Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Future of the Personal Computer

PostedFebruary 21, 2004

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The ad introduced Apple's Macintosh in a take-off of the George Orwell novel "1984", and propelled the personal computer industry.  The first networked PC, called the Alto, was actually created more than a decade earlier by a group of engineering innovators at Xerox Corporation.  One of those inventors, Butler Lampson, told me, even though there have been amazing advances in the past thirty years, the computer revolution is just revving up.  Lampson predicts the engineering of computers that read, write, hear, speak, see, and recognize as well as humans do.  Maybe even more strange:  he believes there could be computers on every fingernail, guarding our health and safety.  Alto co-inventor Chuck Thacker is more cautious but also believes his dream of a computer-connected world has just begun, because there are still ten times more people than PCs.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.    

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