The 139-page report, commissioned by the European Commission, discusses how computers are taking new forms, interacting more naturally with humans and augmenting reality. And it is available for free download.

The authors describe a world entering the “centaur era” where the traditionally distinct roles of humans and computers will start to be eroded.

“Computers as we know them are disappearing from view,” said Koen De Bosschere, Professor at the engineering faculty of Ghent University, Belgium, and coordinator of the HiPEAC network, in a statement. “The evolution from desktop PC will not stop at smartphone and tablet: the devices and systems that will allow us to automate key infrastructures, such as transport, power grids and monitoring of medical conditions, are bringing us into the age of artificial intelligence. This does not mean man-sized robots, but smart devices that we program and then interact with, such as intelligent personal assistants and self-driving vehicles.”

Marc Duranton, of CEA France, the lead editor of the Vision 2017 report, said: “We find ourselves at a crossroads, as our current way of making computers and their associated software is reaching the limitations of what they can achieve in an ever-changing environment.”

Some of the key developments are seen to be computers capable of machine learning, computer vision systems and analog, quantum and sensory computing for reasons of energy efficiency as well as 5G and the Internet of Things. Ensuring security, privacy and energy efficiency at a sustainable price is fundamental to future developments, the report argues.

Vision 2017 lays out recommendations for Europe to use technology to its advantage, including in the creation of skilled employment.

The report is available for free download from

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