More Than Convergence – Assimilation
Bill Quick

Sense of Events: Beta testing WordPerfect X7

What MS seems to understand is that convergence is the coming imperative, and that is where MS has the chance to win out over both Apple and Android. Although Windows smartphones are not quite ready for prime time compared to their competition, they will be within a couple of more iterations.

When MS achieves the same platform on computers, tablets and phones (which means that Windows RT has to disappear) then it will become difficult for me and a lot of other users to make sense out of using different OS’s for those devices.

They have already achieved convergence with their computer and tablet OS’s, which are the one and the same OS now. MS could do that with phones now, but not presently at a price people would pay. When they finally get their smartphone OS to fall into place, I am all in.

Things are going to converge considerably more than this, I think.

At the dawn of the PC age, we had proprietary operating systems running on proprietary hardware.  We still do today, but it is shortly going to cease to matter very much.  The new push will be to make both software and hardware transparent to the user, so that it doesn’t matter whether his virtual reality/heads-up display glasses and, later, contact lenses, as well as the earbuds fastened to his aural canals, are running something from Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Asus, or whatever.

The physicalness of computational processes will fade from the perception of those employing them.  You will essentially become the computer, and how you use your processing capabilities will depend on your own desires.  You may walk past some large screen and desire to do something with it.  So you’ll simply initiate a connection – maybe as simply as saying “Connect with that,” and they you’ll use that screen as you intend.

We are on the verge of permeating every aspect of our environment with computing power.  That is what SF writers mean when they talk about the world “waking up” from its dumb matter state and becoming smart.

It’s early days yet.  Hang on for a very wild ride.

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Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


More Than Convergence – Assimilation — 7 Comments

  1. From a certain perspective, many technological advances can be viewed as the augmentation of innate human capabilities. Our weapons, even those now considered primitive, have given us the deadliest “fangs” and “claws” of any animal, making us the apex predator of the planet. Domesticated animals and then engines and motors have amplified human strength to the point a single man can move and manipulate enormous amounts of “stuff”. We have extended our senses so we can “see” most of the electromagnetic spectrum and things subatomic to cosmic, and hear from the sub-sonic to the ultrasonic. Computer systems are only the latest step in augmenting the 3 lb. wetware supercomputer between our ears, a natural continuation of the process.

    • the apex predator


      Yah, humanity is the dominant large predator on the planet. Tigers ain’t got nothing on us. The little guys, though… They eat us. We don’t eat them.

      You want to get depressed? Compare the world’s total biomass of bacteria to the total mass of humans. For that matter compare to the total biomass of all eukaryotes.

      (Yah, the conventional definition of apex predator excludes bacteria and other single-celled critters. I’m pretty sure that’s solely because the people making the lists of apex predators are human, which is to say animals, which is to say eukaryotes. Their egos would be damaged to admit that they are completely punked by bacteria.)

  2. EMP is a potential threat. It’s a realistic one, but not an immediate concern. (I’ll also point out that Bill did quite a good job of writing about the results of a catastrophic EMP event. Say, Bill, when’s the book going to be available for pre-order?)

    There are more immediate, actual risks to carrying your life in your take-everywhere device: The government and the telecoms tracking your every move. Direct attacks on the hardware, below the phone’s operating system. Total loss of privacy, whether to a jack-booted thug who stops you on any pretext or pencil-necks in a government data center reading everything you store on the cloud. Even outside of government or technical threats, very few people use any kind of security on their phones and tablets — “It’s too much hassle!” — so if their phone is lost or stolen, anyone who gets it can read anything stored on the device.

    I understand the point Bill is making about carrying around more-and-more-powerful devices, having them do more for us, and tying them seamlessly to other devices, but there are real threats to be addressed first.

    … or not. Evidence suggests that most people don’t care at all about their privacy and will trade it away for a $2 off coupon for a store near them or for the ability to watch videos on any nearby TV rather than on their phone’s display.

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