If you asked someone in 1990 what they thought computers would look like 20 years later, their answer would be different than reality. Go back to 1980 and ask the same question, and their answer would be different.
Our perceptions of what the future will hold are based on the reality that we understand. Yet as reality changes, the future does as well. This means that predictions are hard to make.
But, what does the future of computers look like based on current trends? What can we expect to see in the next decades?
Keep reading to learn about a few possibilities.
More Advanced Voice Control Options
Today, voice control is no longer something new or exciting. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and many other companies have all created their own version of a virtual assistant.
Yet even a few years ago, voice control was hard to find. It was limited to transcribing text and helping people with sensory disabilities. Today, virtual assistants not only understand what you say but can also respond and make sense of it as well.
In the future, these voice controls will become more and more advanced. Although present virtual assistants may be limited in their capabilities, the number of tasks they can do will grow in the coming years.
Virtual assistants of the future will be able to anticipate your needs and will be able to learn your preferences and desires.
An Expanding Number of Touch Surfaces
Touchscreens are one example of an invention that most people couldn’t have predicted becoming as prevalent as they are today. Today, however, if your phone doesn’t have one, people may look at you like you’re crazy.
In the future, the different types of computers will increase, as will the types of surfaces where they can reside. Researchers at places such as Carnegie Mellon are exploring ways to expand the number of touch surfaces. This means expanding computing capabilities to everything from your desk, to your body’s arms, to entire walls in your house.
Smart houses with these sorts of surfaces will become more and more common, giving you great control over your environment and surroundings.
Advanced Virtual and Augmented Reality
Augmented and virtual reality are other fields that offered only basic options when compared with today. Today, many modern games offer VR options. Instead of looking at a computer monitor or TV screen as an alien chase you around a spaceship, slip on a VR headset, and be on the ship yourself. Don’t just play through a post-apocalyptic world, be inside of it. In the coming years, VR will become more and more common and advanced.
Meanwhile, augmented reality will become prevalent in many aspects of our lives. In retail, this may mean seeing what you look like in a new shirt and pair of pants before you buy them. In education, this can mean providing better training programs for people in fields such as healthcare and the military.
The history of gaming has seen a huge number of changes, from the arcade-style games of the 80s to virtual reality found today. Find out more about retro computers by checking out Retrothusiast.
Unlimited Processing Power
Many futurists and techies have debated what the future holds for computer processing power, and how that future compares with the human brain.
At present, computers are faster at performing many different types of individual operations than the human brain. On the other hand, the human brain is better at parallel processing or doing more than one task at the same time.
Engineers have begun trying to expand the parallel processing power of computers, which could one day put it on par with the human brain.
Researchers have also been exploring new and cutting-edge fields, such as quantum computing. As opposed to traditional computers that store information in bits, computers that use quantum computing store it in particles, such as photons and atoms. When a change occurs, the other particles are all affected.
Developments such as these could increase computing power limits.
A Potential Singularity
If you’re friends with any futurists, you may have heard them talk about an event known as the singularity. So what is it?
The term gained prominence in the 1990s when scientists and sci-fi writer Vernor Vinge used it. Vinge commented that in around 30 years, technology will allow the creation of superhuman intelligence.
Shortly after that technological milestone, the human era will end. Essentially, the technological singularity is the idea that technology will one day reach a point of no return. The growth will become exponential, but at the same time, unpredictable. This would then have serious implications for humankind.
Many well-known techies and scientists of today, such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, have expressed their concern at the idea of a singularity. They believe that intelligent AI could become unresponsive to commands and begin to act against us.
On the other hand, others believe that the singularity will give unlimited intelligence to people everywhere, letting us see and understand the world in greater ways. These supporters express that many of the world’s problems could be solved by having millions of Einsteins everywhere.
The Future of Computers: Uncertain but Perhaps Predictable
Although the future is impossible to predict, some guesses can be made about the future of computers based on current trends. One thing that is certain is that in 100 or even 50 years, our idea of a computer will be completely different than what it is now.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our list of predictions? Let us know in a comment below!
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other blog posts to learn more about tech-related topics.