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Ask HN: A New Decade. Any Predictions?
75 points by DanielBMarkham on Jan 1, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 189 comments
Since everybody is talking about predictions for 2010, I thought I would bump it up a notch. Anybody care to make some predictions about what we'll see in the coming decade (2010-2019)?

I'll try a couple.

- Major changes will happen in Iran, one way or the other. The current trajectory they are on does not seem sustainable for a decade.

- Ubiquitous computing will finally arrive, with smart cards/RFID on our bodies seamlessly interacting with computers in our environment. As you walk up to your refrigerator, for instance, you're logged in and presented with a customized display. Same goes for the car or the entertainment surface at the Dentist's.

- Flat panel displays will not drop to rock-bottom. Instead, a new generation of 2160 and 3240p 3-D panels will appear for consumer setting. Rock-bottom 10-20 inch panels will stabilize in the 50-100 range and stay there. Sorry, no panel/OLED wallpaper, at least not cheaply in the coming decade.

You guys have any?

Ubiquitous mobile/wireless internet integrated into even very trivial consumer goods, with close to 100% coverage across the civilized world. A significant fraction of ordinary consumer goods simply won't work in "dark" zones. The gap between 1st and 3rd world countries will widen as a result - take a modern computer into backwoods Africa and it's a paperweight.

Google succeed in forcing the mobile providers to be commodity data pipes. They scream blue murder, try to cartel up, but Google breaks the cartel and several big names are forced out of the market.

Ebooks defeat paper books. All high street bookstores go bust. Rampant book piracy throws the copyright war into overdrive. Despite international treaties and draconian law, the pirates win.

Electric cars become fairly common. A destructive feedback loop starts for gasoline fuel: lower demand, lower profit, vendors go bust, less availability, monopoly prices, lower desirability. The gasoline economy is brittle because it has high fixed costs, a complex supply chain, and its power source isn't fungible. As with film versus digital cameras, the result is an exponential crash in the desirability of gasoline cars, with mass conversion to battery-electric and collapse of the oil industry. Government greenhouse warming policies will continue to be useless, but they'll be eclipsed by events. The big panic will be the overstraining electricity grid. Residential grids were not specced to fuel everybody's car at once.

Driverless cars will appear. As they move down from the high end to the mainstream, they'll make taxis cheap enough that private car ownership starts to become quaint. Eventually, driving your own car will be considered selfish risk-taking, and banned on public roads.

* Still no fusion power.

* Microsoft sells large parts of itself in order to be able to focus on its core competencies (just like IBM did)

* Someone will make an actually usable e-book reader.

* During the second half of the decade, the Chinese bubble will burst. This will be a quite heavy shock. A lot of people will lose a lot of money. A younger/more populist group of politicians will assume power in China.

* Brazil will become a real powerhouse.

* Hugo Chavez & his friends will be removed from power in Venezuela.

* Still no Duke Nukem Forever.

* 'Minimal Techno' will finally die / go out of fashion.

* Lady Gaga will be the new Madonna.

* Functional programming / dynamic languages will go out of fashion. People still using them will be judged as incompetent programmers by the people who moved on to the new fashionable programming paradigm(s). At the same time, huge corporations will embrace functional programming / dynamic languages and third world universities will start focusing on them in their courses.

* Google will experience change in management. From there, it will be downhill for them (at least for the rest of the decade).

* Surprisingly enough, Apple will still stay relevant even though Steve Jobs will have to leave his position due to health problems or something else.

That's what I could come up with off the top of my head. Feel free to disagree / rant / do name calling, this is not a serious thread anyway.

> During the second half of the decade, the Chinese bubble will burst.

I agree. As a result, Chinese-American co-dependency crumbles like a bitter divorce, the world falls into war, inclusive of even the most pacifist, post-military states. On the upside, a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter moves anthropogenic global warming to the back burner and spawns a generation of Mad Max-style entrepreneurs among the ten-million or so human survivors. Surviving software engineers relish the opportunity to rebuild lost infrastructure "the right way this time"---including a transactional, secure, well-formed, rule-based, semantic world-wide-web---while the less-gifted turn to secondary issues like clean water, shelter, food, energy, medicine, and transportation.

Internecine fighting erupts amongst the software clans over whether certain symbols are separating or terminating and whether or not the name of the god of modification is spelled with two letters or five. The dehumanized masses turn on the dithering software clans and their IT crowd supporters, demanding to have their souls restored from failed exchange, facebook, gmail, and twitter servers. A small nomadic clan clad in denim and mock turtlenecks seeks the legendary Cupertino Stone in the wasteland of New Gorgoroth (mostly between the 85 and the 280), but finds only the unpublished "Objectivist-C Manifesto" and shiny discs inscribed "Dylan DR1".

Also, either Megan Fox or Jessica Biel is nominated for best supporting actress.

  * Someone will make an actually usable e-book reader.
What are the drawbacks with the kindle? (I have been considering buying one, recently.)

I seriously think that while the kindle is pretty good, it's like the mp3 players before the iPod or smartphones before the iPhone. It's an electronic version of an existing business model but doesn't really exploit the possibilities of such a device. I expect to see someone coming up with a reader that provides a reading experience like dead tree books do while combining it with a convenient Spotify-like flat fee / unlimited use service, like a digital library.

I'm very passionate about reading books and I'd fork out 10-20 dollars a month (maybe even $30) without hesitation for a service that allowed me to conveniently read pretty much any book whenever and wherever I want without having to go to the bookstore / library or having to wait days for Amazon to deliver it while not feeling being ripped off because of having to pay as much for an e-book as for a dead tree one. Here's your startup idea.

Thanks for the clarification.

The display isn't bright enough.


a Nook

I'll take the bet on Duke Nukem Forever coming out. Or at least some first person shooter using the Duke Nukem IP. Let's say 300 yuan, payable by Paypal on January 1st, 2020 or earlier if the game comes out?

I'll have to agree with you. Duke Nukem Forever will come out as a downloadable contend for like 10€.

What will be the new fashionable programming paradigm(s)?

Who knows? It probably exists already but it is pretty much under the radar right now. People dismiss it as 'complete rubbish' at the moment if they have heard about it at all.

Heh, Prolog?

Also, this decade sees the beginning of the "pension bomb" - the demographic bulge of post-war baby boomers crossing the threshold into retirement. It's fairly easy to predict that there will be pensions scandals, with some pensions companies going bust or paying out far less to recipients than had been originally advertised. Also I predict the beginning of large supermarket scale retirement homes/complexes/compounds, where economies of scale can reduce costs of elder care.

