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Tech nightmares that keep Turing Award winners up at night

Katherine Noyes | Aug. 28, 2015
You might want to start printing all your photos.

Also necessary are legal frameworks and a business model that could help support that preservation, he noted.

Cerf's recommendation in the meantime? Print your photos on high-quality photographic paper. "There's evidence that will last 100 years, but we're not so sure about digital media," he said.

Adelman worries about the rapid evolution of computers, which he suspects will become our evolutionary successors.

"I wonder what our relationship to computers will be in 100 or even 50 years," he said. "I'm leaning towards the view that computers will be roughly speaking their own species."

What relationship they'll have to our species, however, is not so clear.

"Right now the relationship is mostly synergistic -- we build them and they serve us," he said. "But how it will evolve in the future is quite unclear to me."

Computers will "probably have their own destinies and find their own ways to evolve," he said. "They may not need artificial intelligence to become independent."

Along similar lines, Blum views computers as our ultimate progeny in the not-too-distant future; his current worries tend to focus on the fact that they're not yet in charge of driving all cars and airplanes.

"The fact that we have brains hasn't made the world any safer," he said. "Will it be safer with computers? I don't know, but I tend to see it as hopeful."

Though Blum is an expert in cryptography, he's not particularly worried about privacy. "I find the fact that cameras are everywhere is helpful," he said, citing the example of the Boston Marathon bombers. "It's wonderful that you can find pictures and know who they are."

In fact, it remains to be seen whether future generations will be able to expect any privacy at all, Adelman said.

"There's a huge prospect for wondrous things for humans: health will improve, and maybe longevity," he said. "But the younger generation is going to have to live with the good and the bad."

 

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