During the keynote speech on the third day of Intel’s IDF 2011 Intel’s Futurist, Brian David Johnson, asks questions about what the future holds, not just for Intel, but the world at large. What kind of future do you want to live in? It’s an interesting question to ask, to be certain.
It’s important to remember that the future is a pretty fluid place, and that even Intel doesn’t really know what any specific eventuality is going to entail. In fact, it’s hard to know what their own products are going to be like in the coming decade – most tech enthusiasts remember the case of the Pentium 4. Several years ago, when Intel played up the Pentium 4 game, they forecast the idea that within a few years, they’d be able to scale the architecture up to a whopping 10 gigahertz clock speed.
That clearly never happened. In fact, it was discovered that the micro-architecture suffered from massive power inefficiencies as the clock speed pulled ever higher – the company could never reach the planned speeds. It seems to have all worked out in the end, however, as the rise of multi-core computing, on its way to many-core computing, has resulted in impressive amounts of computational performance.
As we move into the next ten years of technological advances, the improvements made to the personal computer will likely change it far past what we think of today. Admittedly, drawing any conclusions depends on how correct some of Intel’s – and other companies’ – plans are in regards to when future milestones are reached – current plans to increase power efficiencies by 200 times or more could vastly increase the possibilities.
A smartphone more powerful than today’s hottest laptops? A laptop as powerful as a small cluster? A desktop that could perform weather modelling, all by itself? Who can be certain? Sound off in the comments – what do YOU think the future holds? What do you hope it does?
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