Why was the state capable of taking care of these people from the ages of 0-20, but cant take care of the same group in their old age?

Why was the state capable of taking care of these people from the ages of 0-20

It wasn't and didn't?

Because a brand new body is easier to maintain than a broken-down old one.

To provide a frank example, look at a car.

I think it's a lot more complex than that: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20050601.htm

Ubiquitous computing will finally arrive, with smart cards/RFID on our bodies seamlessly interacting with computers in our environment. As you walk up to your refrigerator, for instance, you're logged in and presented with a customized display. Same goes for the car or the entertainment surface at the Dentist's.

I wrote my PhD on ubiquitous computing, and I can tell you that I heard "this is the year" for ubicomp every single year I spent writing it. I finished it last year, and stuff I wrote back in 2002 was still relevant. It's an incremental design that will slowly, slowly come, but nothing dramatic anytime soon, even across a decade. I'm hopeful there'll be decent advances though.

Network analysis and data mining will claim their first major political scalp.

That'll be a watershed moment: the politics of information are going to start being the kind of core liberal issue that environmental issues currently are.

Hopefully network analysis/data mining laws/politics will be handled with a little less FUD, a little less grandstanding, and a little more efficiency than we're seeing with climate change politics...

A habitable (to some life, not necessarily to human life) extra-solar Earth like planet is discovered by 2020.

I wish I could upvote you ten times.

This is the one thing I really want to see in my lifetime. Habitable extrasolar planets discovered. The more the merrier. I'd like to see hundreds of them within a 100 light-year radius or so. Enough that it hopefully awakens some kind of long-sleeping drive for mankind to explore.

Contact with some sort of intelligent alien life is the stretch goal :)

I'm very curious to see the preliminary Kepler results announced on the 4th, though I think if they actually found any small rocky planets the results would have leaked already.

My timeline is that Kepler has discovered hundreds of rocky planets in the habitable zones of their suns by 2013. This sets off the public imagination and NASA and friends have the funding to design and launch Kepler Mark II around 2017 though with enough funding it could be faster. Maybe 2023 or 2024 is a more realistic timeline for confirming a planet's habitability to >95%.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1014934... refers briefly to a potential type of oxygen, CO2, water, and methane detecting telescope.

As for the stretch goal, maybe Alpha Centauri does have life. If it does have a potentially habitable planet, we are definitely going to know within five years. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_long_shot/

re. the 'stretch' goal:

It all boils down to one question only: how common are the conditions that lead to life? The statistics of that are that we think that if it is possible it will happen. But that doesn't mean that there will be an evolutionary path leading to intelligent life.

Intelligence is not some kind of 'goal' that evolution works towards.

Alien intelligent life could be as alien as Dolphins are, we really can't seem to do much with that other than prove that they are sentient by some arbitrary measure.

I don't agree, but I don't disagree. It may be something evolution works towards, but only in highly-competitive environments?

I think that's one of the things that would be so profound about contacting some intelligent life. It would start giving us empirical data on all of these questions we currently have: Does life necessarily evolve towards intelligence, what similarities all intelligent life has, does all intelligent life continue evolving towards some sort of machine intelligence, how commonplace is intelligent life, does intelligent life in the universe mimic any of our previous social structures, like liege-serf system, are we currently being isolated on purpose, if so why etc.

So let's say we find a bunch of planets with carbon-burning industrial societies, but no FTL travel, and nothing beyond that. Is there some sort of limit in place?

I'm not looking for ET contact to answer any questions, but to begin the asking of a whole lot more interesting questions.

Though, imo, not before we figured out some energy efficient technologies. Otherwise, we'd be spacefaring nomads, migrating when we've grazed and razed.

Not exactly in the spirit of your prediction, but such a planet was found in 2007: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso0722/

It has not been confirmed to have water, but the temperature is right for it and it's otherwise in the "habitable zone." I'd go along with your prediction but amend it to mean habitable by humans - that would be incredible news!

-I think this is finally going to be the post-PC decade. The evolution of SmartPhones, set tops, cloud computing and other mobile devices is going to make the PC redundant for most people. By the end of this decade I could see the PC being exclusively a business tool or power user tool.

-We're going to have some major Internet growth pains. We haven't prepared for the bandwidth on-slaught of IP video and we haven't moved fast enough on IPV6. In the US at least our broadband infrastructure is held hostage by corporations looking to maximize profit with little regard for quality of service and tons of conflict of interest as a content provider.

Googles turnover exeeds Microsofts by 2015, if not earlier.

As for the displays the 30" screens already do 2560x1600, they're still a good bit of money but they'll be affordable within 2 to 3 years (and some people already think they're affordable).

The decade that parallel processing became commonplace

the end of 32 bit computing.

Some unknown manufacturer will make a tablet-phone-musicplayer hybrid and score.

> the end of 32 bit computing.

I'd qualify that one, as the "embedded" world tends to hang on to older stuff for a long time. I don't see, for instance, mobile phones going to 64 bit just yet...

Ok, as requested: the end of 32 bit computing for consumer pcs and server platforms.

So all mainstream machines not being mobile or embedded devices will be 64 bits by the end of the decade (and plenty of those will be too, but you are right, not all of them).

I thought that it was fairly obvious that that is what I meant, after all, we are today also able to buy 16 and even 12 or 8 bit cpus for embedding. But even most mobile phones and pdas are already on a 32 bit platform these days.

the end of 32 bit computing

I wonder how long it will be before 128 bit is the new 64 bit?

4004 1971, 4 bits, 740 Khz

8080 1974, 8 bits, 2 MHz

8086 1978, 16 bits, 5 MHz

80386 1985, 32 bits, 12 MHz

AMDK8 2003, 64 bits, 1 GHz

Only 'x86' parts, if you look at other architectures (for instance 68k) then the dates will be quite different.

The interesting part about that list is that if the clock frequencies had continue to increase I'm fairly sure that the 32 bit model would have been taken a lot further up before going for 64 bits.

So it seems as though the widening of the datapath is to some extent used to offset the limit on CPU frequency.

64bit hasn't really become common place despite being around for years.

It's a trade off between performance and storage, and I think we'll probably settle on 32bit for the next 10 years in consumer devices anyway.

Just my 2c

You need it to take advantage of 4GB+ of memory really - so that's most systems you see in shops already. 64bit took off in Enterprise systems (IBM/Sun/SGI etc.) where it was common to have 4GB+ of memory years ago. The Desktop is next. 64bit will come to mobile/embedded when they have 4GB+ of memory.

