Re: Near-Term Scenarios

Dan Clemmensen (
Sun, 10 May 1998 11:22:44 -0400

> 2000
> Computer Technology (Processing, Interface, Software, Networks):
Typical new home system (hi-end, 10% of buyers, $3000 US):
Processor: 1GHZ, 64 bit superscaler with vector processor
(Intel Merced), 256Mbyte RAM, DVD, 20Gbyte disk,
15" flat panel display, 400Mbit 1394 interface, 10Mbit cable modem,
assorted heavy-duty Microsoft software.
Typical new home system (lo end, 75% of buyers, $700 US):
Processor: 666Mhz Pentum clone, 64Mbyte RAM, DVD, 10Gbyte disk,
15"CRT, 1Mbit cable modem, sealed box, peripherals on 100mbit 1394
and USB, assorted light-duty Microsoft software.
Typical supercomputer ($200,000 US)
Beowulf cluster of 1024 Merced home computers,
64 32-port 1394 800Mbit switches.
Only small changes in software: Win98 on most home systems,
NT on most office systems, Linux slightly gaining, all others
Networks: IP overwhelming all other protocols, ethernet overwhelming
all other LAN connections, 10mbit relegated to appliances, PCs at
100mbit or 1Gbit, switched, no hubs.
> Communication Technology:
Cable modems finally break the local loop monopoly, causing
major regulatory upheaval and clouding all predictions. Most
new long-haul channels shift to native IP, relegating ATM and
SONET to legacy voice. Wireless (cell phones, etc.) gains penetration.
> Neuroscience/Neuromedicine/Bio-cognitive Science & Technology:
(out of my area) no effect on everyday life. Advances confined to
the laboratory.
> Genetic Science and Technology:
(out of my area)
> General Medicine:
(incremental changes)
> Other Biology:
(incremental changes)
> Power Technology:
(no noticable changes)
> Manufacturing and Materials Science & Technology
nanotube-based nanotech studied in the lab.
> General Transportation Technology:
(no noticable changes)
> Aeronautics:
(incremental changes)
> Space Technology and Development:
(no noticable changes)
> Business & Finance Technology and Practice:
Incremental productivity increases continue, continuiing
the current trend of modest improvements in real wages.
telecommuting expands, middle management continues to decline
as a percentage of workers. Gradual increase of white-collar
contractors replacing employees as computers simplify the logistics.
> Personal Lifestyles:
telecommuting and contracting permit greater flexibility.
> Law and Government:
(small incremental change)
> Art and Entertainment:
(small incremental change)
> 2005
Sorry, but early nanotech is in use by 2005. Scenarios range
from massive societal upheavals on the bad side, through
a fairly stable acceleration within the existing societal
matrix (least likely, most comfortable) to the singularity.