Charles Stross on Wallpapering Cities with Tiny Solar Powered Computers and Other Future Possibilities

In this video, science fiction writer Charles Stross ruminates on the next 30 years.

“In about another decade we should be able to make circuits about as powerful as one of today’s smart phones—in other words on the order of a billion operations per second—that will be about the price of a radio frequency ID tag, maybe under a dollar, and that will consume a small enough amount of power that you could in principle run it off of ambient solar energy with a surface area of a couple millimeters squared… You could pretty much wallpaper large cities with them.”

3 thoughts on “Charles Stross on Wallpapering Cities with Tiny Solar Powered Computers and Other Future Possibilities

  1. Middle Part sounds like that new game Watchdog. You should give it a play and write an article about it, for academic purposes of course.

    Also, I was wondering what your thoughts on the brain mapping race was. I know that China and the EU both have funded projects for large scale mapping and computer/circuit development projects based on it and Obama is trying to get funding for a brain project going.

    Seems like an arms race to me.

  2. I have no idea, but judging by what other pundits in the field are saying, it seems like the brain mapping race probably won’t lead to crazy artificial intelligence gains or anything dramatic (that could say become a weapon) any time soon. It’s essentially a project of data collection, not unlike mapping the human genome, important for sure, but then once you have all that data you have to figure out how to make use of it. Mostly I just hope the data gets shared. I’m not sure what the openness is of the various projects, but it seems like with so many different actors pursuing the task it will be hard to keep that data locked down. Mostly there is just a lot of prestige attached to getting there first. That said, I do feel there is probably a big AI race already under way but I don’t think it is necessarily in the area of brain mapping but more in the field of applied AI. Also many of the key actors are likely corporations and not nations (Goldman Sachs, Google).

  3. However, even though I’m more about the smartphones. Here in our place, solar panels are a good use to the our community. Most of the house in the community have mini panels for even heating water. Funny how fiction inspire modern technologies. Energy harness from the sun is the future, adapt or die.