Prophesying the Future of Digital Technology

February 2002
by Reid Goldsborough

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“If you can look into the seeds of time and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me.”

Shakespeare’s words are just as wise today, but this hasn’t stopped people from trying to divine the future.

 

The latest future-oriented computing issue goes by the overly broad moniker “Web services,” and the companies behind it–including Microsoft with its Microsoft .NET initiative and Sun with its Sun ONE initiative–would have you believe that your computing future lies in their hands.

 

A Web service is a computer program that resides not on your computer but on another computer that you connect to through the Internet. The promise is that you’ll be able to use any program no matter what type of computer you’re using, including a handheld PC or even one you wear on your wrist, no matter where you are.

 

Experts predict that it will be two or three years before Web services have any chance of replacing your word processor and other desktop applications. My prediction is that if they force you to cede control of your computing experience, they’ll fail. The personal computing revolution is about gaining control though customizability and personalization–not losing it.

Still the prospect of computing untethered without losing any functionality is compelling.

 

Here Comes Hal?

 

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