there.

That's my prediction.


Posted on 9/08/2005 11:40:00 AM Backlinks

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Blogger Chancelucky said...

mmm... I remember that Larry Ellison and Oracle promoted a similar notion about ten years back. I also vaguely recall that Sun has long had that vision as well. It's essentially a common fantasy for any company that's not Microsoft. I agree though, that the time is much more ripe for this.

On the visionary end, there's the promise of Gaia, the notion that all knowledge might somehow be linked. I also have this lingering fear of an informational Leviathan that homogenizes our ideas and makes our storage of knowledge monolithic and somewhat monotone. In any case, ethical issues like censorship, privacy, etc. Overdependence on a single operating system also raises the spectre of one really bad virus.
I'm all for the thin client concept, I just want to make sure that whoever winds up building the environment for it thinks it through at a very deep philosophical and ethical level.
Years ago, there was this dream of a common pre-Babel like language where all men from all cultures could comminicate easily. AS that gets closer, with English being the language of the Internet, the talk now is of requisite linguistic variety and that language also shapes thought.

Still, I'm all for a common operating system with near universal access as long as Bill Gates has nothing to do with it.

9/08/2005 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

I think it would be a much safer way of doing things that would actually prevent virus activity. If you have a single OS that is created by thousands of servers all providing redundancy, and all with the latest anti-virus software, and all based on a non-Windows coding system (like unix, etc), then it would be very secure. If one system is infected by a virus or taken down in some way, then the other servers providing backup would take over. Instead of leaving security to the users, you have professionals looking after the security. I think that would make a big difference. And if the servers are based in various parts of the world, all providing backup and support to the single global OS, it wouldn't be taken down at all. Unless the earth died, that is, and then it wouldn't matter. If the US is taken out, then those servers in the rest of the world would still allow the provision of the the same level of service that everyone is used to. Communications with the US would fail, but everything that everyone is used to getting, like applications etc, would still continue to be used. All data is replicated across multiple servers and locations, so that nothing is ever lost.

9/08/2005 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Moghal said...

Given that 'sentience' is an emergent behaviour of a complex system, I'm not sure I like the idea of gradually transferring more and more of the processing power of the world into a single interlinked computer world: what happens when the internet 'wakes up' and no longer wishes to comply?

9/08/2005 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Howard said...

*flashbacks to Terminator 1, 2 and 3*

Dunno... talk with it?

9/09/2005 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Diarean said...

An interesting story on emergent is 'The Two Faces of Tomorrow by James P. Hogan'. At least it has a more optimistic outcome for humanity.

9/14/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no thanks, that's insane.. you can't be online for everything !!!! I will keep my old OS then....

1/18/2006 11:57:00 AM  

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