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What Will Personal Computers Look Like in 20 Years' Time?

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A modular PC concept.

Experts offer their views of how the personal computer will evolve over the next two decades.


Experts offer their views of how personal computers (PCs) will evolve over the next two decades, with Affectiva's Rana El-Kaliouby predicting PCs will have a chip that will read the user's emotions from sensor input as well as prompt actions in response to those emotions.

University of Sussex professor Winfried Hensinger expects future systems to solve problems at ultra-fast speeds, as data processing will occur not on a personal device, but on a remote, powerful, cloud-linked machine.

Meanwhile, Harvard University's Charles M. Lieber anticipates a direct integration between three-dimensional nanoelectronics and the human brain to the degree that computing will be neurally operated.

Frog Design's Denise Gershbein thinks PCs will be characterized by more distributed points of access within 10 years. "Your 'device' will be your digital identity, used like a key to enter the system from any number of screens and actions," she speculates.

Finally, Andy Adamatzky, director of the University of the West of England's Unconventional Computing Center, envisions the emergence of intra-personal and intra-cellular personal computing, which eventually gives rise to a united network spanning all living creatures. "Each human neuron will be hijacked by a self-growing, self-repairing, molecular network," he says. "Computers will be networks of polymer filaments growing inside and together with a human."

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