Interesting times ahead

About ten years ago I went to a breakfast presentation in which the now Hon Maurice Williamson MP made some very interesting predictions concerning the future of IT. At that time, the average computer had one thousandth the capability of the machines of today. In fact, Maurice pointed out that no computer then existed that could match the thinking capacity of a mosquito. However, thanks to electronic miniaturization through surface mount technology and consequential advances in processing speed and data storage volumes, he suggested that within 10 years, a computer would be created that could match the thinking capacity of a mouse.

Last week I read that a computer has recently been created that possesses the thinking capacity of a small mammal. We seem to be on track to see those early predictions come true. Within five years from now, according to Maurice, a computer will be created that matches the thinking abilities of a human being. That’s when things will really start to get interesting.

Apparently we humans are not very good at driving cars, trains and aeroplanes so, within 10 years, we may well be crossing the globe in pilotless aircraft and being driven to work by our laptops. In fact, a Google sponsored driverless vehicle has just travelled 300,000 miles in traffic, on standard roads, completely accident free.

Looking ahead, Maurice further predicted that 15 years from now, there will exist machines with the total thinking capacity of a city full of human beings. Added to that, Mr Williamson was also party to knowledge concerning the rapid advancement of medical technology. Driven by the advances in Information Technology, medical science is expected to contribute to a situation in which people who are in their thirties today could well live to be more than 200 years old.

Of course with computers doing all the piloting, driving and decision making, by 2162 you under-forties will have built, configured, programmed and maintained them. You may even have formed friendships with some of them. Either way, I suspect your career in IT will have been like mine – a fascinating journey into the unknown!