I read Popular Science Magazine. My wife got me a subscription for it a couple of years ago for my birthday, and ever since, its arrival, has been one of the highlights of the month (which is sad, I know, but I don’t get out much). As I’ve read the magazine month-to-month though, I’ve never ceased to be surprised by the shear volume of new technologies and ideas that are in the works at any given time. If half of the new stuff being developed right now makes it all the way to a finished, widely distributed, product, it would drastically change the world! Energy would be cheap and abundant, pollution would vanish, and we’d all be able to kick-up our heels while robots take out the trash!
Unfortunately however, most new technologies, never make it to a finished product, especially not on their first go around. The first patented device resembling the modern light bulb, for instance, was created way back in 1841. Other, steadily improving models were patented in 1845, 1851, 1872, and then by Thomas Edison in 1879. However, even with all these inventors working their butts off to bring the incandescent light bulb into the world, electric lighting didn’t become common in American homes until the 1920s, more than 80-years after the first patent was issued!
Computing has followed a similar path, with the first models being invented in the late thirties while the first consumer level computer wasn’t ready until 1974! While it’s true the process of invention-to-product has sped up considerably since the time of the light bulb, it’s also true that many of the cutting edge technologies futurists like to reference (such as: carbon-nanotubing, Ferroelectric RAM, and quantum qubit computing among others), are still much further away from general use than they are closer. So, rather than making rash predictions about the crazy things your computer will have become in ten years, let’s talk about 5-things your computer won’t be in 2021.
- Slow – While we’re still miles away from any crazy new processing power sources in the home computer, there are some technologies that will drastically improve the speed of the computer, which will likely be implemented within the next ten-years.
- Processors, which are currently built from silicone, could run much faster if they were built from diamonds. This may sound ludicrous, but the first diamond processor was built way back in 2003 and it ran at 81GHz! Plus, synthetic diamonds are just as good and cheaper than ever! If diamond won’t serve as a viable replacement, there’s also molybdenite.
- Solid State hard drives, which are 6-10 times faster than the mechanical hard drives in common use today, are currently more than two dollars per gigabyte, compared to the 10 cents per gigabyte we pay for mechanical. As the technology and acceptance thereof increases, prices will drop and solid state drives will become the norm.
Since the squeaky wheel gets the grease, it’s a lot more likely we’ll see faster phones and wireless connections than we will faster LAN connections.
While there are certainly paradigms just waiting to shift between now and 2021, I believe the computers we’ll be using then won’t be too much different from those we’re using now. Faster, more constant connections, more gadget consolidation, high speed processing, and more are all on the horizon. But if you’re waiting for a robot to take out your trash, your house is going to get really smelly in the next ten years.
While you’re waiting, come shop at OutletPC! Our stuff is neat! Also, if you’d like to learn more about how to upgrade the computer you’ve already got, check out my article on the best upgrades for your computer.