6. Miniaturization was the big theme in the first age of computers: rising power, falling prices, computers for everybody. Theme of the Second Age now approaching: computing transcends computers. Information travels through a sea of anonymous, interchangeable computers like a breeze through tall grass. A dekstop computer is a scooped-out hole in the beach where information from the Cybersphere wells up like seawater.
7. "The network is the computer" yes; but we're less interested in computers all the time. The real topic in astronomy is the cosmos, not telescopes. The real topic in computing is the Cybersphere and the cyberstructures in it, not the computers we use as telescopes and tuners.
8. The software systems we depend on most today are operating systems (Unix, the Macintosh OS, Windows et. al.) and browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape Communicator...). Operating systems are connectors that fasten users to computers; they attach to the computer at one end, the user at the other. Browsers fasten users to remote computers, to "servers" on the internet.
Today's operating systems and browsers are obsolete because people no longer want to be connected to computers near ones OR remote ones. (They probably never did). They want to be connected to information. In the future, people are connected to cyberbodies; cyberbodies drift in the computational cosmos also known as the Swarm, the Cybersphere.
The Prim Pristine Net To The Omnipresent Swarm
10. You will walk up to any "tuner" (a computer at home, work or the supermarket, or a TV, a telephone, any kind of electronic device) and slip in a "calling card," which identifes a cyberbody. The tuner tunes it in. The cyberbody arrives and settles in like a bluebird perching on a branch.
11. Your whole electronic life will be stored in a cyberbody. You can summon it to any tuner at any time.
12. By slipping it your calling card, you customize any electronic device you touch; for as long as it holds your card, the machine knows your habits and preferences better than you know them yourself.
13. Any well-designed next-generation electronic gadget will come with a ``Disable Omniscience'' button.
14. The important challenge in computing today is to spend computing power, not horde it.
16. The future is dense with computers. They will hang around everywhere in lush growths like Spanish moss. They will swarm like locusts. But a swarm is not merely a big crowd. The individuals in the swarm lose their identities. The computers that make up this global swarm will blend together into the seamless substance of the Cybersphere. Within the swarm, individual computers will be as anonymous as molecules of air.