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What's Next: We Will Live in Interesting Times!

The future is fraught with potential problems, however, as many of you may have noticed. Our assumption that most users will be compatible with one another is pretty unlikely, given the pace at which technology is advancing. Let's look at some of the more obvious challenges ahead.

My car had access to data on my PDA in one scenario. Do I really want my business schedule open to retrieval? My desktop needs access, as does my car, but this is a potential security risk.

And what if I own the gas station along the bypass route mentioned above. Wouldn't it be great if I could put a fixed transmitter a mile or so on either side of my exit that sent erroneous information to oncoming cars, telling them they ought to get off now? Maybe I can even convince the cars that they are running low on gas!

Gamers will probably pioneer ad hoc networking. Entertainment sells, and financial gain can be a strong motivation to system development. Gamers will want to interact with others, and peer-to-peer games are the next logical step up from interactive games available today.

No matter what happens first, the central repository will become less significant until it is all but forgotten, its resources spread out among the network's peers.

One thing is for certain: We will live in interesting times, as that ancient, thinly veiled curse suggests. But most of us live for the interesting technical challenges anyway. Let's walk into the future calmly and with the slightest hint of a smile as we do.

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