Answer by Phil Wolff:
Let's start from what computing and communications in general will be like in 20 or 30 years. I assume they'll be:
- more pervasive (seamless connectivity, internet of things, etc.),
- more wearable or built-in (contacts, cochlear implants, dermal displays, etc.),
- and we'll have new services to help us bring that universe from overwhelm to whelm.
One more assumption:will completely blur the lines between spoken and written language, and even which language (Hindi, Pirate, ) you use. So you'll be able to choose how you want to communicate.
So, in that hypothetical future, email is part and parcel of the whole mix of conversational media. Conversational media have several basic events:
- conversation initiation,
- consumption (reading, listening, watching, feeling, smelling, haptic senses), and
- expression (speaking, drawing, singing, writing, gesturing, etc.).
Discovery. How do you find who to talk to? In the 2010s, work-persona directories () and enterprise discovery services help find the person or group of people to contact for a given purpose. Since we'll be awash in personal data long before 2040, we'll have more than "white pages", "yellow pages", or "social networks" to find people. systems, serendipity services, topic networks, reputation networks like , tribal event networks like , and location services will help you discover the right person to work with or talk to at the right time.
Initiation. In thirty years your software agent/proxy/broker will field offers of new conversation before they reach you. Think spam filter meets alerting service meets professional assistant. Services will compete on how well they interact with you, how accurately their filters reflect your preferences for interruption and notification, and how well they negotiate a mutually agreeable blend of time and media. These "inboxes" will have a wealth of data to use to calculate whether, when, and how to notify you or to start a conversation: social proximity (you're both friends of your ex-husband), prior interactions with you and others, affiliations (works for x, belong to y) and endorsements (your mentor says you should take this call), verification of identity, commercial offers (will pay 元10 for nine minutes in the next hour or a Starbucks cup of coffee), alternative ways to spend your time (you're in line for a concert), your interest in the subject, whether you're on company/personal/family time, etc. In 2013, Facebook decides which updates of thousands from those you trust fit into the fewer than 100 updates the average person reads in a day; in 2040 you'll have more control of what shows up in your inbox.
[Side bet: Microsoft or Google will be better than you at choosing which 'inbox' items are the most interesting to you by 2020 based on user satisfaction tests.]
Consumption. One of the things people like about Skype is it's easy to throttle up and down a ladder of intimacy. At the low end are slow-changing mood messages and presence indicators. IM lets you throttle up from asynchronous messaging to live back-and-forth chats. When that's not enough you can add voice. And when you need to see faces and body language, you move up to video. In thirty years we'll have more UI presentation methods to choose from like holographic avatars oror having your tweets sung to you in the style of . You'll have new metaphors and design surfaces for consuming asynchronous conversation. And we'll find it smooth to rapidly switch among any media and any visualization paradigm.
Expression. Thirty years' ago in the earlywe didn't have Internet, smartphones, electric cars, free video conferencing, private spacecraft or nanotechnology. We're now in the 1980s of 2040, the subject of costume dramas and kids ironically our fashions. By 2040 we should have at least a few more billion people connected to cyberspace, some very intimately. The range of available connectivity, devices, and media will continue to diverge with haves and have-nots.
When talking human-to-human you'll be able to toss original content – data from what you say or perform – into the conversation flow. The channel should take care of converting it from how you choose to express yourself (longhand, typing, talking, foxtrot) into forms preferred or needed by the other other person; consider this automation of the interpreter relay services provided for the visually impaired or the deaf on phones today.
Your channel will let you play "live streaming producer" on your part of the conversation, feeding media objects into the conversation as you like. You'll even be able to merge and fork live threads/streams (think git for live conferences).
You'll also have some control or influence about other attributes of your conversation. Who has the right to share the record of this conversation? How much? With whom? Can records of this conversation be destroyed in real time the way some email services delete email after expiry? Can we have this conversation permanently archived in public? How much anonymity or pseudonymity will you accept?
