Do science fiction writers predict the future or do they invent it? Did Arthur C. Clark predict the satellite or did he just invent it? Or moon travel? Did Jules Verne predict submarines powered with electricity or did he invent the idea? Maybe invent is a strong word – perhaps influence.
If you look at the history of science and compare with science fictions and popular movies and show you see that there is a string relationship between the storytelling and actual technology created. Maybe science fiction writers have stronger influence on technology then we though, by just creating the a powerful and believable worlds that others will build.
These ideas are the topic of one of the research papers in my New Technology class this year. Paper is written by Sunnefa Pálsdóttir and is called When Ficiton becomes reality.
Maybe it’s another confirmation of the iPod affect: the Mac is turning into a consumer product. Interesting trends from the facesærch blog show that people are searching for Apple in the evening and on weekends but during the work week, they are searching Microsoft and Linux.
Not exactly scientific study and should be taken by some warranties, but it shows an interesting trend. It could mean that people use Windows and Linux at work and use the Mac at home. Furthermore, according to this the Mac is gaining market share while Windows is loosing and Linux is not growing as fast as the Mac. This is according to the belief by many that Vista was not so much of a hit as Microsoft would have liked.
The computer is turning into a consumer appliance. This is not unexpected and was seen some time ago. We are seeing the importance of the operating system and powerful “killer apps” become lessen with the browser and the Web becoming the focus of peoples use. Most killer apps of the early PC revolution have become commodities and with the network and open document standards, the OS and closed application become less important. As long as you have a browser you can do what you need.
One way to follow technology trends is to follow the chip makers like Intel. What they we do today will have impact months later. Consider Intel’s built-in wireless support. Laptop computes now have wireless capabilities in a ubiquitous ways.
Recently, Intel and Jajah announced that they are building telephony right into the chip set. This could make turn the laptop (or mobile phone) into a VoIP phone. The problem with software phones (like Skype or X-lite) is that you have to have the computer turned on. If not, no calls get though. Also, you have to have the software. With VoIP support built in the laptop will behave as the phone: it will ring no matter want!
It remains to be seen if this is an improvement to quality to life.