Computers have transformed our daily lives, from the PC we use to e-mail our co-workers to the giant corporate supercomputer that fields our phone call and automatically puts us on hold. But impressive as they are, today's computers will pale in comparison to the awesome machines of the future. Imagine: Not just a keypad in every house, but every room! We'll enjoy a level of scientific comfort previously unthinkable, living and working without ever leaving our personal environment pods!
No more cumbersome, energy-sucking mainframes hogging up valuable closet space. Tomorrow's computer will be a miracle of nanotechnology — a pound of DNA molecules suspended inside a pleasantly bubbling tank of fluid. Today's most advanced chip-based system cannot hope to match its performance, as this CompuTank megatasks billions of operations simultaneously, using the chemical units of DNA as computing symbols.
Science fiction? No, my friend — science fact. It's all a part of the fascinating world of tomorrow, where convenience is maximized, and crime and disease are but distant memories of the elderly. The only obstacles to our smart, relaxing lifestyle are the limits of our technophobic prejudices, as computers upgrade our turbulent planet into a peaceful Cybertopia.
The Smart Kitchen
Tomorrow's Smart Kitchen will work with you, as would a valued friend. It will “learn” your favorite foods, compare that information with your dietary needs and prepare your food automatically, before you even know you're hungry. Cleanups are no longer a chore in the Kitchen of Tomorrow. Laser scanners digitally “map” your pots and pans billions of times per second, rooting for hidden stains, while a solar-powered satellite locked in geosynchronous orbit above your sink provides real-time oversampling of your glassware for spots.
Hankering to eat out? You'll order food — or “f-mail” — online. Share intimate Chow Rooms with other online eaters, flag down the online moderator and ask him to pull down a “menu” for you and your companion. Password protection prevents hackers from clogging up fiber-optic lines with pizzas ordered in your name.
The Home Office
Say good-bye to long commutes — the Office of Tomorrow will be right in your living room. You'll strap on a Task Helmet in the morning and enter a high-definition holographic work environment where your every command is executed with the blink of an eye. Starved for office gossip? Just double-blink on the Water Cooler icon and you'll be able to “chat” with other home office workers from around the world. After work, you'll pump up at a virtual gym, where treadmills invite you to jog through the National Park of your choice. Or drop in on cyber Happy Hour, featuring half-price connect time from 5-7 pm and food folders bulging with free virtual Buffalo Wings.
A visit to the virtual mall of the future will be even more rewarding than the shopping trips of today. Double-click on the “Everything's a Dollar Store” icon or enter “The Food Court.” Battle the online crowds on Black Friday, the busiest virtual shopping day of the year. Or do an instantaneous real-time inventory search of “Just Pants” to see if they're living up to their name. In the shopping world of tomorrow, you're the boss.
For those who deign to break the law, initial screen warnings threaten “access deny” to secondary fields. If scofflaws insist on snooping around outside their designated Web links, an immediate cursor freeze from the neighborhood moderator spells lockdown for the jailbirds. A display reads, “Sorry — Welcome to Cyberprison,” and a menu appears offering choices for new inmates, from a well-stocked online library to a “cybercise” workout yard, playing high-definition images of sun-bleached stone walls. For those who refuse rehabilitation, virtual execution is an accepted efficient alternative, wasting no energy whatsoever. Errant DNA strands are simply bit-mapped, the miscreant is converted into an untitled human temp file and automatically deleted once the desktop is rebuilt.
The Net of the future will be much like the Net of today — only bigger. Much bigger. You'll have choices today's Net surfers only dream about.Drop in on alt.maglev.fan to communicate with other enthusiasts of mag-lev vehicles. Sneak a peek into www.joke/ha/ha to access the Joke of the Day, customized to fit your own pre-selected prejudices. Or download from http://comp.loser.loser to receive a graphics interchange format file depicting a scanned photo of yourself sitting in front of a computer screen looking at a graphics interchange format file of yourself. Net surfing takes on a heightened dimension with ImagHistory files, allowing the curious to become part of any historical event — as long as the file is closed without saving changes. On the Net of Tomorrow, the only limitations are your imagination and your baud rate.
After meeting a potential partner, you may wish to download personal data to impress them. You'll most likely already be wearing a fur-lined genit-pad, its circuitry wired with millions of intelligent effectors, 100 times more sensitive than human skin. If all systems are go, each partner accelerates the burgeoning relationship by toggling arrow keys to stimulate the other's effectors. Instant preference diagnosis eliminates pranksters and nonconsensual gender-benders.
If desired, reproduction is buta mouse-click away. Ejaculate is extracted from the male, compacted into a Stuff-It file and e-mailed to the female for unstuffing and eventual vaginal deposit. If the message “Your DNA needs minor repairs, do you want to fix it?” appears on your screen, simply click “OK” and the ChromoDoc “polishing” feature conveniently irons out Nature's glitches. Crashes are a thing of the past, but it's always a good idea to back up both your own and your partner's gene profiles.
As computing power increases, the fractious community of nations will come to resemble the cooperative world of the Net. Before long, the Net's “no flaming” ethic will be extended to international behavior. No longer will Arab flame Jew, Serb flame Bosnian, or the Irish flame each other. International disputes will be settled online, with warring parties assigned to a U.N. chat room moderated by a neutral SysOp. Wars, revolutions and armed incursions will become vestiges of a discarded analog age, ushering in a new era of digital world peace.
The mysteries of the universe will be accessible to all, thanks to the DNA CompuTank of tomorrow. You'll interact with an omniscient force — right on your desktop — peeling away the secrets of creation with a wicked-fast database navigator that searches the entire information universe. Analog conceptions of “sin” will be replaced by the more forgiving notion of “moral data error,” replacing traditional church hierarchies with a decentralized troubleshooting template. With your own customized spirituality software bundle, you'll enjoy a rich and fulfilling personal relationship with God — or “Bill” as He'll more commonly be known.
Since death is still one of life's inevitabilities (along with nano-auto SmartTax funds transfer), it never hurts to plan for the future. Data storage of deceased family members includes holographic highlights for retrieval grieving. During your lifetime, all health care is ably handled by community HMO satellite nodes, where the sick and/or elderly simply attach skin-contact cathodes and receive unlimited fiber-optic files of plasma, antibiotics, bone marrow, even regenerative dendrites in the never-ending quest to live forever.