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A High-Tech Pioneer Reflects on the Digital Revolution

By Computerworld

December 1, 2011

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In an interview, Frederico Faggin, who led the design and development of the first microprocessor in 1970, says he sees a future in which quantum and cognitive computing are widely used.

However, there is no way to foresee the drastic changes that technological evolution will bring in another 40 years, according to Faggin, who has received the Kyoto Prize and the National Medal for Technology and Innovation, and has been inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame.

Faggin says he is still amazed by the revolution that started with the microprocessor. "The way it has transformed our lives was just unthinkable 40 years ago," he says. Possibly the most important development to rise from the creation of the microprocessor is the smartphone, according to Faggin.

In addition, he says the concept of e-books could revolutionize how people learn in the future. "Ten or 20 years from now, books will be interactive, multimedia types of things," he says.

The next big stage of computing will be the development of quantum and cognitive computing, which Faggin says will bring major changes to research, mathematics, and science. "The real revolution will be to figure out a way to create cognitive computing," he says. "We are just in the very early stages of that so it's hard to predict when that will happen."

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