Toasters and insulin pumps. But email is not solely the province of people. We've been hooking up machines to email for decades. By 2040 we'll have trillions of sensors and devices engaging in conversation with people and each other. Notifications from our bodies (), our things, and our places will be in our s. Our inboxen will test Inquiries from stranger devices just like inquiries from strange people: Is this notification from the bus you're riding worth your attention now? If so, what's the best context and form for engaging with it given you're in a space where it's impolite to talk and you're using your hands to hang on for dear life? Some conversations just don't need words, after all. You may just need to see a chart or hear a message; you may just need to grunt or wave in response. Remember to buy a premium personality for your pacemaker: for an extra two percent, the Bollywood star of your choice will be its living avatar.
Personal vs. Work. Do you remember when you had separate email accounts for each job, for your personal life, from your school, and for volunteer gig? Umpteen mailboxes? Whilst it keeps your peas from touching your potatoes and your boss from talking with your mistress, the actual act of juggling mutliple accounts is painful. You'll have one queue, one spew of inbound offers to talk from every part of your life. You may offer different faces/handles/personas for each context the way you hand out personal and business email addresses now, but your single, seemingly self-aware "inbox" will let you wear the appropriate mask and project the appropriate identity for each. New legal constructs, like, will support this.
Work vs. Talk. You asked specifically about email for business. Email and other electronic media are part of how labor markets work today and how workers get things done together. So let's talk about thefor a moment. Thirty years from now, on the other side of wars, famines, depressions, disruptions, and alien invasions, many elements of work will be the same: many of us will rent our time to people or organizations that will pay us. But expect much of that work, to be done with, if not through, your communication channels. There will be no need to have separate toolkits for conversation vs. metawork (work about work, like scheduling, to-do lists, project management, budgeting, etc.) vs. collaboration. Context providers will let you "skin" your full-body-browser to add the features that blend work, metawork and conversation together. Think of it as Bring Your Own Inbox/Phone/Reality. So whether you're sortieing with your squad for work, tweaking your bots for fun, or negotiating a contract for your family, you'll use the same conversational media.
Somewhere in 2040, email as we know it in 2012 will continue to flow. But we'll be thinking about "email" then the way we think about teletype consoles and punch cards now: antiques that paved the way.
Answer by Brian Roemmele:
If a rock was thrown at this glass house, little to no damage would occur.
The instantly iconic and artistically beautiful Fifth Avenue Apple store stands like a glass oasis amongst the almost century old granite and cement buildings in this area. This is an architectural marvel.
Stronger Than Your Average Glass
The 32 foot perfect cube is far more sturdy then it would appear to be. Apple uses a patented process that creates some of the strongest Industrial Grade Structural Glass in the world. This is the masterful collaboration of Apple, including Steve Jobs directly working with architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson working for. Up until just recently, there was only one company in the world that could produce this Glass for Apple: Seele GmbH & Co. in Gerthofen, Germany.
During the design, tests were carried out using “Nastran" and "Lucas" FEA software, designed to calculate stresses and deformations in complex geometrical structures. The results of the FEA is a color-coded diagram that focuses on load limits of the glass. The lamination process is similar to the glass you would find in an Automotive window, but far, far stronger. Not only is the glass supporting the vertical load of the entire structure, it also completely supports the horizontal loads created by the structure itself and external forces such as high winds with the aid of 25 Glass Fins that run the height of the cube.
The Apple Cube Almost Stops A Speeding Bullet
There are no doubts that a thrown rock at most distances would simply bounce off the Glass panels in most cases. At worse case if hit on a support or corner, there would be some small chips expelled. The Glass can take a rather hard hit with a hand hammer and not offer up anything more than a few external chips. A Bullet from a typical hand revolver would cause a small entry hole, but certainly would not shatter the glass. This is not "Bullet Proof" glass, but in some circumstances a bullet will be deflected by the glass. It is the flexibility the Lamination process creates for the glass that really is the secret to it's strength. A wonderful presentation on the structural efficiencies of Laminated Glass by the Institute Of Structural Engineers, can be found here:
The Cube is Changing
Just when the the world has gotten used to this amazing structure, Apple is changing it for the better. This process will actually make the cube stronger and more amazing to look at. Apple is in the process of replacing the 90 Glass Panels for just 15!
