Tad Williams is the best selling author
of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy. He is renowned for his
futuristic ideas in his books. Mr. Williams provides an interesting
and thoughtful view of computers.
What do you think is the most important component
of the computer industry today?
Connectivity. I believe the future is in mass access
and mass communication.
If you could choose one important innovation for
the future surrounding computers, what would it be?
Availability. We are in grave danger of becoming not
a wired world, but a world of information caste-systems. We need
to think about making cheap computers that almost everyone can afford.
What do you think is the most revolutionary invention
for the computer industry?
Clearly ARPANET (now the internet and web) was the one that
most people didn't see coming, and which looks to be the most profound
change in the next fifty years of computing over what had been previously
How do you see yourself involved in the computer
As a user and occasional gadfly. If someone wants
to build some of the gizmos in my OTHERLAND books, I'll be happy to be
a beta-tester, too.
What do you think is the most important trend
to watch in the development of computers?
The danger, as mentioned above, of a rift developing even
further between haves and have-nots.
What is your favorite aspect of today's technology?
Email, since I get so much more mail than before, and hence
that much more contact with my readers.
Do you credit anyone in particular for leading
the computer industry to where it is today?
Doug Englebart and the Xerox PARC people deserve a lot of
credit, but the list of important contributors is far longer than I have
time for here.
Who do you think will be the prominent figures
in the computer industry in the future?
Maybe someone reading this. It's a gold rush industry,
and brains, hard work, and good ideas can take you a long way.
What would you refer to as the first "computer"?
I would think the Babbage computation device deserves a
few votes, although it's hard to draw the line -- how about the abacus?
Do you have any further points of interest you
would like to share to the readers?
All technologies have a cost, and the more they change society,
the more society can lose during the change. Don't let other people
make all the decisions. Ask questions. Get involved.