'We're on a virtual walk out of Africa', futurologist tells Intel partners
And does upgrading to Windows hurt a PC's feelings?
The human race is on the threshold of a virtual walk out of Africa, but we'll only be able to see where we're going as long as we're wearing those funny little glasses everyone wore to watch Avatar.
In the meantime, according to Intel, corporate neanderthals still struggling along with outdated processors can help the human race tear their eyes away from the shadows on the back wall of the cave and start watching HD video on Windows 7 client boxes.
The recasting of Intel's roadmap as some sort of quest for fire came at an Intel customer event in London late last week. The processor vendor told some of its best customers and a few journalists, that after a frankly horrible year or two for the economy, if not necessarily Intel, conditions were right for business to start renewing its PCs again, just in time to lap up systems based on the 32nm Nehalem technology the vendor unveiled at CES last month.
Intel's European product marketing director Richard Curran drove the business message home, saying that corporate customers upgrading their machines could hope to recapture their investment in 19 months. Upgrading to machines running vPro, the manageability technology Intel is wrapping around its Core vPros, would shrink that time to nine months, he claimed. Ingredients in the vPro sauce include remote manageability and anti-theft technology.
One crucial addition is a smoothing out of upgrades, using Active Management Technology. This would be essential for corporations looking to upgrade their OS for example - and just the sort of thing Intel's old pal Microsoft would like to ease customers into Windows 7. Presumably from XP.
And Nina Sundberg, Microsoft's UK director of Windows clients, said the firm had seen phenomenal interest in upgrading, indeed more than the company could've hoped for. Which is all very well, but we suspect Intel would be even more pleased to see corporates buy whole new machines, rather than just upgrade the OS on existing machines.
The vendor then shifted gear, wheeling out a prepacked panel, moderated by Robert Llewellyn, the actor best known for playing a machine on Red Dwarf, to ponder where computing, particularly consumer computing, is heading.
He told the audience that he loved computers, and proved this by waxing lyrical about his first Amstrad and the way the green screen used to burn his eyes off.
The panel then decided that 3D was now the hottest thing in computing since at least some of Intel's earlier processor designs. It was clear they'd all been to see Avatar.
Intel director of brand strategy director Brian Fravel declared that Moore's law was good for for the foreseeable future, or at least time being, declaring that the takeup of HD and 3D were going to be demanding ever higher levels of performance, at least until users eyeballs are burned out of their heads.
Futurist Ray Hammond declared that computers were rapidly approaching human levels of intelligence, and predicted 3D in laptops in three or four years.
"It's almost a virtual walk out of Africa," he declared, summoning up a vision of wiry hunter gatherer types putting on their black rimmed polarised glasses, clutching their notebooks and striding out of the rift valley, only to stop after three or four hours to recharge their notebooks.
In the meantime, computers would become increasingly parallelised and start showing elements of consciousness, he predicted, while we humans would have to start addressing the issue of rights for machines. (If you thought that would have gotten the biggest laugh of the night you'd be wrong - that was reserved for Intel's assertion that its own massively parallel graphics platform Larrabee had simply been rescheduled.)
But Hammond's bold predictions bring us back to the beginning. It's all very well Intel declaring that now is a good time to upgrade your PC and switch the Vista. But has anyone asked their PC how it feels about it? ®
Maybe the future is...
...working on something awesomely cool that isn't saddled by an instruction set from the '70s, a mish-mass of instructions and technologies, and a quirky hybrid of multiple execution units...
...sounds more like discovering fire than lamely jumping on the 3D bandwagon. We don't need 3D on a laptop. Really we don't. Perhaps for watching movies (in which case a Really Big telly would be more suited) or perhaps for children that would feel intimidated by Windows - though I had the "pleasure" of sitting in the library next to a five year old still in nappies (five? isn't that a bit old?) who knew her way around Google and Wiki AND print previewing and editing the output so she only got what she wanted. [ps: ubuntu and she knew it]
Damn, I was impressed.
Which is more than I can say for the 3D-on-a-laptop idea. Great, yet MORE reasons why management can't get anything done on time.
Futurist Ray Hammond
I'm speechless, I had no idea intel had found how conscience work, or by the same account, what conscience is, and the means to digitally reproduce it.
So the next marketing crap-word to replace "innovation" is "built-in conscience".
As per addressing the rights of processors, I'm sure intel will find a way so those rights won't affect their quarterly results... I can't stop imagining processors asking for retirement pay, paid holidays... or the right to relax playing "prom" from time to time.
So much for the IQ of an audience who think of technology as some kind of magic.
Glad they had an intelligent panel
"Futurist Ray Hammond declared that computers were rapidly approaching human levels of intelligence"
If he has dais human levels of stupidity then I may have agreed but I guess I would have been shouting bollocks at him.
Ray Hammond wrote the absolutely brilliant book "The Musician and the Micro" in the early '80s. A lot of his predictions in there were pretty much spot-on.
It'd be a shame if he's tried to keep up a winning streak of future gazing. I think you only get lucky once in that game. Ultimately, as Michael Crichton asks, "Why Speculate ?".
Waiting for post from Louis Savain