The Windows and Mac OS ecosystems (particularly drivers) need to catch up with 64bit support, currently this is still spotty which is inhibiting adoption. Linux support driver support for 64bit is excellent due to most drivers being open source - but most people are not using Linux.

You don't need 64bit to take advantage of 4GB+. Only really necessary if you want to address 4GB+ at the same time in the same process.

Yes I know. But if you are running a game on a PC with 8GB of memory and the game can only use 4GB of that (actually 2.7GB in windows), it's not really taking advantage of it, is it?

Also consumer versions of 32bit Windows don't support PAE so only see 4GB of memory (actually 3.5GB after memory mapping of hardware devices) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension and http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778(VS.85).aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IA-64 came out in 2001, although it was something of a huge failure.

The Itanium instruction set didn't exactly maintain backwards compatibility with the x86 instruction set.

I think he added that after my comment, although I'm not positive.

Nothing was added or removed after your comment.

Oh, guess I just wasn't paying attention then... got a nasty cold.

Ouch... hope you get better soon then, that can really ruin a week or more if you're unlucky. I hate that feeling, when your brain turns to mush and you can't think clearly.

-Unauthenticated free wifi becomes nearly extinct after a major hacking incident is traced to Panera Bread (or similar) and a court rules that companies are liable for the actions of those on their free wifi networks. Realizing this, companies force authentication on everyone or turn off their wifi all together.

-Technology continues to move toward extending our proprioception as we invent solutions that give us continual awareness of our loved ones, their location, and emotional state as if they are a part of us.

-Tracking your children electronically becomes a social norm to the extent that not tracking them is considered somewhat negligent.

-By the end of the decade, the phone is the personal computer.

-External brain-computer interfaces make progress, and typing begins to be replaced by the end of the decade.

-BPA and pthalates are finally banned from the food and personal grooming categories.

-In the later half of the decade, Steve Jobs realizes he is in spitting distance of toppling the Microsoft business near-monopoly and by hook or by crook, puts out the business apps, email servers, etc needed to finish the job. In spite of this, the transition takes years.

-People become more privacy aware after an image search engine with facial recognition is popularized and they realize that any picture ever posted of them by anyone is in the search result for their name. People become less willing to let others take compromising pictures as if they become posted, the link back to them will be made.

-A company makes a practice of hiring experienced older workers that other companies won't touch at sub-standard pay rates and the strategy works so well they are celebrated in a Fortune article.


-The technology that will eventually 'cure' cancer is invented--essentially a find and kill tool for a genetic signature. Signature creation is built for more and more cancers and becomes more dynamic with added logic over time.

Though I don't agree with you for most of those, upvoted for the child tracking point, as much as I hate to see it. Looking at the trends of my brother's middle school, 6th grade is the year you get a cell phone -- and this is by no means the wealthiest middle school in our area.

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> unalone accepts Pulitzer for blog

That was really nice of you.

> Ask HN: What was Microsoft Office?

We can only wish...

19 and 4 are mutually exclusive for a single universe.

Edit: if there is a way to work Elon Musk in there somewhere that would be good, I have a feeling he's going to make some big waves in the next 10 years but I haven't a clue how.

> unalone accepts Pulitzer for blog

That was really nice of you.

I was going to say: So in 2019, the Pulitzer's continued its devaluation?

Also: A chuckle for "Mark Zuckerman".

Excellent! This is why I love News.YC. It's all about the execution, not the idea. I didn't even have the idea to do something like edw519, and I love him for doing it.

     8. Mark Zuckerman buys Portugal (worldnews.com)
          51 points by larryz 14 hours ago | 16 comments

NO WAY! Portugal has been for sale for centuries without any takers. I can't believe that will change in a mere 10 years!

(FYI, I am portuguese)

Recently I compared Portugal's GDP with the revenue of a couple of companies. A workforce of 5.52 million from a population of 10.71 million produces around $244.64 billion; Microsoft, Apple and Google combined employ around 148 thousand people and have $112.71 billion revenue.

So the point is perhaps that Facebook will make Zuckerberg (where does Zuckerman come from?) wealthy enough to be able to afford a developed yet relatively poor country, some time in the future.

That the example happened to pick Portugal is a funny coincidence (I'm portuguese too). For those who don't know, mocking the country's politics and economy is the all-time favourite national sport here.

(BTW: the source for the numbers was Wikipedia)

You can't really compare the output of a tech company with that of a country. For instance, according to your example:

      Microsoft, Apple and Google combined employ around 148    
      thousand people and have $112.71 billion revenue.
That boils down to about 750k per employee, much, much higher than the GDP per capita of any country in the world. Even the US, with a labour force of 155 Million and a GDP of 14.441 Trillion, or about 93k per worker (or 44k per capita), still about 8x (17x) less than the MAG trio.

Sounds about right.

you're obviously also fairly unaware of the history of your own country - both when it comes to politics and economics. May the new year be an opportunity for you to man up.

I love how Paul Graham is President-elect and still submitting stories to HN.

Don't they have to change the laws for pg to became President? I thought you had to be born there to become their president?

Yes, a person must be born on U.S. soil to become president.

U.S. soil is sufficient, but not necessary.

I thought he meant jgrahamc :)

This one really got me:

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       4 points by MarySmith 3 hours ago | discuss

Upvoted for reference to Woody Allen's Sleeper. And because it was brilliant. Now, about that Polaroid stock...

Brilliant! Made me laugh :) I especially like "What was Microsoft Office" and TechCrunch's post.

This is excellent. The best predictions you will read.

And it is a HN-influenced commentary on the habit of predictions themselves. Would that they all be consciously humorous rather than inadvertently humorous.

Great post -- really enjoyed that, and wish I'd thought of doing something like that.

But then you'd be Ed, and we already have Ed. Better to do something original!

So, what did you think of doing ? Now do that!

I predict (and hope for) a major turn back to simplicity in technologies. Multimillion-line software will go extinct like dinosaurs. Existing programming languages and platforms will gradually be replaced with ones so simple and elegant that one software component will be written and maintained by one to three developers and art designers and not a whole software company packed with managers and other unnecessary staff. Oh, and managers along with poeple who "understand" "software business" but not software will hopefully go extinct too.

You think that three developers and an art designer can singlehandedly write the software that runs a nuclear power plant, let alone Android or Apache? I think you're right in that we will see a continued rise in the prominence and impact of small software shops making single-purpose tools/programs, but large organizations aren't going anywhere, and they shouldn't.