There are a number of reasons for the change. One of them was a few very minor flaws in the original design that was causing a little more horizontal stress then what was projected, although it would not have caused a failure of the structure.
The new design will have far less connectors and about a 20% increase in panel strength in comparison to the older manufacturing process. Apple found that North Glass Safety Glass Co. in China was able to produce better structural support in comparison to Seele GmbH & Co. Apple tested this process with curved glass at the Sanlitun store in Beijing. Thus, Apple's remodeling will be complete later this fall.
Apple is far from done with its use of Structural Glass in its stores and at the proposed new headquarters. In the end, glass is still glass– but as technology keeps improving, the strength is being pushed to rival other traditional building materials.
Answer by Brian Roemmele:
The Beautiful 110 Year Old Light Bulb That Never Turned Off
Installed before the Wright Brothers took to flight, 110 Years old and she is still beautiful. It is perhaps the oldest electrical device in continuous use. Take a moment and contemplate just how much the world has changed around this amazing device.
Beautiful glow of the Shelby Incandescent lamp.
It was a hot summer evening in Livermore, California in 1901 and the band concert across the street was just about to conclude, but the fire captain had an announcement. The Fire Department Hose Cart House on L Street had just installed a new modern technological marvel, one of the first electric carbon lightbulbs in town and invited anyone curious to stop by and witness this new invention. This was the “Improved Incandescent Lamp” was the lightbulb of choice and it was an incredible design. In many cities the Fire Departments were motivating people to consider using this relatively new invention for safety. And of course this came by years of heartbreaking experience.
A lost era when companies had so much pride about who they were, where they were and what they built.
This amazing light bulb was invented by Adolphe A. Chaillet and manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company. The beautiful handblown glass bulb with a uniquely shaped carbon filament beamed a consistent ~10 watts (perhaps more). This light bulb has been turned on ever since, over 40,150 days. The only rest she took was for about 7 days during a renovation and the random power outages over the decades. She always woke up.
Showing her unique curves, what stories she could tell about how the world changed around her.
You can check in on how she is doing, still proudly casting her light and reporting for duty for the last 110 years at this live webcam:
A Lightbulb That Lasts Forever Is Not Good For Business
Know as the Centennial Light (), the Livermore Fire department is really quite proud of the bulb and the built to last American engineering and manufacturing that went into it. Sadly Adolphe’s superior lightbulb design and the Shelby Electric Company did not survive for a number of reasons.
One of the many reasons tweets would not work in 1901.
Some suggest that it was a plan of planned obsolescence that was taking over the industry that finally drew the end of Adolphe’s design. Some may suggest that the Shelby technology did not survive because in some way it was inefficient or high wattage or bright light was not possible. This is not the case at all. When the Shelby bulb was installed in 1901 it was brighter then a standard Edison bulb. Shelby also had bulbs of up to 60 watts in 1901 with color tonality of light orange to almost bright white this was far better then any other product.
Shelby was sold in a roll-up of a vast majority of Lightbulb companies in the United States. The National Electric Lamp Association a division of the General Electric Company purchased the Shelby Electric Company and with-in a year stopped all production on Adolphe A. Chaillet amazing design.
I have sat here and tried to think of any electrical device that I use that could weather 110 years of “always on” use. I am still thinking.
“I am still here”
The many advancements Adolphe made are lost to the sands of time. The exact processes may not have been saved, his knowledge is gone. Although there were three tantalizing patents issued in his life, they do not explain how he made his amazing carbon filament. What Adolphe really created was almost erased from popular history.
Yet this 110 year old light bulb is proof of what one person can achieve. It’s very existence proudly states, I am still here. It is proof that there is far more to all technologies then we can ever imagine. It is proof that true history matters. If only to pay tribute to the genius that got us so very far.
This proud 110 year old girl elegantly reminds us of all of the past, present and future Adolphe A. Chaillet’s of the world.
My deepest wish is that this light never goes out and can be contemplated perhaps a thousand years from now. May she serve as a living reminder of how we can make even the most simple useful things heroically beautiful.
The world may change and still she glows…
At 110 years old, she is spectacularly beautiful to behold. I see so much character and individuality.