Has Computer Innovation Plateaued?

For the past 40 years, computer innovation has been solely driven by a demand for greater accessibility. First, computers became smaller, so that they could fit on your desk. Then, their operating systems became easier to use, weaning off of texted based interfaces and adopting far more user friendly graphical ones. After that, computers became even smaller, so we could viably take them any where in a backpack or pocketbook. Next, they became connected to one another with the advent of the internet, revolutionizing global communications and making data more accessible than ever before. Most recently, they became small enough to fit into our pockets, and simple enough to be controlled solely by our hands, without the need for any peripherals in between. Through all of these advancements, computers have become more and more accessible, both in terms of ease of use and availability, but now, many are quick to claim that this aforementioned rapid innovation in the computer space has stagnated, and the well that is computer innovation has run dry. However, this is not the case, while the rapid innovation in the computer space is definitely not as visible as it was around a decade ago, it certainly hasn’t stopped. What has changed is the goal computer innovations are being made in pursuit of. The last few decades’ goal of widespread computer accessibility has largely been met, with more people using computers than ever before, thanks to these aforementioned innovations. While the computer innovation well has not run dry, what has, in reality, is the computer accessibility innovation one. Now, as I said previously, computer innovations are being made in light of a new goal: integration. A majority of the computer innovations made across the past decade have been made to help integrate computers into more fields. AI advancements are made to push virtual assistants into our homes through smart home devices. Machine Learning is being used to put more powerful computers in our cars, with the ultimate goal of self driving capabilities. These goals and advancements are built upon those made by innovators who worked to make the computer better, and now computers are being used to make every aspect of our lives better. So to answer this question: “Has computer innovation plateaued?”, no, it has not, it has simply become part of a larger system: human innovation,

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