As for getting rid of managers, that won't happen - and nor should it. In a lot of places there is management when there shouldn't be, but when you're working as part of a larger organization - say, more than ten people and/or three "departments" - good management (by someone dedicated to that role) is essential for success.

You think that three developers and an art designer can singlehandedly write the software that runs a nuclear power plant...

Yes I do and I know a case with a document management system created by one developer and one analyst, which is now used by the Government of one country, including ministries and the PM's office. The competing offers for the same Govt were from a few superhuge and well known software corporations, but they all lost it to that application.

but when you're working as part of a larger organization - say, more than ten people and/or three "departments" - good management (by someone dedicated to that role) is essential for success

Actually no. Producing self-contained, self-sufficient software component has, in principle, very little to do with the size of the organization that creates such components. Small departments can be under the same financial roof, but functionally such small groups will become more and more independent in the future I think.

Agreed. Although the successful one developer and one analyst almost certainly are wise enough to stand on the shoulders of giants - using an image-processing library here, an html parser there. Functional programming at the organization level: if you have to coordinate a lot of global variables nothing ever works right.

You sound like a manager.

I upvoted you because I HOPE you're right, not because I think you are right. Managers are like cockroaches... after the nuclear apocalypse they'll be the only ones running around... trying to find underpaid teenaged business analysts to write 86-page requirements documents to give to developers whose time is clearly too valuable to waste understanding business processes.

I have an idea similar to yours: in the far future, software will be ancient, largely bug free, and not be changed much over the centuries. Information management software will evolve to a high degree of utility and then remain static because why change bug free software that works perfectly. Operating systems may be easily themed, but there will be no need to change the core that works and has finally become bug free over centuries of infrequent bug fixes. Think of Asimov's "Spacers" society.

What we think of programming will evolve into using incredible high level scripting languages and frameworks. Programs will be very short.

I predict lots of people will make predictions, but we'll never go back to check and see if they were right.

Was there a 2009 prediction thread we can look at?

Fun website idea: a site where you register your predictions and a date you expect it to happen by, then when that date occurs people can confirm/deny your prediction. And perhaps you could make it a game by assigning points to predictions.

Ask HN: Predictions for 2009 -> http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=416530

Evaluating the results of that set concludes the following predictions:

-All predictions in the form of "X is going to die" have a >~90% probability of being false. The market tends towards diversification, fellows!

-~90% percent of "X is going to increase / decrease" are non-quantifiable (esp. technologies, and tool usage), and thus have a predictive power of exactly 0.

-Interestingly, there were a single quantifiable stock prediction ("I predict Apple stock goes up a lot."), and it also had merit (a 100% growth in 1 year, how's that fellows?); alas 1 datapoint does not make a trend. (while we're at it, anyone else noticing the 200% growth G produced over 2009?! )

-The rest of the predictions are either non-quantifiable, or have a massively sub-optimal prediction result.

In conclusion, strictly from a predictive perspective, these threads have exactly 0 merit. Have fun synchronizing your agendas :)

1. The death of x86, as we know it- x86 emulation for historical reasons. One of CPU/ GPU will have to beat the other.

2. The rise of mainstream functional programming.

3. By 2020, Chrome and Firefox each have 35% market share. Internet Explorer becomes insignificant.

4. PS4 gets something to thrash Project Natal. The death of the PC as a gaming platform.

5. The death of GCC. LLVM/ Clang will replace it.

6. Microsoft tries harder to be the be-all and end-all of all software/ services, and eventually starts losing market share in several weak sectors.

The death of the PC as a gaming platform.

what are you smoking?

Facebook will be the Google of the decade.

Google will be the Microsoft of the decade.

Microsoft will be the IBM of the decade.

Google will be the Microsoft.

Microsoft will be the IBM.

Facebook will be gone in 5 years, just like MySpace. Half a dozen companies will rise and fall in replacing it. The web will churn even faster than it did before. Computing power is reaching a tipping point and I think we haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet in terms of the volatility of the industry.

Imagine 10 years from now where the computer power of facebook, twitter, or hulu today is the equivalent of a $20/mo. Linode account. Imagine a 1U pizza-box server with a terabyte of RAM, a petabyte of redundant SSD storage, and hundreds of processor cores. That sort of technology is coming, and as it arrives it's going to transform the industry.

Imagine a world where it's possible to scale out to not just millions but billions of customers practically overnight and at low cost. It might be possible to have a million transaction per hour service used by half the population of Earth run by a single-person startup that is only just barely ramen profitable. These levels of technology are coming, and they will absolutely be game changers. Web service companies will be able to grow at tremendous rates, become dominant overnight in newly created markets and then be eclipsed the next month by some yet smarter company.

Twitter and Facebook rose faster than Google, Google rose faster than Apple, and Apple rose faster than anyone thought possible. Not only will the next companies rise even faster than Twitter/Facebook but the cycle will be shorter, and the next companies after that will rise even faster in an even shorter cycle, etc, etc.

Anyone who thinks they can predict what the state of computing or the state of the web will be in 2020 is just fooling themselves. It will be different than today, that's about as much as we can know for sure.

Probably the best prediction I've read on this thread.

Google will be the Microsoft of 1990-2000: scary, dominant, and increasingly hated (by nerds at least).

Agreed on Google and Microsoft; I don't think we have found this decade's Google yet.

Oh and another thing - quantum computing will start to surge around the third quarter of the decade. It won't be a general tool and it won't be used for cracking crypto - it will be doing things like data mining, bioinformatics, and solving variations on the travelling salesman problem.

In 2020, AMD's 3rd generation holodeck isn't quite like Star Trek, but the future video games and videoconferencing/telepresence systems make today's tech look like something out of the stone age.

Reference: AMD's product roadmap is for the first generation, holodeck in 2016. http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=3635

"Carrell believes it'll take seven years to be able to deliver a 180 degree hemispherical display (you're not completely surrounded by displays but at least your forward and peripheral vision is) with positionally accurate and phase accurate sound (both calculated by the GPU in real time). The GPU will also be used to recognize speech, track gestures and track eye movement/position."

At least one HN long-time contributor and non YC will launch a company that does stupendously well and he/she will reference HN as a vital resource/support in their formative days.

Videogames continue to evolve into real-time collaborative tools.

The 1st edition of The Primer (a magical in the Arthur C. Clarke sense AI device).

"A book that is powered by a computer so advanced it’s almost magical, and it teaches children everything. It does this through a fully interactive story. It teaches you how to read, how to do maths, it teaches you morals, ethics, even self-defence."


