What Do You Think Computers Will Be Like In 2050?
Faced with the fluorescence of innovative products that we can find in the market today, some would say that the future is already happening at the tips of our fingers. But the development of new technologies indicates that what we saw in the early 21st century represents only the first steps of a period that, perhaps in the distant future, could be understood as a true coral reef for machines. It’s a fertile, lively, high-moving ecosystem that must totally transform the meaning we attach today to the word “computer.” To do so, organizations must conceive proofs of concept that are impactful enough to illustrate quantum computing’s potential but small enough that their conclusions can be verified through the use of traditional computing. Quantum computers are so complex, and so nascent, that there currently are only a few hundred highly skilled technologists on Earth who have the knowledge and expertise to actually program them.
The findings indicate that Americans view some occupations as being more insulated from automation than others – but that few of today’s workers consider their own jobs or professions to be vulnerable to this trend to any significant degree. Climate prediction and the stock market could benefit from this technology. Imagine what a quantum computer could do to calculate and analyze every single possibility in the stock market. This will reveal an accurate result in a short timeframe to help companies make better business decisions.
This is a debate well represented in films such as The Bicentennial Man of 1999, in which a robot played by Robin Williams begins to develop feelings attributed to humans and flees in search of freedom. Or the latest and less fanciful universe imagined by the film Her, 2013, in which a man, played by actor Joaquin Phoenix, develops a love relationship with the operating system of his computer, endowed with personality and feelings in the voice of actress Scarlett Johansson. If machines may or may not be able to interpret feelings with such level of acuity, this may be a matter of time and the evolution of artificial intelligence. Attitudes towards the government’s obligation to take care of workers who are displaced by automation vary strongly by partisan affiliation. Some 65% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents feel that the government would have an obligation to take care of workers who are displaced by automation, even if that means higher taxes for others.
In order to gain the quantum edge, first-movers must therefore know where to find them and how to partner with them in ways that seed learning and growth. Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (79%) think it’s likely that within 20 years doctors will use computer programs to diagnose and treat most diseases, with 21% expecting that this will definitely happen. Smaller majorities of Americans expect that most stores will be fully automated and involve little interaction between customers and employees, or that most deliveries in major cities will be made by robots or drones rather than humans (65% in each case). Conversely, fewer Americans (43%) anticipate that people will buy most common products simply by creating them at home using a 3-D printer. ▸ How humans interface with computers has evolved from keyboards and mice, to touchscreens, to the relatively recent speech recognition.
IBM has posted the videoof Gil’s talk and it is fairly short (~ 30 min) and worth watching to get a flavor for IBM’s vision of the future of computing. A portion of Gil’s wide-ranging comments, lightly edited and with apologies for any garbling, and a few of his slides are presented below. “There’s a dimension of that has to do with hardware innovation and there’s another dimension that has to do with algorithmic innovation. If you look at some very state of the art models, you can see some of the plot in terms of petaflops per day for training from examples of recent research work as a function of time.