Prompted by “This $9 Computer Could Change the Way We Think About Tech”: https://generationopportunity.org/articles/2015/05/19/this-9-computer-could-change-the-way-we-think-about-tech/
“But despite its price and size, Next Thing Co. promises that CHIP will be just as powerful as a standard PC, with a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB ram, and 4 GB of storage.”
There was a time when a simple (and relatively bulky) calculator cost basically over $100. When I was a kid, that changed to basically a $.50 purchase at the local drug store for a much more compact version of that same calculating functionality.
While software complexity is matching (if not pressing against) ever-improving hardware capability on the “runaway train” forming the computer industry that seems way more focused upon the technology (what geeks love), and not the many people being dragged along for the ride (read my Tech Relations piece for proper grounding), the ability to simplify software to run basic messaging and web surfing means only $9 for the aforementioned specifications is actually amazing for a lot of people worldwide (especially in poor areas struggling to even access the information age).
That computing capability will continue to fall in price, so the idea of buying a $.50 computer with similar (and eventually better) specifications even makes sense.
I wish Next Thing Co. ample success with their product. An excellent feature would be the ability to link multiple CHIPs to form a stronger computer (though perhaps a challenge due to working in proper link hardware), especially given their “credit card” size. One leader CHIP would run the operating system (OS) and productivity software, with whatever number of follower CHIPs likely leveraging a custom modification in the OS (like a device driver) allowing them all to function as a single computer with multiple central processing units and increased memory.
Even though I’m too busy these days to keep up with the latest in PC gaming (and I cannot play first person shooters due to motion sickness), I understand the absence of the dedicated graphics processing unit found common these days may seem lame, but certain adults dedicated to basic software usage means more people will be able to read my journal. Now how lame would that be?
All kidding aside, computers are increasing in presence (e.g. toys, appliances, etc.) My hope is humanity will be wise enough to work against the abuse of such technological power immersing us all in the unfortunately wise assumption that privacy is never guaranteed (e.g. smart television microphone listening to your conversation, etc.) even in our homes. I already hit upon the dangers of conflicts of interest in healthcare. Don’t get me started on similar conflicts in technology.
While I share the geeky enthusiasm over exploring what computers can do, and understand that passion basically naturally drives the industry (i.e. I’m not trying to be a jerk against an industry that has largely served me very well throughout my lifetime), technology relations (basically how people work and play with technology) is equally important.
Computer technology has rapidly advanced over the past few decades of my computer-using life, but the human brain (obviously including this one in my head) has not evolved alongside that advancement. There is only so much the “computer” in the head can handle — i.e. stress — especially as even the youngest computer genius reaches the higher age levels. That is, of course, until the premium computers no longer require external existence, because they are contained within (and work/play with) the brain — hopefully a modular, so easily upgradeable, accomplishment that will not leave certain human beings absent computer minded.