Here are my predictions (the lucky 7) for the next decade:

1. Our vision for our company will be in place, our startup won’t be a startup anymore, it will be a full fledged powerhouse that will change the way certain things are done (that’s still under wraps) for a lot of people. Our company will be an important part of people’s lives and over this decade we will flex and grow to meet their demands and expectations. Some of you in this forum will be working for us. You will be well paid and you like it.

2. The media as we know it now will fade away from people’s lives like the Oldsmobile and the Pontiac. Perfectly viable businesses, self-destructed, not important enough to qualify for taxpayer bailouts just gone from the scene like the horse and buggy. They had a good run but now it’s over.

3. WIFI will be free for everyone in all major metropolitan areas and it will be 100% taxpayer supported.

4. The governments (with the exception of China and Australia) will cease trying to regulate and criminalize the internet %100, and will allow it to exist and grow according to the will of those who use it and build it.

5. Taxes in California will be the lowest in the nation. Arnold Schwarzenegger will admit he has read HN on a daily basis for years to keep his spirits up about the economy but has never made a single post.

6. Politically, Generation-X will be in power--look out.

7. No more airline travel hassles in the USA, people will be able to board and fly without government restrictions or searches.

- Spherical displays ("you inside")

- Multi-core, with identical cores, is abandoned in favour of highly specialized cores (like organs in the body, or firms in the economy, due to the same pressures: "transaction costs" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Coase#The_Nature_of_the_...)

- The first real AI is created, but isn't taken seriously until it comes up with a revolutionary way of promoting soap powder, which advertising executives describe as "blindingly obvious" in hindsight. However, its success is tragically short-lived, as advertising is mmediately redefined as not requiring genuine intelligence. The search for real AI continues....

- a formal theory of the "good life", that maximizes human happiness - joy, contentment and satisfaction - is proposed. To almost universal chagrin, it is experimentally tested... and verified. A virtual reality game is created, based on the theory. Massive hoards of users are anticipated, but no one plays it. A competitor then creates a version with the suffering and pain removed. It's a runaway hit.

Death of traditional news industry.

If traditional news means printed onto paper and sold daily, probably yes. By 2019 newspapers may still exist, but will be a niche and relatively expensive retro media format for fashionistas.

Yeah. I can totally see that being a retro trend. Printpunk kids with twirly mustaches and top hats, hand-cranking broadsheets, and newsie girls with pink hair yelling "EXTRA! EXTRA!" on street corners.

Probably we could be there by 2014 though. People always underestimate this sort of thing.

This will be an unpopular opinion but I think that if anything blogging and social news will cool down whereas traditional media will just become more compact until both mediums compliment each other.

Traditional media won't sit back and watch their businesses succumb to bankruptcy. In its current state social media seems to be overly reliant on traditional media to first do the grunt work. Websites like Newsvine have attempted to create citizen journalism alongside its traditional counterpart and in some special circumstances it has worked, but for 99.999% of stories there's no difference between news and blogging. If traditional media ever feels threatened it will react against social media and without the references to stories that the traditional media brings both will lose out.

Until someone comes along and provides real news and journalism outside of the traditional media newspapers and news broadcasters will continue to make money. In the same way that people still want to listen to the radio when they have televisions I'll still want to read a newspaper on the bus or during my lunch break.

I'd love someone to poke some holes in my reasoning, but I cannot see any way for traditional media to lose out to the Internet.

I disagree. The problem with traditional media is that they define themselves as being exactly how they are today. And that doesn't leave a path for them to transform into what they could survive as tomorrow.

Big newspapers, for example, don't seem willing to succumb to the idea that regurgitating AP wire reports, the weather, national sports news, craigslist printouts, and Marmaduke strips need not be a part of their identity. All of those things are part of the glorious edifice of newspaperdom. And thus most newspapers will almost certainly hold on to that sense of identity until the bitter end, hoping that one of the many tiny little adjustments they keep making here and there will finally be their financial salvation.

Ultimately I think the vast majority of traditional media groups are just too wedded to their outdated identities to be able to shed their skin and become something utterly different.

Traditional media may still be doing a lot of the "grunt work" today in reporting, but that's already changing incredibly rapidly. And at the rate that independent reporters are sprouting up it may not be long until people stop peddling the line that blogs are just lazy consumers of the news that the traditional media creates (already that is not 100% true).

The thing that a lot of people don't realize is that a perfect replacement for the existent news media does not have to exist in order to "allow" traditional news media to fail. It is quite possible, and likely, that there will be a relative vacuum that will be filled in after the fact, not before.

hmm, traditional news industry? what's that ? :)

I understand that the word 'traditional' may be a bit confusing. Anyway, in my opinion, it's the News Industry before the Social Media. ..It's not a very precise definition, though.

He understood what you meant. He was implying that it's already practically gone.

Ah, such a nerd. Years aren't zero indexed. Technically next year is the start of a new decade. ;-)

Ah, such a nerd.

Everybody and their brother celebrated the turn of the century in the year 2000, and everybody agrees on this being a new decade except for the nerds. ;)

I forgot to include that Directed Edge will have a turnover bigger than Google by 2011, sorry :)

Only if by "technically" you mean "equally arbitrary". (Unless you have a good reason why we should take Gregory XII's 1582 papal fiat that gave us our baroque calendaring system to be less arbitrary than demarcating decades by years that end in zero.) While your at it, I'm curious why we should consider the years 2 through 1581 to be more "real" than the year 0: that is, if he could retroactively name them by decree, why can't we just establish a convention that the year 0 === 1 B.C? It's not like doing so would destroy any elegance the system might have.

>While your at it,

That's "you're" not "your" :-P

sp332 please have a seat right over here at digg.com

It's an arbitrary and nit-picky thread. It doesn't happen often around here but I'm going to enjoy it.

> Years aren't zero indexed.

They would have been if Mr Kernighan and Mr Ritchie had been running that project!

It depends whether you count from zero to nine, or one to ten

There was no year zero. Thus, since a presumed January 1st, 1 AD, there have been 200.9 decades.

(And for the record, I posted that out of humor, not pedantry.)

There was no Gregorian year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ..., or 1581, either. There is no contradiction in the calendar starting on a 1 but decades starting on a 0; either way the calendar actually started in the middle of a decade/century/millenium. True pedants should be insisting the decade starts on a 2, and centuries start on 82s!

You might have a point if the discussion mentioned the "second decade of the twenty-first century." A contiguous ten year period is a decade. Decades start and end all of the time without requiring nerd approval.

I suppose it's just a bizarre coincidence that this was posted on January 1, 2010 then, as opposed to (say) October 18, 2008?

