You might not agree with him. You even might not believe what he says. But British Telecom does. Ian Pearson has been BT's futurologist since 1991. His job it to imagine where today's technologies will lead us. Artificial intelligence, genetic modification, intelligent viruses, imaginary civilizations and Second Life 10.0, as well as some pretty nasty scenarios involving robots like the Terminator are all real possibilities he included in his 2006 Technology Timeline. In this interview, Pearson talks about his profession, explains why he doesn't think we will understand intelligent machines when they finally arise, and warns to the big ethical dilemmas our technological civilization will have to face sooner or later.
Stories by Peter Moon
"Please don't call GNU 'Linux'," says Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation. In this interview, he also asks readers whether they will fight for freedom or be too lazy to resist.
In his famous paper published in April 1965, in the journal Electronics, Gordon Moore wrote: "Integrated circuits will lead to such wonders as home computers -- or at least terminals connected to a central computer -- automatic controls for automobiles, and personal portable communications equipment." Analyzing the future of the industry, he predicted that, "reduced costs is one of the big attractions of integrated electronics, and the cost advantage continues to increase as the technology evolves toward the production of larger and larger circuit functions on a single semiconductor substrate. For simple circuits, the cost per component is nearly inversely proportional to the number of components." This became known as Moore's Law. Forth-two years later, it is still valid. But will it be the same in, say, 10 years from now? Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, answers that question in this interview.
Linus Torvalds was only 22 when he decided in 1991 to share with friends and colleagues the code of Linux, the new OS he had created. The computer science student at the University of Helsinki could not imagine the revolution his decision would cause through the IT industry in the years to come. In this interview, he talks about why he released the code, offers his views on Microsoft and says the future belongs to open source.
Steve Wozniak isn't perhaps as well known as his Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, but "Woz" invented the Apple I in 1976 and the Apple II in 1977, which was one of the best-selling PCs of that time. In this interview, Wozniak, who turns 57 on Aug. 11, talks about how he met Jobs, his most cherished inventions and why he believes thinking robots and artificial intelligence will never happen.
The basic framework of Nathan Myhrvold's story is well known. Born in Seattle in 1959, he went to college at age 14, taking a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1979 at the same time he earned master's in geophysics and space physics at UCLA. Then, came the master's in mathematical economics two years later before Ph.Ds in theoretical and mathematical physics, both at Princeton. He was 23 at that point when he headed to Cambridge University in the U.K. for post-doctoral work in cosmology and quantum theory with Stephen Hawking, who holds the mathematics chair that Sir Isaac Newton held 300 years ago.
According to Webster's Online Dictionary semantic means "the relationships between symbols and what they represent." Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, has used the term to christen the Internet of the future.
Lawrence Lessig, who serves on the board of the Free Software Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Public Library of Science, and Public Knowledge, talks about Internet censorship and predicts a great battle among the defenders of free software and Microsoft -- and says it will probably be "long and bloody."
Vernor Vinge, 62, is a pioneer in artificial intelligence, who in a recent interview warned about the risks and opportunities that an electronic super-intelligence would offer to mankind.