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Next big thing

What comes after computer science, computational mathematics, software engineering, information technology, electrical engineering, and computer engineering? Is there anything on the horizon that will attract young people's mind the way computer has? What will our kids be taking in school? (Any thoughts and ideas would be most appreciated!)

Li-fan Chen
Monday, January 12, 2004

Depends by what you mean by 'computer', I am firmly (and unjustifiable) of the opinion that although the current levels of technology emulate computers, they are by no means a 'computer' in the full sense I what I believe the theoretical computer could be.

We still have far far to go. I don't think because we are seeing flashy technology, shiny bits of metal and thinks that whirl, that we have finished it yet.

Barely started when you think how long ago it was that Mr Babbage and Ms Lovelace were tinkering with these things.

(note: this is 100% opinion, probably 100% garbage and easily torn to shreds by the simplest of debaters. My opinion is probably influenced alot by how much I love maths and computer science and yet hate these things we today casually call 'computers')

Aussie Chick
Monday, January 12, 2004

typos typos tpyos

Aussie Chick
Monday, January 12, 2004

I am totally wowed by the Eye Toy for the Playstation.
Aside from being a really fun game, I think the potential for Human-Computer interaction is amazing.

For those unfamiliar with it, its a USB camera you sit on top of your TV. You stand in front of the TV and by waving your hands/arms you interact with objects on the screen.

It is completely intuitive. Within seconds you can navigate the menu. Then start kung-fu fighting with the sound effects et al! It rocks.

I forsee this being the forerunner of the interfaces seen in Jonny Mneumonic and Minority Report.

The cost of the PS2 and an Eye Toy is money well spent! Its the best fun you'll have with your clothes on.
Joel: if you want to treat your programmers buy one for their staff room, they'll love you for ever!!

Its the future, I've tasted it!

Tim H
Monday, January 12, 2004

Bionics - Physics as the glue for Chemistry and Biology.

Indian Developer in India
Monday, January 12, 2004

wrt computing, I'd stick money on augmented reality applications:

quick google:
http://www.howstuffworks.com/augmented-reality.htm

blargle
Monday, January 12, 2004

I 2nd augmented reality. VR is already a big thing, and at the very least, the US Army is looking to develope AR for soldiers in the field (still in testing/tuning right now).

tim
Monday, January 12, 2004

nanotechnology

sgf
Monday, January 12, 2004

televised desert gladiator battles for water and gasoline


Monday, January 12, 2004

Aussie chick --

Not trying to tear you to shreds, but there is a mathematically accepted notion of computing, and current computers satisfy it.  Have you ever heard of the notion of "Turing complete"?  Well pretty much every programming language in existence is, and all computers are, etc... the notion of computing is very robust.

This is not to say that there could not be a more powerful form of computing later (though there is a difference between faster, and more powerful -- it is not yet proven (I believe) that quantum computers can compute everything that regular ones can, though they can (theoretically) do certain things much faster).

But right now the notion of computing is very well defined.

Andy
Monday, January 12, 2004

"Not trying to tear you to shreds, but there is a mathematically accepted notion of computing, and current computers satisfy it.  Have you ever heard of the notion of "Turing complete"?"

Ok, so all computers are Turing complete.  But I think the Aussie Chick has a point.  Computers continue to improve a rates that incomparible to any other human invention.  I don't think the fundamental nature of computing will change but I think we'll be able to layer upon that foundation something completely unlike what we have now.

Our interactions with computers will become more and more transparent and natural (and it maybe us adapting to the computers as much as the computers adapting to us).

Almost Anonymous
Monday, January 12, 2004

I guess the original poster is talking about beyond computers. 

We have accepted computers integrated in many of the fields today and their application s have reached to certain heights.

I think historically technology has progressed with 'what human can focus on based on satisfying the comfort needs'. Starting from 'wheel' to now 'computers'.

A timeline of technological brakethrough would be help here.

artist
Monday, January 12, 2004

Bioengineering. I'm waiting for the day when I can run down to my local DNA Shack and buy the components I need to build my custom life forms and personal ecosystem.

OK, I'm exaggerating a bit, but in all seriousness I think that the work that's happening in areas like genomics and proteomics is simply stunning. I'm a total layperson when it comes to this, but my sense is that it's largely an area that still requires expensive equipment and highly specialized knowledge to get into. I would love to see more stuff that would let me do some genetic "tinkering" (even if it's "read-only") in the same way lots of us had the opportunity to fuss with circuit boards and computers in our formative years.

John C.
Monday, January 12, 2004

Li-fan Chen - interesting topic.

What comes next...for our children? More of the same in my opinion. I think we would have to go way down the road to see the next evolution. Maybe when we have more advanced forms of energy. I get the feeling many people are on the border line of technology improving our lives versus making it more complicated. I am of the opinion that we are better off, but this leaves much research to be done in computer human interaction and usability which can help the perception problem with technology. That being said, most of technology seems interested in increasing efficiencies, which does not make for a shorter work week. I hope some day we can get past this as a society.

m
Monday, January 12, 2004

For goodness sakes I hope that the thing that captures the imagination of the next generation is Mars Station, followed by the terraformings of Mars and Venus, and also a nice exploratory mission to Titan.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, January 12, 2004

"Ok, so all computers are Turing complete.  But I think the Aussie Chick has a point.  Computers continue to improve a rates that incomparible to any other human invention.  I don't think the fundamental nature of computing will change but I think we'll be able to layer upon that foundation something completely unlike what we have now."

I agree with your statements basically, though they are a little vague.  Well, actually, I do think it is possible that the fundamental nature of computing could change at some point in the future (if only because forever is a really long time).

I'm not disputing any of that.  I'm just offering a clarification of why it is probably not correct to say that "current levels of technology emulate computers".  Computing is well-defined, mathematically.  It may (and probably will) get unfathomably faster, and that speed will allow amazing new technologies, user interfaces, advances in AI, robotics, etc.  But it is still computation.  And of course it is possible that new paradigms for computing will be developed (i.e. quantum computing).  Which may differ from what we think of computing currently in considerable ways, but may not change *what* is computable.

Andy
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"terraformings of Mars and Venus"

I am inclined to say we don't have a great track record maintaining this planet, which was already made habitable for us, why do we think we can do a better job with other planets.

I am inclined to say that, but I will remain optimistic. :)

m
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"I am inclined to say we don't have a great track record maintaining this planet, which was already made habitable for us, why do we think we can do a better job with other planets."

We don't. We are just on a shortsighted "rape the universe" scorched earth campaign. Responsible planning is beyond the capabilities of the majority of our species. Democracy rules. "Pillage and burn" always pays off more in the short term.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"I am inclined to say we don't have a great track record maintaining this planet, which was already made habitable for us"

After living in middle canada, boston, and arizona, I'm not sure if I agree with the "was already made habitable for us" comment.


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

made habitable for us means mother nature made it habitable, it's not referring to the cities and roads humankind have put in place in the hope of making living "convenient".

Li-fan Chen
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Computers are currently capable of any logic, but their speed and memory leave something to be desired, so we can look forward to a continuation of improvements in those.  To get REALLY great, and different, computers you have to propose currently impossible things, such as a computer's ability to go backward in time, allowing recursive calculations to infinity in no time at all.  This is what Morevic had to do in his semi-realistic book "Robot" in developing the idea of transcendent robots.  ( I may have forgotten the author and title, but I have the book and home and I'm too lazy to Google for it! ).

Barry Sperling
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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