Computer Predictions

Voice Card  -  Volume 13  -  Paul Card Number 2  -  Thu, Mar 8, 1990 11:54 PM

The VOGON News Service
Edition: 2006
Monday 19-Feb-1990
Circulation: 7865

Mike Taylor, VNS Correspondent
Nashua, NH, USA

In January 1986 VNS published the 1000th issue and I started a contest to predict 'computers in the issue 2000' contest. You the reader get to pick the winner from the following entries.

Send your vote, one per reader, for the best prediction to TOHOKU::TAYLOR. All votes must be received by Friday February 23, 1990.

(The order shown here is the order I received the entry.)

  1. Computers which will be constructed either with biological polymers or chemically produced proteins operating as microprocessor and memory components. These biological approaches will enable extremely dense, three-dimensional molecular devices. In comparison, this means that today's most powerful mainframes would be about the size of a bacterium, or one millionth of the size of the CPU of Digital's VAX computer.
  2. Computer hardware for the home will become much more aesthetic. However, I do expect to eventually see terminals in designer colors and styles, made for any decor. I expect to see computer furniture made out of real wood (cherry, oak, teak); furniture that you might see in antique shops 50 years from now. I have to live with it, I have to look at it everyday - and it sure better match my piano!
  3. The computer of the 2000 issue of VNS will be an optical computer. Remember, Ken Olsen asked a young engineer in France to plan a super development of the computer of the future. That was in 1986. Later on, the first optical computer was issued, increasing the power up to 10,000 Mips. In fact, the optical computer transfers data at the speed of light, up to 300,000 kms per seconds. Of course, the CPU, which is as big as an LA50, runs under a big glass bell, without air in it. The computer will sell for $20,000, with 6Gbytes of main memory, and a disk of 1,000 Terabytes...
  4. Predictions for issue #2000:
    • The Japanese or Koreans will have a CDrom player for the Kmart market the size of a paperback book. Player will have access to all the reference materials which might be found on the reference stack at a small library. Player may talk instead having to output its data from LCD's.
    • More and more Americans will be having their houses rewired so that all of their household electronics and appliances will hang off of a common data bus.
    • The first feature length computer animated film will debut this year.
    • AI will still be trying to find its way home, but it still won't be smart enough to fold the map back up after using it.
    • Visa and Mastercard will be using smartcards.
    • TV sets will now be smart enough to learn from their owners what commercials are. TV set would then switch volume, channel, turn off VCR etc. when it recognized commercial.

  5. VNS #2000, early 1990, circulation 10,000+
  6. With the issue of VNS 2000 a wrist-watch size fully IBM-PC compatible personal computer is announced by Sharp of Japan. The machine which will also be available with Unix can be connected into your families LAN by an Ethernet that uses cellular radio. A voice cellular telephone option is available. The distribution of VNS exceeds that of the Times, as more and more owners of Sharp wrist computers receive all their news over the net.
  7. IBM Federal Systems Division has announced the solution of the Star Wars software dilemma. A new, rule-based, nonprocedural specification language, codenamed "Epilogue", was fed all known facts about software engineering and was given the single-line specification "The USA shall be free from the threat of nuclear attack." Epilogue then generated 7 million lines of Ada, and 45,000 pages of documentation. When put on DoD's banks of computers, all seemed to be normal until the CIA reported that Russia had stolen a copy of Epilogue and of the specification. Soon thereafter, however, the entire US and Russian defense systems spontaneously self-destructed. An IBM spokesman said yesterday "The program obviously did what the customer asked for instead of what he wanted."
  8. 4-mip, 100MB memory, 100Mb/sec Ethernet connection desktop workstation. 30-40 mip top end VAX, ~256MB memory with 1 fast approaching.
Computers In The VNS Issue 2000 Contest

There was a three way tie for first place:

  • Pierre Bijaoui #3 Optical computer
  • David Fonseca #4 CDrom player for the Kmart market
  • Stu Schaffner #7 Epilogue