Exceprts from a CIO Magazine interview:
The relative wealth that we now have comes from productivity, and we’re going to see dramatic productivity enhancements in the future. If you jump ahead 20 years or so, we will be able to create virtually any physical product at almost no cost, just from information and fabrication techniques. In fact, we’re not that far today from being able to create physical products with software because we have computer-assisted inventory control systems, just-in-time procurement, computer-controlled movement of materials and assembly.
We’re seeing international competition for the first time in types of work that require education and skills, and that’s going to continue. And I think it’s a good thing. China is committed to building 50 MITs, as they put it. That’s not an exaggeration. They’re creating scores of world-class technology universities. But these people are going to create intellectual property from which we’ll all benefit. If somebody creates a breakthrough in bioengineering, we all benefit. It may also result in China respecting intellectual property more, if they are heavily invested in creating intellectual property. Still, I believe the United States retains an edge in terms of innovation. We still lead the world in terms of creating new paradigms, new business models, new ways of creating products.
Let’s look at a few trends. A lot of the equipment that IT departments concern themselves with nowrouters and serverswill all be gone. There won’t be computers on desks. We’ll eliminate most of that clutter, certainly by the end of this decade. Technology will be very mobile; it’ll be so small that it’ll be virtually invisible. Everybody will be online. Images will be written right to our retinas. We’ll have very high-speed bandwidth connections at all times. The computing substrate will be everywhere.
I think it’s important to understand that technology and human civilization are deeply integrated and that that integration is going to become more intimate. We’re getting closer to our computers. I was talking to a woman yesterday who said her 10-year-old son’s notebook is an extension of him. She said it might as well be inside him. Well, soon computers will be inside us. Within one to two decades, we will be able to place nonbiological intelligence inside us, noninvasively.
By the 2020s we will be placing millions or billions of nanobotsblood cell-size devicesinside our bloodstream to travel into our brains and interact with our neurons. We will be extending our cognitive capability directly through this intimate merger of biology with machines.