Thursday, September 17, 2009

Reports on computing from 1967-1968

I recently read two papers about the future of computing (for the masses) from late 67 and mid 68.

The first one was "The Computer in Your Future" by W. H. Ware. He brings up that there is a man-man interface between the customer and the programmer, and a man-computer interface between the programmer and the computer (mostly to say that errors occur at both interfaces). He explains some stuff about computer systems in the beginning so that the second section will be believable. (The intro stuff is things that they knew how to do way back when, similar to the "PILOT: A STEP TOWARDS MAN-COMPUTER SYMBIOSIS" paper I wrote about but they have forgotten now). In the second section he is really careful to say that these things are possible, but not predetermined and not that crazy. He hits on the cloud "computer utilities that would offer services to subscribers" except that he saw it using phone lines instead of the way we connect to the web now (though, we did use phone lines back in the 90's). The family would have a computer that would be used for many tasks, balancing check books, income taxes, price checking, homework, phone books, Christmas card lists, (no games?). Computers in cars! Computer planned/assisted crimes! Computers in business! He thought of something cool that is a bit deal, the reeducation/training required as our society changes and jobs don't last lifetimes. He talks about computers in engineering and is pretty correct. He then talks about computers in medicine/biology and forsees (which seems to be coming) the ability to grow organisms to specifications [like genetically engineered rice or e. coli]. He finishes with computer generated graphics that would be driven by physics based simulation for design and sharing of information.

The second paper was "Some changes in Information Technology Affecting Marketing in the Year 2000" by Paul Baran. Its 2009 so we can see how he did. "widespread large-screen, color, person-to-person TV communications over cables using a switching network similar to the telephone system" - Yep. (webcams). He talks about the cost of writing/publishing going to zero (blogs). He talks about transitioning from push to pull for information. (ha, and they still are! ) He predicts Amazon (buy anything online) but misses a search box and instead has an interface where you choose a category and zoom down to the product that you want. He mentions targeted advertising after you get down to the item that you want, because thats when you most likely would want to know the differences of the products. Google seems to be doing that. He then talks about a recommendation system that basically is Amazon's recommendation system. Last thing he mentions is being able to check the weather on this network, which we do today.

Just was interesting reading about what they thought would come up. I can send you a copy of either if you are interested, just email me.

side note, Ubuntu made my spellchecker en-GB which sucks. So change spellchecker.dictionary to en-US.

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