Roger Zelazny wrote that life was a lot like the beaches of Tokyo Bay, that sooner or later everything cast off returns to its shores.
There was more to the above quote, but I’ve long since forgotten. Something to the point that everything cast off returns to its shores – and sometimes if you wait long enough it will return again.
So it is with computer architecture. In the old days everything was server architecture. Computing power was expensive and you put all your money in to one major server and a bunch of dumb green screen horrors for everyone to strain their eyes attempting to read with ridiculously low numbers of dots per inch. Something like, which looks better like and perhaps is more entertaining and useful with the cat in it.
Then there was the rise of the PC in all the wonderful clones, Apple versions, and the not affordable IBM machines with Microchannel that wasn’t able to work with everyone else’s clones but was supposed to be faster.
The PC has ruled for a very long time and then flavors of client server would rear its head – fleets of dumb terminals – companies with delusions of replacing PCs with dumb terminals perhaps as Remote Desktop machines connecting to a Remote Desktop server farm.
Now, we have the cloud with hordes of many different devices connecting and consuming the cloud services.
What does this mean for Watson and the idea of codops (computerized doppelgangers of humans)? In previous blog posts I have outlined that there is a timeframe when businesses and individuals will be able to afford Watson level computing power, and the computing power to have codops. This will be some time from now – but in terms of the history of humanity – not so long.
But the estimates to rest well with me. They only consider the architecture of the PC – or the local processing. We already; however, take advantage of services like Siri, language translation services, complex mapping and routing software – all from our smart phones – which are quite powerful in the range of the history of the PC.
The idea, then, is that under a client/server architecture – with massively powerful servers in a centralized geographic location – people will almost certainly have access to many different Watsons far before they can afford one in the home.
Do you want a codop? A copy of you – acting on your behalf – helping with all the things that can be done by a virtual you? Well, the timeframes I have outlined for codops in the home – is based on a local computing model. Most certainly, long before that point in time the computing capacity will be available to households.
I’m just not sure how to quantify this server based architecture. All I can say is that accurate information and answers to just about any question you might have – and a virtual being that knows everything your do – may be available (much) sooner than my estimates. It will take more estimates to figure this problem out.
In figuring it out – if I come up with dates closer to the present – how can I make a prediction that might easily be wrong or perhaps just have a low confidence level?