This one is meta, but I think it will happen:

HN will split.

In addition I'd say most of the hacker crowd would migrate to the other non-yc site, which promises a more hacker oriented diet while banishing everything else with an iron fist.

which site?

We have 10 years to find out =)


News for Hardcore Hackers.

link does not work for me

It will go live around 2015 :-)

No biomedical predictions yet...

1. Everyone will have their full genome sequenced if they need some sort of medical treatment.

2. Healthcare will start to become cheaper due to personalized medicine and more data based decision-making.

3. Traditional drug discovery will be begin to be replaced by something: complex drug combinations, nanotech, ??

4. Some gene-therapy will be more commonplace.

5. End of cancer? infections? probably not

I wonder how long until we can run meiosis and fertilization in software and print a zygote?

People will be able to search their genomic sequence, and build a social network with similar people to them. Or a dating service based on your genetic sequence, designing a 'match' for most fit children.

sorry, mostly already implemented by 23andMe in 2009 and prior

They do not do complete sequencing (at least that's not the cheap option) as far as I know.

I don't see a dating site with genome sequence. What, pray tell, is the url?

dating service with genome sequence? like ratemygenome.com or what?

23andme does allow two partners to predict what features their child might have though.

biotech will become very important indeed (it was supposed to already past decade)

i don't t.hink full genome scan will become economically feasible though

It already only costs $4000 for a full genome. (Complete Genomics)

well, reportedly it's $4000+ only for materials.

but the point is - why would anyone want full genome for a specific procedure?

Not really for a procedure, but for more complicated, long-term disease: multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, etc. Knowing your genome will likely allow you to predict how you might respond to certain therapies.

America will pull out from Afghanistan, and the central government will fall before the decade ends.

This implies there is currently some functioning central government, which is mostly a polite fiction. One of Afghanistan's fiefdoms is centered on Kabul, and we pretend that one is the government.

It's not really native to Kabul area, but loosely representative of former Northern Alliance (read: Tajik). And Pushtu tribes (southeast of the country, Taliban demographics) are not happy about that and never going to accept it.

Maybe it could be better to really split Afghanistan by ethnic boundaries, then there could be hope of building some form of society in one of them. Of course, not going to happen.

This is almost a no-brainer. I also predict something similar to a rerun of the soviet withdrawal.

The government of America, or of Afghanistan?

Afghanistan of course. I would venture to guess that it'll still be Karzai by that time.

why not both?

- Facebook will not be displaced by another social network. It will IPO some time in the next two years.

- Twitter will become profitable, but not as much as some expect. It will be less profitable than Facebook, and may sell to another company.

- Microsoft will not have gone anywhere, though it will have shrunk and may have evolved into a consultancy company on the lines of IBM. Many businesses on the Mircosoft stack will remain on it. Although the desktop market will shrink, perhaps considerably between 2015 and 2020, desktops will still be sold to hardcore PC gamers and in the third world, and Windows will remain the OS of choice. Laptops will become the standard computer, and Windows will also retain the majority market share, though OS X, Linux and Chrome OS will all gain here.

- Internet Explorer will shrink, but won't go away. IE6 will hang around for a few years, but may die very rapidly in workplaces when some killer enterprise web application stops supporting it. It will remain widespread in East Asia, at least as far as 2015. Now that Google is advertising Chrome on billboards here in the UK, all that can be safely predicted about the browser market is that it'll be extremely competitive.

- Chrome OS or a similar operating system that relies on web access may grow extremely slowly at first, before rapidly gaining share amongst certain market segments. It will be most successful in places like cities that grant free municipial wifi access.

- Mobile phones won't replace computers, but increasing penetration amongst the poorest in developing countries, and increasingly capable handsets in developed countries (and developing countries) will make them a colossal juggernaut. Many of the really big changes, especially social changes, will be caused by mobiles.

- For any definition of 'success', there will be more tech startups reaching that level in the 2010s than in the 2000s. For example, there will be more than four startups of Youtube/Facebook/Twitter/Zynga proportions.

- In addition, at least one of the 'big' startups of the second half of the decade will have been possible with 2009 technology. By this I mean that people will still be discovering new potential for browser-based web applications built with current client-side technologies, which will remain ubiquitous, although new alternatives will appear.

- It will be an even better time to start a startup in 2020 than it is now. One of the key drivers of ease-of-starting-up-ness will not be new technology, but new platforms - like Facebook and viral marketing, but better; or that solve other problems like micropayments, customer development, retention, and so on.

- Hence, starting up will become a more attractive career option, though well-meaning family will still say "at least finish your degree first".

- As Moore's Law marches on, dynamic languages that are even slower than Ruby are likely to catch on. They may be to Ruby what Ruby is to Java, trading even more programmer time for CPU time.

- Having said that, Moore's law will at least hiccup and may stop altogether in the middle of the decade, as semiconductor feature widths drop below 11nm. Since this will likely encourage investment in quantum computing and nanotechnology, by 2020 we might be seeing something faster than Moore's Law.

- An international deal, of the kind that was aimed for at Copenhagen, will be reached over the next five years, though it might not be far-reaching enough to limit warming to 2 degrees in the long-term. (Despite the failure of the Copenhagen talks, it appears that world leaders almost universally recognize the need to take action over man-made climate change, though the various political problems will remain hard problems). China may not be part of such a deal, though the US likely will. Environmental disasters will begin to increase through the decade, as will disasters that are probably not caused by anthropogenic global warming but will be blamed by it anyway; this will provoke more of a push for action.

- Increasing fuel prices, and green taxes or incentives, will mean large shops will begin to replaced by warehouses, as traditional retail gives way to home delivery.

- China will not become a democracy, or even make moves in that direction. However the rule of law will strengthen, and some civil liberties will increase. Internet crackdowns will continue, and may increase in severity, and will still be rationalized by porn.

- Despite multiple new fads that purport to make software development ten times faster and error-free, it will remain a hard problem.

- You still won't be able to talk to your fridge, and gesture-based HCI will remain a fun gimmick.

- Virtual worlds like Second Life will remain niche, but World of Warcraft will pass 20 million users and a Facebook game or similar will pass 200 million users.

- The next big thing will be something totally unknown and unpredictable now, as user-generated content and social networking were in 1999. However, when it does appear, various 'experts' on it will spring from nowhere to lecture us all about it. It will still be really cool, though.

I am actually going to save a copy of this; although they all seem perfectly reasonable to me, from an objective standpoint I'm probably laughably wrong on at least 2/3 of them, and it'll be interesting to look back to see which ones they were.

