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Lesson 8:   Future trends - part 1   |  part 2


In the discussion below, the interviewer's questions have been removed and placed at the bottom of the text. Click on the question first and then click the space where the question should go to. If you get one wrong, click on the question again, and try another space. Keep going until you have got them all right!


Dr Cameron Porter advises companies on future trends so that they can keep up with the fast changing world of hardware development.

Interviewer: [......]

Dr Porter: Computers are breaking out of the study and the office. The boring grey box is changing into a fashion item that you can display in your sitting room. Computers have become media machines. Far fewer people use their computers for programming than use them to play music, watch films and play games. This trend will increase yet further in the coming years - computers are becoming a central part of everyone's life, yet they are much less obvious. They are phones, playstations and tablets.

Interviewer: [......]

Dr Porter: Well, let me give you an example. Look behind your computer at home or in the office. Its probable that there is a terrible tangle of wires there. Well, for a living room or a portable device, this is not acceptable. The trend toward wireless is accelerating. Soon all computers and all the parts of a computer will communicate in this way. This means that the computer and its parts are becoming more separate. You can have a screen in your lounge and another in your bedroom, but the computer transmitting the image will be hidden away under the stairs.

Interviewer: [......]

Dr Porter: Yes, but that was just an example. As the internet becomes a part of everyday life we are never out of touch with our data. We can call our favourite songs from the internet or home computer even while on a beach on the other side of the world, and chat with friends as if they were on the next deckchair. And this is done with small devices that do their job so well that we take them for granted. Doing your computing while tied to a grey box is becoming a thing of the past.

Interviewer: [......]

Dr Porter: It's happening already. The computer has broken into its different parts. Devices such as wireless USB mean that you can tell a device, for example a DVD player, to talk to your computer and the computer will automatically take the data and send it to the part of the house where you want to watch it on your extra-wide screen. Screen, DVD player and computer no longer have to be next to eachother. Hard disks are now small enough to carry in a pocket so you can see your personal data on any computer anywhere.

Interviewer: [......]

Dr Porter: The future is in invisible computing. You won't think that you are using a computer. You will just expect to be able to talk to anyone from anywhere, and read your mail and listen to your music and favourite TV shows anywhere and anytime as well. And you will also be able to write, compose, sculpt and explore imaginary worlds. This is wonderful - but if we make the wrong decisions about the future of the internet today, the future could become a nightmare.


1. Can you explain what you mean by that?

2. So what will replace this?

3. We have to leave it there, so can you quickly sum up what you have told us?

4. Dr Porter what do you think will the most important development in computer hardware in the near future?

5. So you believe that the future computer will be wire-free?