Thoughts about the future

    imageIn the comments on the recent post “ We don’t need this, ” many readers said that nobody needs a lot of gigabytes / gigahertz / cores, and evil corporations such as Intel invent all this in order to sell new processors. But I think that all the same, in the future, high-performance computers (and, accordingly, programs for them) will be in demand by a wide range of users. You just need to look at them wider. Not as an opportunity to run more programs or to calculate something faster several times, but as an opportunity to fundamentally change the interaction of a person with a machine and between people themselves.

    Under the cut - my vision of the computer future of the next 10-20 years, in which, oddly enough, there is a place and parallelism :-).

    So, the main argument of the supporters that “Intel would only have to sell multi-core processors” is that the power of a modern computer is enough for a home user. What are you guys talking about? How much is enough when it is TOTALLY insufficient.

    I believe that the main direction of development of modern computers is to increase the convenience of communication and joint work of people. Services like Skype and ICQ, which were unthinkable in the early 90's, are of course good. But those who actively use them understand their shortcomings. For example, those who use the services of freelancers have repeatedly received not what was expected as a result of the discussion. Because it is difficult to explain with text messages (and even video) that a person can explain in person. But if you had a personal meeting in the virtual world?

    Today, virtual reality technologies still exist only in books and films. Lukyanenko’s depth from the “Labyrinth of Reflections” was “created” back in 1996, and even then it was not something new, but a completely obvious idea lying on the surface. I think that over the next 10-20 years we will see the first, although perhaps not very successful attempts at mass implementation of this idea.

    So, my version of a brighter future.

    You wake up in your apartment in Zamkadye. Do your morning run, take a shower, have breakfast (if you like to have a snack in the morning), go to your home computer and put on a helmet ... I don’t know if the helmet will actually be needed for virtual reality, but it helps to "plunge" into the atmosphere and disconnect from external irritants.

    And here you are in a virtual world that is completely three-dimensional and represents an ordinary city. Of course, you can immediately find yourself in a virtual office, but no one does it. Because when the need to get to work in reality disappeared, it turned out that the body used this time to rest and switch between tasks. So you quickly (AND WITHOUT TRAFFIC!) Get to your virtual office, sit down at the virtual computer and start:

    • develop a website design;
    • Program the web service logic
    • Create a new desktop application using Microsoft or Intel tools (product placement must be here!);
    • write a new article for a magazine or website;
    • selling VERY useful things on the phone by calling people.

    In general, lead a normal office life. At the same time, your office will be exactly like the Google office from the neighboring Habra topics. Or do you want an Intel office ? No problem, change the skin of the virtual office. It doesn’t matter that you work at Horns and Hooves LLC with a staff of 5 people - the basic version of the virtual office contains the skins of the Google, Intel, Microsoft and the US Department of Defense offices (they always grease different projects, campaigning for military service) .

    On your working computer in virtual reality (I would like to call it a virtual computer, but the term is busy VMWare, Virtual PC, etc.), all ordinary applications from your real computer are launched. That is, programmers will be able to run their favorite Visual Studio environment both on a real computer, and on that of virtuality. And this is correct, since no one will rewrite all software from scratch so that it works in virtuality.

    If it is more convenient for a programmer to work in virtuality with two monitors, then there is no problem - for $ 5 you can buy it, and for $ 10 you can buy a second computer in virtuality. Why in the virtual world pay money for a virtual computer? The answer is for what real money is paid for a miracle sword in a WoW class game. Or because you will need to increase the capacity leased in the center of virtualization. After all, a virtual computer also requires resources.

    At the same time, in a virtual office you are not sitting alone, but communicating with colleagues, observing their behavior. And although out of the five senses (eyes, ears, tongue, nose, skin), only two are still available in virtuality (eyes and ears, tongue can only be shown), communication in such a world will be much more convenient than existing video conferencing systems.

    Will all this be calculated on a working computer? Of course, there will be powerful servers, but we must assume that the user working machine will have to work hard. Indeed, for example, the work of applications in the virtual world will still be carried out on a real user machine, and not on some distant server.

    All this is necessary for more convenient interaction of people at a distance. After all, there are already many companies distributed, if not countries, then cities. And even within the company of one city, such a thing will allow people to work from home.

    What technologies are needed to realize this future?
    1. High speed internet.
    2. Application virtualization (mapping from a real computer to a virtual one) - now it seems to be there, but, for example, problems with graphics virtualization have not yet been resolved.
    3. Powerful multi-core processors that will allow you to virtualize multiple applications, and at the same time shorten the picture without brakes.
    4. Complex (technically), but easy to use tools for application developers, which will allow you to create the appropriate software and hardware infrastructure.

    The implementation of all this without multi-core processors is in principle impossible. No increase in the frequency of individual processors will not achieve the necessary performance.

    How much longer can we expect such a beautiful future? As I already wrote, I think 10-20 years. To date, the beginnings of this are in World of Warcraft, Second Life, but this is clearly not enough. By the way, it is quite possible that the technology of virtual worlds in the form described here is implemented by some relatively small (up to 100 people) company, which will be bought by a monster like Microsoft or Google. What is not an idea for a startup?

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