November 6, 2010

Good Kuniavsky quote on ubiquitous computing

The idea of a single general-purpose "computation" device is fading into the same historical background as having a single steam engine to power a whole factory, or a single electric motor to power every appliance in a house. As it fades, designers and developers have to learn to design smart things that serve the interests, abilities, and needs of people. We must create a practice of ubiquitous computing user experience design.

4 comments:

ZarPaulus said...

In a decade or two it seems like someone will be able to set off a small-scale Singularity by networking together all the computers in his house.

Duncan said...

Nothing new here.

Cars, washing machines, food processors, TV sets, telephone sets, musical instruments, automated teller machines, toys, trains, airplanes, etc., etc. contain a lot of specialized, embedded computers.

The remarkable thing is, that these computers are specialized, because (a) more and more of them are -- contrary to the past -- rather generally programmable computers, and (b) the vendors achieve differentiation and specialization through software using general purpose programming languages. Among other aspects, this holds the costs down.

The idea of a single general-purpose computation device is *not* fading -- it has already faded. Good morning, Mr. Kuniavsky.

ZarPaulus said...

And I suppose there's not as much profit in general-purpose computers. Eventually Moore's law will fail or personal computers (which will eventually be cell phone sized or smaller) will reach a higher level of processing power than most people will need so obsolescence won't matter.

Duncan said...

That "Eventually Moore's law will fail" -- well, everything comes to an end, only the wurst has two ends. But, considering latest research results it's more than ever an open question *when* this will happen.

A "higher level of processing power than most people will need" -- what people need is rather variable over time, and clever vendors -- see Apple -- create new need.

I expect, a lot of costumers will at some time in the future want their smartphones, pads etc. generate 3D output, for which these devices will need much more processing power than today.

And then, again for something most of us don't dream of.

... Or: If we want our computing devices interact directly with our brain, the most complex thing in the universe ...