Ebook readers will become ubiquitous in developed countries by 2012-2013 and then developing countries by 2020

(Of course all my predictions have +/- a couple of years of margin for error)

[EDIT: changed 2010 to 2020, guess I am still in 2009 mode]

I assume you meant developing countries by 2020?

Yup, edited in the post..

A new OS for the desktop is introduced and gains a significant following. And I am not talking about the next Microsoft/OS X/KDE incremental release. Probably based on a Linux kernel it would have a different security system, different application deployment and upgrade system. Pretty much taking all we have learned with desktops the past fifteen years and applying them without having to live with the existing legacy applications.

Both solar and wind power will be produced at a lower cost than power from coal and natural gas plants, and sold to customers when they want it, how they want it.

Here's hoping. I was also glad to see this prediction in response to my question: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/ai988/my_dad_is_a_theo...

Internet will become for most people in developed countries as important as it used to be for "early adopters" in the past.

IPv4 address space will be exhausted(I know, I know, a cheap shot).

Being more specific, do you think it will be impossible to buy a public IP address for any price?

If not, then in what sense will it be exhausted?

My definition for ipv4 adresses exhaustion is: IANA and RIR's have no more unallocated blocks, so everything is left to the free market. If its consequences will be catastrophic or imperceptible is something I can't imagine. I would love to see Google's and Facebook's risk models for the next years, since they are those who could be more severely hit by this.

Two main predictions:

Telerobots become commonplace. These will be not much more than a wheeled or tracked base with a pole and holder for a mobile phone. It allows you to visit people in their homes, visit companies or customers, provide some kinds of medical service and carry out inspections of remote sites.

Augmented reality becomes a major entertainment system. You wear something like an EyeTap device and 3D content is projected into your field of view. The device also contains a accelerometers (same as the Wii controllers) to monitor head pose. Highly compelling 3D content, including games, business charts, street directions, ads, and even "adult content" can be interacted with at any location using the headset, which is wirelessly linked to something like a mobile phone or laptop.


The second part of your post is actually the central thesis of William Gibsons 'Spook Country', he calls it 'locative art'.

We're already very much on the augmented reality trajectory if you look at the Johnny Chung Lee stuff, Google Goggles, Wii, etc. Once the original EyeTap patents lapse I think there will be a rush of consumer electronics companies implementing something very similar.

What's the big deal about the eyetap patents?

Augmented reality could also be used for political purposes. I imagine that as part of an election promotion campaign a photo-realistic avatar of the candidate sits opposite to you in your living room and says "look Bob, it's like this...". The avatar has access to your data and can completely customize the political message to your individual circumstances. This ultra personalized campaigning could be highly effective.

I predict that the various phone (land/cell) and television services will become commoditized into internet providers. There will be no need for service providers to setup a phone number or voicemail. You'll simply have devices that connect to wired or wireless internet service and use whatever application is preferred for text, voice, and video communication. I think something like a skype username will become the defacto way of identifying people, instead of remembering or storing phone numbers.

I'm sure the existing companies (verizon, AT&T, sprint) will fight this change (who wants their business to become a commodity?), but they'll only delay the inevitable.

i see: - some significant progress against cancer in the tenties and that being a big thing. - growth of a chinese middle class with a voice and some balls and independence - continued problems with islam, terrorists, and the first terrorist small nuclear detonation. - possible but not probably achievements in nanotech or energy on the tech front - wifi data collection on everything as the main tech change in this coming decade. internet and software basically a sideways moving bore and snore - privacy as an issue for the common user

> - Major changes will happen in Iran, one way or the other. The current trajectory they are on does not seem sustainable for a decade.

I feel bad for the situation in Iran. I also predict tumult, but with no real change for any amount of violence and bloodshed. This is because the people still want a theocracy, which will inherently be totalitarian. You can't have it both ways; demanding freedom along with a theocracy is paradoxical.

I disagree. I think the Iran could easily turn into the functional equivalent of a constitutional monarchy. Britain is still, on paper, ruled by the head of the Church of England after all.

Hmm, that's an interesting and good point. I think it's still a bit more messy for Iran, though. Their religious doctrine is much less tolerant of liberalism. That means citizens will have to choose between being pro govt. or pro "evil" liberalism. That's why it's hard for me to see change. Btw, I wonder how Britain handles issues of religious freedom if there is no official separation of church and state.

That's not the sense I got out of Iran during the summer uprisings. These are the same people who overthrew the Shah in 1979 because their religious doctrine is intolerant of tyranny. The justification for the uprising--and the sense that many people are turning against even the Ayotollahs--is that no man, not even an Ayotollah, is immune from the duty to govern justly. I'm not saying Iran is going to legalize gay marriage anytime soon, but they're liberal enough to get outraged over a stolen election or a peaceful protestor shot dead in the streets.

When you talk about the Shah being overthrown in 1979, yet 30 years later we still see a tyrannical govt. in Iran, it's exactly the point I'm making. Religious rules inherently will be interpreted by man, which is the danger of a theocracy. Who leads if Iran's most prominent opposition leader, Mousavi, with his more liberal views dies? Worse yet, what happens if Mousavi succeeds in becoming president only to be replaced years later by an Ayatollah under the reasoning he is straying too far from the religious path? All of the bloodshed would have only bought a few years of this brand of "freedom". Said another way, how can one truly be free if that freedom is subject to be conditioned or revoked on the whim of just a few men?

Widespread adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop. (Prompted by...)

Widespread adoption of LISP by developers. (Both of which cause...)

The Singularity! (But, sadly, Ray Kurzweil dies a few days before the Singularity happens.)

Okay, okay, prediction is a mugs game.

Democracy in Iran would be nice. I'm not sure why I need a customised personal display on my refrigerator. Cheaper displays and other computing devices would be nice - as would a stable, clean energy supply to power them with.

Reasonable timeline estimates I've heard for singularity precipitating events (human uploading, human level AI) are in the 15-30 year range weighted early, and these aren't handwaves meaning "we don't know", but, respectively, predictions from the microscopy/neuroscience/compute-power needed to scan and emulate a brain, and from the neuroscience/compute-power needed to figure out the brain's abstract algorithms and copy them.

Still outside the range of one decade. Call this one "prelude to singularity".

You'll have to link brain emulation to an increase in intelligence though. For all you know a simulated brain is going to end up being retarded or anti-social or pathological.

Neither of those would have any measurable effect on how we live, the 'superhuman intelligence' is actually the least likely outcome, at least in the beginning of this.

It might happen, but I don't think it is very likely.

