I WAS RECENTLY ASKED to participate in a panel discussion billed as “The Next Killer Application.” Fellow panelists were a who’s who of smart technologists, so I struggled beforehand to come up with a provocative concept that wouldn’t get me laughed off the stage.
When it was my turn, the panel moderator asked me for my pick as well as for a prediction as to when it would be a reality.
“It will be the age of v-computing, and we will be able to do it by 2005,” I claimed.
What’s v-computing? It’s voice-computing, of course. I didn’t just come up with v-computing off the top of my head; there’s actually reasoning behind the idea. Broad-based technological innovation comes in 15-year cycles, and I simply did the math. In 1945, Whirlwind One?the first mainframe computer?debuted, followed by the advent of the minicomputer around 1960. The age of the PC dawned in 1975, and in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee was putting the final touches on the Web in the Cern laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
The trend indicates that the next killer app will not arrive before 2005. But why voice-computing? Computing is still too complicated, particularly when it comes to information input. (I have given up trying to teach my wife how to use a mouse!)
By 2005, the power of the microprocessor will be light years ahead of what it is today. Hopefully by that time all the pent-up bandwidth will be deployed, and elegant LCD monitors?equipped with the microphones, cameras and speakers that today are passive complements?will become the prime interface to computing. Want to turn your computer on in 2005? Just say “on.” Voice-recognition software will act as your primary security defense by identifying you as you. Voice-dictation software will create and edit documents much faster than any keyboard can. Powerful cameras embedded in every LCD, combined with pervasive bandwidth, will at last usher in the age of videoconferencing and incredibly rich entertainment options.
We will speak to our computers. And they will speak to us, replacing forever the silly pop-up instruction boxes found in so many current desktop applications.
Let your voice be heard on this topic. What do you think will be the next killer application? When will it arrive? Drop me an e-mail and let me know.