Sunday, April 24, 2005

What can happen in 25 years

I gave a presentation on robots this weekend, and in the presentation I used one of my favorite slides. The point of the slide is to say, "look at how much can change in just 25 years."

The slide has on it two images. Here is image #1:



Here is image #2:



The first image is from the game Pacman, released in 1980. At the time it was considered to be an innovative video game.

The second image is Half-Life 2, released just a few months ago. It too is considered to be an innovative video game.

These two games are separated by only 25 years, yet they look like they are from completely different planets. One is a flat, pixelated, handful-of-colors-on-a-mostly-black-screen game. The other is a photo-realistic real-time romp through an artifical world of incredible depth and detail. The two games cannot be compared. It would be like comparing a backhoe to a spoon.

Here is another example -- from a book called How It Works - The Computer. This is a typical image from the 1979 edition:



This disk drive, which is as big as a washing machine, has a removable disc pack made up of six 14-inch discs. The disc pack holds 7.25 megabytes. Today we can buy 400 gigabyte drives for $300 that, very nearly, fit in your pocket. An iPod does fit in your pocket and holds 40 GB.

Here is another example - an article called The Birth of the Notebook.

The point is, we have seen amazing change in the last 25 years. We can expect the same levels of innovation, if not more, in the next 25 years. Imagine what video games, disc drives and laptops will look like by then.

I imagine we will be beginning to see the first installations of Vertebrane and video games will be becoming completely immersive environments. I also imagine that the robots that we are interacting with in 25 years will blow Roomba away, in the same way that Half Life 2 blows Pacman away. See Robotic Nation for details.

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9 Comments:

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Good examples of the technology change .

-Matt

 
At 12:56 AM, Anonymous sj said...

It's a very very good example to support your opinion. Every new products are changing dramatically in its first few decades, and we have just passed 2 or 3 decades for digital products. Look at the washing machine, dishwasher, refrigirator, car, power tools, machines for road work... Are they really different than 25 years ago?

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you dont have a washing machine etc in your office or evolve to the internet - these are diffrent things -- we run this planet because of our brains and the computer is a brain amplifier without any historical peer -- new game new rules

 
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At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Viagra Online said...

I love the video game Half-Life , I love its story because it is about a scientific that have to save the world of hand the "black man"
Also Pacman is a classic, I love to play pacman in my computer.

 
At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Generic Viagra said...

It's a nostalgic post. I guess you've got enough knowledge about it and it'd be nice if you can add something else about the old technologies.

 
At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Galaga said...

Yeah there is a very huge difference between the two screens, but imagine after more 25 yrs?

 
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