The Future of Personal Computing [Predictions]

Computing is evolving at an exponential rate, changing the world as it progresses. The first personal computers only appeared in the early 1980s, and the first Internet-enabled mobiles appeared in 1996. Now, the mobile internet is set to dominate the computer world (and the internet itself) for the foreseeable future. Nobody knows exactly how it will evolve, but these predictions may provide a realistic vision of the next 20 years. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my predictions.

Year 2014

By 2014, mobile devices replace the desktop as the most important way of accessing the web. Search engines decline in importance as an increasing number of people use apps to access their data online. Voice-activated devices and virtual assistants amplify this trend. Near field technology allows consumers to pay for every day items with their mobile devices. Cloud computing becomes the most common method of storing data online. Desktop computer and hard drive sales plummet.

Year 2017

The “Internet of things” is born as household devices, industrial machines, and even vehicles start to come online en masse. Network infrastructure company Cisco Systems estimates that there will be 15 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015. The internet of things allows people to shop for groceries automatically, and for the goods to be delivered by driverless vehicles, operated via GPS.

Personal computing is now almost entirely mobile, and the web is virtually ubiquitous. Free WiFi coverage blankets urban areas. At home, all devices are connected to the web via a central hub. The high-definition television screen is the main home interface. It is operated almost entirely via gestures and voice. The first holographic systems emerge for sports fans.

Coins start to disappear as mobile payment systems become the societal norm.

Year 2032

Nearly all manufactured goods contain swarms of microscopic chips. These chips contain nano-generators that allow them to function at all times, without an external power source. Chip swarms affect the lives of people throughout the world. For example, personalized health management and highly efficient vehicles all are enabled via nano-tech. These advancements represent the final nail in the coffin of personal privacy.

Personal computers are now almost invisible and are controlled by thoughts. Screens have largely been replaced by holographic technology and high-definition projectors.

Computer processing power now matches the capacity of the human brain. Simple household tasks are carried out by robots, and most surgery is mechanized. The first small-scale robot battles are only a few years away, as nations invest in armies of drones and automated vehicles.

The Road Ahead

Making predictions about the future of computing is difficult because our concept of the future is defined by existing technology. New developments can change the direction of the entire computing industry in a matter of months. For example quantum computing may become reality on a larger scale and change computing forever. Or something else may come along that’s even more advanced. No matter what happens, we are only ever one step away from being able to exceed our imaginations. I personally can’t wait to see it all unfold in the years ahead!

Image Credit: 1000Voices on Deviant Art

  • Brett

    These chips contain nano-generators that allow them to function at all times, without an external power source.

    What are they using to generate power, then?

    • Jason Carr

      There’s actually mechanical energy in our environment that can be converted to electrical energy (with movement). This is one method. If used in humans, these could perhaps be powered by the heart. Scientists have actually successfully experimented using both methods successfully. 20 years down the road, perhaps other methods will be used. Thanks for reading Brett! 🙂

  • Mat Hutchisnon

    “By 2014, mobile devices replace the desktop as the most important way of accessing the web”

    I sure hope not! I like big 25″ screens and high resolution images, Going to small screens is a huge step backwards.

    “Computer processing power now matches the capacity of the human brain”

    No way- it will NEVER happen. I study neuroscience and we know nearly nothing of the brain and its true complexity. One neuron alone can do more than a CPU, not in terms of spped but in permutations.

    All this internet connectivity cpipe dreams are hackers dreams too.

    I predict people will become more and more stupid as they are now, as we out source thinking. We are doomed.

    • Jason Carr

      There are currently 1.2B mobile users world-wide accounting for 8.49% of global website visits. This trend shows no signs of slowing down. While the 25″ monitors aren’t going anywhere, mobile devices will be the predominant method used to access the web…only a matter of time.

      I won’t debate the other issues with you and stand by my predictions for various reasons. Guess we’ll see how it all unfolds over the next two decades. Thanks for reading Mat!

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