Brain emulations don't have to be smarter than humans to be superhuman, they can be merely more numerous and/or quicker.

The time frame for proper AI not via emulation is actually shorter, cf Shane Legg's peak probability estimate of 18 years. This is because the mechanisms of learning and processing in the brain are well under way to being understood, and they will lead to copycat software using similar conventional "narrow AI" algorithms. These also have a greater potential than neural snapshots to be scaled up fast.

Unfortunately none of the above helps towards making "friendly" AI (that is, avoiding creating a superintelligence whose value system is inimical to ours). This ought to be a serious worry.

In order to worry about Friendliness, you have to be first (otherwise it was pointless, as whether the first mover's AI was Friendly is what matters). So, you have to be relatively confident that you're already going to be first in order to spend much time researching Friendliness. I only know of one group that appears to be confident in that way (SIAI), and I have no reason to think that their confidence is less misplaced than all the other people who've been convinced they'd figured it out.

From the outside, SIAI seems torn along a Goertzel-Yudkowsky axis, with BG saying "whee, this is fun, lets build it", and EY too busy saving the world to panic. But the man himself reads Hacker News, so I'll shut up.

Let me guess... You'll be retired at nearly the same time you predict the singularity will occur?

I will be in my 50s, but retiring ever is not in my expected future. That is, I expect some lifespan extending tech (singularity or SENS) to run ahead of me.

I hope you are correct. I still boot my MacBook to OS X sometimes, but universal use of Linux in the cloud, private servers, and on the desktop will lead to lowering computing costs and produce more solid software. re: Lisp: that would be nice :-)

re: singularity: a friend and sometimes colleague who is one of the most far thinking and creative AI people I know is likely to move to China because of their willingness to fund long term AI research. I have a gut feeling that Roger Penrose may be correct that conventional computers may be incapable of consciousness but, quantum computing may take care of that.

What about the emergence of ubiquitous free internet? I'm thinking it will take of the form of everyones' mobile phones forming a global, giagantic mesh network? (Is that the right term?)

How likely is that? It seems like the next step in the evolution of the internet, turning into something that no one can possibly control.

How will the signal cross oceans? Deserts? Yellowstone National Park?

Well at least for reasonably populated areas, how's that?

Really the best part I'm looking forward to is Doctor Who. I'm pretty apprehensive about the new Doctor, but there's a full season and frankly, the bits from "The End of Time" p1 are pretty exciting.

Predictions: we'll see a good-sized shift in our political base representing the un/under-skilled and unemployed.

Citizens of the US will begin to publicly insist on being told what to think.

gpu/cpu unification has to happen some time in the next 10 years (in the 2010 thread i argue against it being next year, but it's inevitable at some point). the next amd architecture is a step in that direction.

edit: also, please, please, ultralight laptops with e-ink screens.

edit2: to clarify the above, cpus are currently tending towards more cores, while gpus are tending towards larger caches. both are trying to extend their area of application into tasks performed by the other, in the hope of more speed over a wider range of applications.

Think that will lead to real-time high performance ray-tracing in applications and games? Because that seems to me like the next logical step for the marriage. It's a problem domain where programmers are already struggling and it lends itself well to highly-parallel processing.

i'm not sure what it will lead to, to be honest. my best guess is that there's some new kind of interface (3d?) that will exploit the extra power.

Why would they unify? They are doing very different jobs (serial versus vector processing).

Because there are two converging trends at the moment:

CPU makers getting in to the GPU arena:

AMD bought ATI, intel has announced a CPU/GPU combo

NVidia is going in the direction of more and more general computation capability with their offerings (see the gt 300).

Sooner or later those trends will meet somewhere in the middle.

I predict this will happen as soon as NVIDIA offers a product that has enough general compute capability to run a linux port.

It will become a general co-processor, integrated on the low end, separate on the high end, never unified. The two types of chip fundamentally don't do the same job. They can't run each other's programs.

I've heard that before about floating point co-processors, they're definitely unified now.

Remember the Weitek and the 387 ?

In the end it's a cost-savings issue, as cpus get more cores they become more and more like GPUS, as GPUS acquire more general purpose instructions they become more like CPUs. Those lines will meet, once they're on one die the 'budget' can be used more efficiently by looking for ways to integrate them more tightly.

There is nothing inherently different about general purpose computations vs the kind of vector processing that a GPU is good at, at the end of the day it is all calculations, and more and more in parallel.

I fully expect that at some point even DRAM will be part of the CPU.

Point, but I'm not sure they're comparable. Both CPU and GPU are something you can never have enough of, because their task list expands to meet supply. Contrast: once you have enough FPU, you're done.

It's a game of bottle-necks. Solve one, you get another one for free.

Once you have 'enough' FPU you have not enough memory bandwidth, so you go wider / faster on the memory bus (this is already happening, we are now well over 1GHz on the memory bus), or you place the memory closer to the CPU (also happening, increased cache size).

Then as soon as that is done you now no longer have 'enough FPU', so you go parallel.

GPUs now have almost 250 cores and yet there are plenty of people that use more than one in a single machine (I've seen up to 4 of those, with two dies each for almost 2000 cores). Clearly some people don't have 'enough FPU' yet, and plenty of games would want more effects to add to their engines (which seems to be the biggest driver of this kind of development outside of hard core number crunching).

Increased resolution displays are another driver for more FPU power because once you start shading every pixel becomes the end point of a long pipeline of mathematical operations.

I don't foresee anybody complaining of 'too much FPU' in the next decade or longer, in fact I suspect that once this kind of FPU capacity becomes mainstream that we'll see whole new breed of applications to take advantage of it.

i'm not sure they're as different as you are making out. why couldn't you have a chip that's somewhere between a cpu, a gpu and an asic - it rewires itself to make a trade-off between cache+prediction v many alus+parallelism? maybe the asic part is a bit extreme, but fermi (the next gen nvidia) will have on-chip memory that is switchable between explicit local shared memory (gpu) and implicit local cache (cpu). why couldn't the same kind of flexible approach be made to instructions - longer+fewer v more+shorter pipelines?

ah, ok. so change the word unification to integration - i am not being that specific.

PMC's will become much more prevalent and popular.

Pan-Mass Challenge? PubMeb Central?

Private military companies.

- web will cease to be the delivery platform of choice for applications

- internet will be heavily controlled by governments/corporations worldwide

Things will actually be even more awesome than they are today, but because governments have no idea how to manage all the awesome, things will actually seem crappier.

I mean, I'm thinking like, silver jumpsuit awesome here.

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