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The end of the personal computer is nigh

Posted on june 15, 2021 by ASK-Solutions in discussion

The end of the personal computer is nighA preposterous statement to make, which alas is true. Even worse, it's part of an even bigger and more preposterous claim: "the end of ownership is nigh". Let us explain why these statements are true.

Progress

It's nothing new, new technologies emerge, grow in popularity and them die out, get obsolete, or become unpopular for some other reason. The personal computer replaced the micro computer, which in turn replaced the mini computer. Before that, there was the era of the mainframes, big iron, and the ELM and Colossus. They all replaced tasks performed manually with various apparatus such as typewriters, pens, calculators, sticks and stones, the teletype, telegraph, smoke signals, et cetera. Historically it is impossible for the end of the personal computer not to occur. The only question is how, why and when.

Natural selection, or, something else

Historically, technologies go out of favor because another technology presents itself and as more people start to use it, the new technology becomes cheaper and more available, making the old technology more expensive and less favourable. This, however does no longer seem to apply. This process of natural selection and evolution seems to be broken. Instead, big tech now seems to be in control. They decide what the populace uses and wants. By forcing what the populace uses through controlling availability and planned obsolescence, and what they ‘want’ by:

  • controlling the media (advertising; being both the: manufacturer, retailer, infrastructure provider, advertising platform and news outlet),
  • selective manipulation of technology (such as slowing down or interrupting services when not accessed through their device or browser),
  • and playing into instant gratification (such as instant delivery and enabling binge watching).
Big tech is steering us to replace the personal computer; not by a better and new technology, but by a remote interface to their personal computer which they control. We're being tricked into giving up our own computing and replace it with consuming their services. Before long we won't own anything anymore. We would have a few devices to transfer audio, video and touch input to big tech, for them to perform the computing and store our data. Not only collect data about us, but store and control our lives.

The Amazon bot net

A good example is a device like the Amazon Echo. This is not a device that is able to recognize our voice commands to perform various tasks for us. It's just an internet connected microphone and antenna. It records the audio in our room and transmits it to Amazon. It listens to the ISM radio bands and sends the commands from our various remote controls, for example garage door openers, to Amazon. Potentially it also sends the proximity of RFID tags often present in our and our visitors’ and neighbours’ clothing, phones, passports, drivers licenses, tools and cars; the just launched Amazon Sidewalk network. Amazon, not the Echo and other devices like the Ring doorbell, have the computer power to process and store this data for us. In return, we're offered conveniences such as the ability to ask about tomorrows weather instead of looking it up. Or having your television and coffee maker turn on automatically when driving down your block. You are monitored all day and night, even if you don't own any Amazon devices, through the devices of your neighbours, or devices in your proximity. You can't turn this off anymore. Only add an evil AI to the mix, and you have Skynet.

Google's MIPS rental

Another example is the Google Chromebook. It's not a personal computer in a laptop, notebook or tablet format. It's an interface to Google's services such as Drive, Maps, YouTube, Netflix, Workplaces et cetera. If you’re writing a letter, doing your taxes, listening to an audio book or watching a television series, you're not doing that on your Chromebook. The Chromebook is just the interface. You’re doing this on the personal computer based computers at Google. You don't own your data, Google does.

The double tech sword

Big tech does this, because it has grown to require this to continue to exist. They don't want to peep into your private life, they have grown to do this by necessity. Without them becoming the owner of your thoughts, they don't know how to target their advertising, they don't know what television series to make, they would be at a loss.

Who's in control

You owning a personal computer, enables you to keep things private; not necessarily hide things, but you are in control who knows what and when. Your taxes are and should remain something between you and your government. You do them and send them to the government. Or, you have them done for you by a party you know and trust. You are still in control; you decide what and when you give this information. If the tax advisor wants to know something, they have to ask you and you decide what to answer. The government, nor your tax advisor will listen in to which music you listened to while doing your taxes. Nor will they analyze the mistakes you made inbetween. Nor will they track the visitors you have received. Nor will they be analyzing your income and purchase choices. Google does all of this, to alter the news you're presented with and to promote a vacation or a new zombie apocalypse series.

The more you own, the more you control, the less ability big tech has to continue to grow in the rate they've become accustomed to; take over the world and your life.

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