Old computers never die, they just lose their chips, or relevance as the case may be. It was 1988 when computer scientist Mark Weiser realized that the personal computer, which was at that time still in its youthful years, was headed for obsolescence. His crystal ball revealed a digital future where the new world order would include, “Ubiquitous Computing.” Instead of sitting in front of a computer that’s sitting on top of a desk, the average human would interact with numerous, small, connected, electronic devices, and some large devices too, that perform a variety of computerized functions. Now with better computer chips possessing larger storage capacity, the personal computer, or the shape and form of it, may just disappear.
Weiser once outlined that the purpose of a computer is to help humans do something other than compute, be an obedient yet unobtrusive servant and be calm. And what exactly is this calm technology of which he spoke? This is technology that fades away into the background, not demanding of our immediate attention. And back in 1995 when Weiser described calm technology much of it wasn’t really around. But now in the age of iPods, Smart Phones and most recently with Google TV and a smaller version of Apple TV, we have seen Weiser’s ideas in motion, though he didn’t live to see the day. Beyond that, there are among others, smart refrigerators, smart clothes, smart houses and smart cars – not those smart cars. All of these combined with cloud computing allow us to unhitch and let our computers fade into the background.
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