Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell on the future of software (Q&A)

November 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm 3 comments

Always useful for computing educators to keep an eye on the world of software in which our students will work. Nolan Bushnell has an interesting perspective.

What led you to focus on the 10 specific areas of software?
Bushnell: The 10 was an arbitrary number. My original list was 16 but there were some that could be folded. Some things that I am passionate about will take more time and are as much a chemistry and manufacturing problem as software. But the biggest thing for the near future is auto-cars, which will change everything.

Tell me about that. Why do you think they’ll change everything, and how so?
Bushnell: It’ll be within five years, somewhere. The costs are there right now. The Google car actually was cost-effective. Think of no traffic congestion, highways that can hold 30 times as much traffic. Half the energy costs. It just goes on and on.

After auto-cars, what do you think is the second-most likely area of your 10 to change society?

Bushnell: The next three will happen at the same time. One is the elimination of credentials. People are not their credit cards or passports and those are subject to fraud that is costing us billions of dollars. The physical metrics are better and cheaper and will be deployed. You will walk into a restaurant and pay by looking into a camera or by using your thumbprint. No identity thief will be able to do that. You can access all your accounts and board a plane naked.

Another will be the cloud containing all our medical information with layers of security. This will help solve the genome problem by sharing your DNA and medical condition but with identity stripped off.

Another is personal robotics. It’s a passion of mine and is now doable. All the obstacles I faced in the 1980s have been solved. It will be huge.

Lastly, government downsizing will be a big software opportunity. As more states hit the wall, their only hope will be to build in new efficiencies. California, for instance, is on the far side of the tax elasticity curve. Higher taxes lead to more jobs leaving the state, and less revenue. About half the states are going to decrease workers and still provide services.

via Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell on the future of software (Q&A) | Geek Gestalt – CNET News.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  November 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    The elimination of the credentials is already foreshadowed in third world countries, where they use cell phones to replace credit cards. This obviously doesn’t eliminate physical credentials altogether, since the cell phone number is tied to the person. Eric Schmidt recently announced the next big thing for the Android platform is to pretty much kill credit cards. But I doubt that will improve security, since the integration technology is skechy.

    Reply
  • 2. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    @Another will be the cloud containing all our medical information with layers of security. This will help solve the genome problem by sharing your DNA and medical condition but with identity stripped off.

    Does stripping off identity actually strip off identity?

    All I would need is the identity of somebody in your family, his/her and your genome sequence and I could probably derive who you are with a high probability. And probabilities are what these DNA things are being used for anyway. You’re really just shifting certainty for confidence in just one of the probability variables.

    Reply
    • 3. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  November 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Let me modify this. I would also need a database like any of the many that are available online that can gues the age of a person given a name and location. I don’t know how these services know how old I am, but if they can figure this out they can probably also derive my family tree.

      Reply

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