“I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who think that there’s not much more to do with computers, because actually, the computer revolution has only just begun,” Lampson says.

“Personal computing is far from ubiquitous,” Thacker says. “After all, there are only a few hundred million PCs [today], and there are 6 billion of us. There are a lot of areas–for example, primary education–where computers are still little used.”



The four expect that several hot areas of research and innovation will become even more important when combined: wireless technologies, ever-higher-speed communications, speech recognition, improved search engines, and management of huge volumes of related information. These segments’ total impact could be much larger than the sum of their parts.



“I think wireless will make a fundamental difference in the way people use computers, since for the first time people can carry portable devices that give them access to the network, as well as all the things they have on their desks, [and] this will cause a wide variety of new devices to appear,” says Thacker, who worked with Lampson on Microsoft’s Tablet PC designs.



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