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Blue Skies Thread, 30 years from now? in General; I'd like to ask some opinions about something that's been on my mind recently. Within the next thirty years, plastic ...
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    30 years from now?

    I'd like to ask some opinions about something that's been on my mind recently.

    Within the next thirty years, plastic will probably be the most expensive component in computers or tech-devices due to petroleum prices and shortages. Whilst I can envisage us getting power for transport and electricity from another source (such as nuclear), I can't see what will replace oil-based polymers, especailly as there is so little time to develop something completely different? Most plastics are thermosetting and cannot be recycled like thermoplastic can, so it's not just a case of having a good recycling program, as we can for aluminium.

    It's scary to think that within our lifetimes, after struggling to get technology into schools, that they may have to regress to pencil and paper. It's even scarier that I may not have a computer during my retirement - what would one do all day?!

    Any thoughts?

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    Cases could be made of metal like they were in the big iron days. We had proper computers then, not the toys we have today, computers made of steel plate not cheap and nasty plastic. Steel is recycleable and can have many different finishes applied. You could have a gleaming chrome plated case. Wood or stone are other possibilites, albeit expensive; both of which are available now. This page www.ecogeek.org/content/view/62/1/ has some lovely wooden examples. (Hate the blue lights!)

    We might also see the organic or the quantum state computer, but I doubt either will be in 30 years. Thirty years ago, when I started my computing career, it was said that binary would be out in 10 years time and computers would be tristate (base 3). I haven't seen any manufacturer offering a commercial tristate machine. We might also see more use of analog computing. I think that there are several financial problems which might be solvable using analog methods.

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    torledo (13th November 2008)

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    I really don't think this will happen within the foreseeable future.
    Most polymer precursors are currently obtained from oil, but thats only because its currently the cheapest way of doing it - theres always a way of making chemicals, for example the South Africans used to produce gas and oil from coal and brazil is famous for making ethanol from sugar cane (which turns out to be quite an environmental problem). Plastics can be broken down into usefull chemicals, again it's just prohibitively expensive to do so at the moment. The market will change but there will always be a way of producing pharmaceuticals/plastics etc, it will just get more expensive.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Re: 30 years from now?

    You never know in 30 years time people will be like "What’s Broadband?"

    Z

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    It's even scarier that I may not have a computer during my retirement - what would one do all day?!
    I came across a great portable learning device the other day. I think it was called a book.

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    We'll all be living on the moon; and be taking regular delivery of new materials, fabrics and alloys via Planet Express sent by aliens.

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    15 years ago I was told that 2Kbit was the maximum data rate that a telephone landline would support. When you consider how technology has evolved over the last 30 years I think it would be futile to guess what will happen over the next. I'll be 88 and probably still at work because my pension is worth SFA.

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    I think there probably will still be computers around in 30 years but I just cant see them being as widespread and probably what will be around will be old equipment that has been kept going

    And as for the internet, I cant see it really dissapearing as all the infrastructure is already there, but as energy becomes more expensive and we are forced to switch, energy for heating etc will be more essential than energy for servers and routers. But I can see some form of it carrying on because there will be areas with good potential for renewable energy

    After the age of oil I cant see how plastics could ever be produced in anything like the quantities they are now. Yes you can produce them from natural plants probably, but again in the future I can see land being prioritised for the growth of food rather than for fuel or chemicals

    Its worrying but its something we have to accept. Of course there will always be people who believe everything can go on growing forever, but it isnt possible. Within our lifetimes we will have to significantly simplify the way we live

    And those reasons are why things like 3 year replacement cycles annoy the hell out of me. Yes there economic benefits in replacing equipment but there shouldnt be. If the industry had any common sense we would be reusing and maintaining, and only upgrading when it was absolutly essential, not binning perfectly good equipment every few years

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    In 30 years I suspect the PC will be no more. The quantum computer will be the norm but the purchase and operating costs will be beyond the realm of most business. Computers will be centralised; a return to the big iron days. Ken Olsen will be proven right; actually he is right already! Perhaps quote wrongly attributed to Thomas J. Watson will come true too.

    Individuals will access the centralised systems using a thin client or similar. Access will be provided by companies similar to the current ISP. Man/machine symbiosis will be a contraversal issue in the future. Some will embrace it but the majority will reject it outright.

    For you wet behind the ear whippersnappers :
    Ken Olsen (co-founder DEC) famously said "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
    Thomas J. Watson (IBM boss) was reputed to have said "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    Quote Originally Posted by unixman
    Ken Olsen (co-founder DEC) famously said "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home."
    A wise man indeed! The most useful home computer I had was the one that stopped the junk stashed under the stairs from spilling out. It did it's job perfectly for several years and never gave me any problems. Eventually it was tossed, along with said junk.

    Centralised computing accessed by something like a thin client is a fine idea. The big obstacle is overcoming the PC mind set instilled by M$.

    Man/machine symbiosis. Some will be enamoured by the technology and embrace it, accepting substandard quality and performance in the name of "convenience", just like they do with their mobile phones. The camera quality of a mobile is appalling. A Minox is just as portable and has far superior picture quality and this is the reason one is part of 007s tool kit. We investigated man/machine symbiosis when I was at uni in the 1970s. The obvious use is something like switching on the TV and tuning to your favourite channel as you enter your lounge, or the ATM machine knowing who you are without inserting your card. I'm quite happy to switch on the TV manually and push the buttons on the ATM machine.

    It is conceivble to download your memories to computer, allowing them to be preserved forever or so that someone else could live your experiences. Great! An endless supply of Z list celebrities, ready for the gullible.

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    Bioplastics? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic

    The PC will be a specialist item - for gaming and video work. There will be an internet, TV, media 'hub' in the home.

    Some of the comments remind me of the Hitchhikers Guide character Gogrilla Mincefriend (from wiki)

    "An enterprising chap who addressed the problem of elevators refusing to operate because they had been afforded a degree of prescience (to facilitate their operation by allowing them to be waiting for you before you've even decided you want to go up or down a floor) but consequently become terrified of the future, and so taken to hiding in basements.

    Mincefriend became very wealthy when he patented and successfully marketed a device he had seen in a history book: the staircase."

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    Re: 30 years from now?

    In 30 years time we're all going to be dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tech_guy View Post
    In 30 years time we're all going to be dead.
    Always nice to see the up-beat contributions to the discussion

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    For those who haven't seen it yet...

    TeacherTube - Shift Happens

    If I've got the right version, it includes a good bit on moores law and where computers will be in 2050. Can't wait!

    As for 30 years time - I'll be retired, and a long way off dead hopefully!!!

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Back to consoles (all devices are consoles) working on a central world government computer system.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 13th November 2008 at 12:58 PM.



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