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The following is a compilation of various processing technological advancements to be made in the near future. They are by no means complete, but they do offer some of the more tangible aspects of computer-related development and show various trends.
Intelligence is the dream of contemporary science fiction writers, but may not be so far away. Indeed, computers have shown an ability to allow for an ever-increasing degree of processing capability, which forms the fundamental basis for intelligence. However, as of now intelligence still seems as far away as ever, and we are in need of a conceptual breakthrough before this amassing processing power can be converted to intelligence. Several benchmarks:
- Very widespread embedded intelligence will become a reality in intelligence.
- Extensive use of analog and neural processing will allow for more effective and creative informatics.
- AI technology imitating thinking processes of the brain--Note that this step will first require neuroscience to advance to the degree that the brain's mental processes can be fully understood--something clearly very far away.
- Computers will write much of their own software--This may be rather dangerous, primarily because this will inaugurate computer evolution, which would then result in conflict with human interests some time down the road; and with the power of the computer to develop new ideas at phenomenal rates, this "advancement" could lead to the end of the human race.
Informatics deals with the basics of processing--getting that information somewhere. For this, while computers must still use processors, these engineering marvels are becoming better and better; therefore, we may assume that the processing power of machines will continue to rise. A few pointers:
- Everything will use processors, sensors, and smart materials sensitive to heat, light, sound and electromagnetic fields where appropriate.
- Computers with speed exceeding 10 TFLOPS. This means that computers can carry out 10,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second.
- 3D OEICs for image processing will become greater than 500 by 500 pixels.
- Computers' processing power will be able to be connected in parallel, in much the same way that batteries can be put in parallel along a circuit to increase power. Such parallel computers will be capable of utilizing 1,000,000,000 processors or so.
- PCs will have a clock rate of over 100 GHz--this means 100,000,000,000 mini-actions per second.
- Nevertheless, it is possible that along with increases in processing power we will see the advent of programs that will require still more. Therefore, processing speeds still a bottleneck for some applications that require a tremendous drain of processing power.
Error identification will become even more crucial in the future, as half of using a computer is the interaction with the user. Should the user be at fault, it will be increasingly hard to fix an error in the future when the computer will have finished doing something by the time the user realizes that there has been an error. Therefore, running systems in the future will do well to present alarms based on human mistakes. These algorithms are not so much fantasy as reality already; various applications already sport primitive error-identification systems.
- Optical neuro-computers--these involve the "eye jewels" that supposedly will be inserted into eyes and thus provide a second layer of seeing--the first one being that of the standard vision and the second being a translucent image generated by the neuro-computer. Nevertheless, this will still be extremely hard, and a previous step (already being investigated) involves using a computer with a tiny screen fitted over the pupil.