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5. eCommerce. The only thing as good as being Amazon.com is being UPS. eCommerce is new, it’s big, and it’s growing like Topsy.
6. The Cloud. This transformation isn’t quite complete, but we’re almost there. A few years from now, if you’re a business, having your own datacenter is going to look just about as smart as generating your own electricity. And if you’re a consumer, running your own application software (and doing your own upgrades and your own backups) is going to seem just about as bright. The cloud also provides universal access and sharing. What’s not to like?
7. Social networking and crowd-sourcing. eBay. Craigslist. Wikipedia. YouTube. Blogs. RSS. Facebook. LinkedIn. Flickr. Yelp. Twitter. Sorry, I’ve exhausted my 140 charact
For further information on some of these, and some additional topics, see the wonderful presentations here .
So, what about the next 10 years? I won’t burden you with the Niels Bohr quote. Here are a few things to watch – none of them, unfortunately, surprising:
1. Smart homes. Compare your grocery bill to your electric bill. The former is an instantaneous, complete, accurate itemization of every expense, allowing you (and incenting you) to tune your behavior. The latter arrives once every two months and says “$133.08.” It’s nuts. Within a few years, it will change, thanks to inexpensive sensors and machine learning.
2. Smart cars. You’re seeing the beginnings of this. Adaptive cruise control that monitors the distance to the vehicle in front of you. Stay-in-lane systems. Collision alerts. Self-parking. There will be much more. Even more broadly, transportation will be revolutionized. Smart routing of on-demand neighborhood transit to get you to major transit arterials. Smart routing of transit vehicles and personal autos around congestion – not just the congestion that exists right now, but the congestion that will exist 20 minutes from now. Improved vehicle sharing—Zipcar on steroids. (The average car is utilized only 5 percent of the time. Doubling that should be easy. Think of the improved amortization of the financial and environmental costs of manufacturing the damned things!) … Next Page »
Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he also serves as the founding director of the University of Washington eScience Institute. His research and teaching concern the design, implementation, and analysis of high performance computing and communication systems, and the techniques and technologies of data-intensive discovery.
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