“In a sense, these devices [smartphone, tablet, PC] are kind of blurring together,” Andreessen says. “A lot of the killer apps these days – and I would say this is true of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Gmail – you can use them on whatever device you want, or use them on all the devices at the same time.This has become a meme. A type of meme where believing in it makes it come true. And the PC business believes it. Look at the interface for Windows 8, formerly known as Metro. Look at the Unity interface for Ubuntu. Both obviously terrible interfaces for doing things only a PC is powerful enough to do. Yet the idea of one interface tied back to the cloud for all devices seems to be a truism among the PC leadership. So that's what it's going to be.
“I use the laptop at work, I use the phone when I am walking around – it’s the marrying of the smart device and the user interface back to the cloud that makes these things magical.”
The PC will be the equivalent of a big-screen TV.
On the other hand, PCs can do so much more than smartphones and tablets can do. Is there anything else PCs should be doing?
From a recent Alan Kay, Time Magazine article, the interviewer (David Greelish) asked:
"What do you think about the trend that these devices are becoming purely communication and social tools? What do you see as good or bad about that? Is current technology improving or harming the social skills of children and especially teens? How about adults?"To which Alan Kay replied:
"Social thinking requires very exacting thresholds to be powerful. For example, we’ve had social thinking for 200,000 years and hardly anything happened that could be considered progress over most of that time. This is because what is most pervasive about social thinking is “how to get along and mutually cope.” Modern science was only invented 400 years ago, and it is a good example of what social thinking can do with a high threshold. Science requires a society because even people who are trying to be good thinkers love their own thoughts and theories — much of the debugging has to be done by others. But the whole system has to rise above our genetic approaches to being social to much more principled methods in order to make social thinking work.Kay thinks PCs could be doing more. So why don't they? Do we lack the knowledge, wisdom, and skill to make it so?
"By contrast, it is not a huge exaggeration to point out that electronic media over the last 100+ years have actually removed some of day to day needs for reading and writing, and have allowed much of the civilized world to lapse back into oral societal forms (and this is not a good thing at all for systems that require most of the citizenry to think in modern forms).
"For most people, what is going on is quite harmful."
I've been working on making the PC a "personal and family web assistant". Software that does something to help us to, as Kay put it, "make social thinking work." A "device" that acts as our agent and family protector, working to optimize the relationship between our private lives and the WWW. The main component of the software can only run on a PC.