Mstation Book Reviews
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Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Future of Tech

Ed. Tom Standage, The Future of Technology, The Economist

This a collection of articles from the UK weekly, The Economist and whether you'll be blown away by the wisdom might depend a little bit on how close you are to the subject.

In this sort of line, going through the wishlists of big companies can give us a clue about possibilites. In the software line, Microsoft might have wished that we'd all been using decentralised systems with lots of Microsoft scattered about... which is what a lot of people did and do.

A company wishing that the network is the computer will be hoping for lots of thin clients and distributed services. These days that looks very much like Microsoft also, and Sun. In those particular cases you'd have to say the odds were probably with the latter ... which ties in with the idea that the whole shebang will become totally service oriented, which is pretty much what commercial Linux is about.

What this book is really about is the present. It is an informed view of what is happening in software development and distribution, security, gaming, home computers, and artificial intelligence, amongst other things. And what is happening suggests a near future. Looking at the far future, would be, of course, science fiction.

One interesting present idea I came across recently in Dr. Dobb's AI newsletter was that modern computers don't actually need operating systems. They are there for reasons of backwards compatibility and commercial needs. What do you make of that one?

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