By 2019 a $1,000 personal computer will have as much raw power as the human brain. I figure at that price, I'll get two, two brains are better than one and by then I'll be 63. I may need four. This prediction and others are right around the corner, according to Ray Kurzweil, a noted futurist. I love to read Kurzweil. His predictions are both exciting and terrifying. Think you're getting a good deal in 2019, look at what happens in 2045:
$1000 buys a computer a billion times more intelligent than every human combined. This means that average and even low-end computers are vastly smarter than even highly intelligent, unenhanced humans.
Now we're getting personal. Unenhanced humans? Legacy people? I could be legacy in 2045? At the young age of 89?
Kurzweil goes on to imagine a “technological singularity”:
The technological singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on. The machines enter into a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted.
The Singularity is an extremely disruptive, world-altering event that forever changes the course of human history. The extermination of humanity by violent machines is unlikely (though not impossible) because sharp distinctions between man and machine will no longer exist thanks to the existence of cybernetically enhanced humans and uploaded humans.
Set your singularity clocks now, we only have 35 years before this happens.
I'd love to have Kurzweil's bookshelf, I'm sure he's well read, but he hasn't spent much time telling us what happens to old technology. What about all the legacy applications? Legacy businesses? All those unenhanced humans milling around writing COBOL. Do these businesses survive the singularity? Or is it like a slow extinction? Will legacy businesses become dinosaurs, unable to survive the world-altering singularity?
Maybe this future comes to pass, maybe it doesn't. But one thing is certain: change. Survival of any business is often predicated upon the journey its leaders have mapped out. A journey that isn't always clear, involving technology that is racing toward innovation, accelerating into the future. Want some help comprehending it all? If so, today HP is announcing a major initiative to help you to realize your future and help you to Break the Gridlock.
As part of this initiative, HP is offering a promotion of the Transformation Experience Workshop. This is a highly interactive workshop that helps to understand and map your legacy transformation journey. Please click the link above to find out more. Hope to see you at a workshop, even if your are an unenhanced human being. http://h10134.www1.hp.com/campaign/applications-workshop/
In my recent posts, Meet the Clones in My Neighborhood and You're Only as JUNG as You Feel, I mentioned how JUNG could be used to extract clusters of cloned code from a complex graph of an entire application. This has been very helpful to drill down into code to look at sub clusters as in the tiled image below. (I’ve substituted number for module names, since this is actual code.) But even with this simplified image, the team wanted to convey more meaning in our next generation tool: Visual Intelligence Explorer. The amazing thing about JUNG is that it allows our team to have complete control over the image rendering process. So we can control how the lines are drawn between the nodes. Up till now, with other tools, we’ve been coloring the lines, green for a weak relationship, red for a strong one. But using JUNG we’ve discovered lines convey meaning more intuitively when weighted instead of being colored.
This is especially useful in large graphs, where lines can hide other lines and get lost in the tangle. Line weights are natural and intuitive. Think of cable, rope, twine, string, and thread. Just the sound of those linear objects conveys strength. Cables pull barges, ropes rope cows, twine bales hay, string wraps packages, and threads? Well a thread is what I’m hanging by with this metaphor.
But just look at the image below, over 200,000 lines of code are represented by this graph of code modules, what’s important, what’s not? Let’s add some weights to those lines.
Here’s a zoom-in of the same image. Here we’ve made four types of lines; the weakest are dotted lines, the threads. Then we move all the way to our ropes and cables. The point is now we can see the most important cloned code.
Our Visual Intelligence Explorer is taking shape very quickly. Please check back here, soon I’ll be posting about using the text search engine Lucene to find legacy source code signatures.