I watched a rather interesting program on BBC learning zone the other night about nano technology and its potentional uses. Basically computers on a molecular scale the next few years will be very interesting.
The guy they had from IBM was talking about having devices that could process data independantly without having to send and move data about to and from processors.
Maybe a few decades away but I think bio-electronic developments, direct brain implants that will allow for sending and receiving data, sound, video etc. without the interaction of our ears and eyes (cochlear implants are already an early working example of this type of technology).
I've been aboard an autolanding 747 on three occasions, and if I hadn't known about it I would never have known about it, if you see what I mean.
My brother-in-law is a 747 captain on the London/Hong Kong run, and I have sat with him on many occasions when our trips have coincided. He says the onboard computers do most of the flying between the two cities, and his opinion it's the safest way to do it.
I suspect that rather more cleaning up is/has been done after human errors than after computer ones. In fact I know as much.
It's now possible to make computers that are so reliable they will run for years with a minimum of supervision, and we will see them entering our lives at just about every level possible in the years to come. Within twenty years it will be virtually impossible to run a normal lifestyle without using a computer. Online purchasing continues to accelerate at an amazing rate. The latest official government statistics are for 2004, and show that Internet sales rose by 81 per cent between 2003 and 2004, from £39.3 billion to £71.1 billion, that's not a bad increase in a year. In 2004 over 34% of all UK businesses had a website, and I imagine the figure was far higher in 2005.
That rate of growth will continue, as online purchasing rapidly becomes the norm.