Informatique

Revue

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Grow and Stay Innovative

Jean-Paul Colin, a consultant and former executive of the IT giant Intel, shows here how hard it is for a rapidly growing company to retain the qualities that made it strong: namely, its capacity for innovation, and the fluidity in its decision-making circuits that enables new ideas to be implemented rapidly. Is a company doomed to decline once its size increases appreciably? Not necessarily, says Jean-Paul Colin. You have to think, above all, in terms of decision-making circuits, and not strictly in financial terms. This means you have sometimes to be open to dividing up the company structure, so as to achieve a better potential for innovation.

Note de veille

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Microsoft gère mal la confiance de ses clients

Les spécialistes dénoncent dans le nouveau navigateur de Microsoft une faille de sécurité que l’éditeur a négligé de corriger alors qu’elle lui avait été signalée par une start-up il y a six mois. Un exemple du mépris d’une grande entreprise pour la compétence des PME (petites et moyennes entreprises)… et pour des utilisateurs contraints par une position de quasi-monopole. Une attitude qui coûte en fait cher à Microsoft.??

Analyse prospective

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Les conséquences de la bataille des microprocesseurs

La culture des dirigeants et le type de management des hommes peuvent influencer les résultats opérationnels jusquíà remettre en cause une situation d'hégémonie historique comme celle d'Intel. S'étant enfoncé dans une impasse stratégique faute d'avoir écouté ses techniciens, Intel devrait continuer à céder du terrain devant AMD. Les options techniques díIntel ont entraîné une surconsommation énergétique équivalant à plusieurs tranches de centrale nucléaire par an. La progression d'AMD dont les processeurs consomment beaucoup moins d ...

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Note de veille

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Société, modes de vie

Le PC à 100 dollars nous concerne

Le pari de Nicoholas Negroponte (MediaLab du MIT) et de l’association One Laptop Per Child (http://laptop.org/en/) de fournir un ordinateur portable à bas prix aux enfants des pays émergents au travers des écoles, ne concerne pas que le tiers-monde. Les conséquences sont de quatre ordres.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

The New Look of Computing

Pierre Bonnaure surveys here the different trends that are changing the world of computing today. He starts by recalling that Moore's Law - which for more than 30 years has predicted that the density of microprocessors (i.e. the number of transistors integrated on a single silicon chip) would double every 18 months - might well reach saturation point quite quickly. He highlights the various innovations under way or in the pipeline from most of the manufacturers of processors (Intel, IBM...) in order to cope with these limits and improve computer architecture. Lastly, he assesses the impact of these changes on the main producers of computer hardware and software, and the shifts in strategy of the main players in the sector.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Informatique : l’après-Moore ?

The phenomenon labelled "Moore's law" is well known: over the last 30 years the density of microprocessors per integrated circuit, i.e. the number of transistors integrated on the same silicon chip, has doubled every 18 months.
Readers of Futuribles will perhaps recall, however, the article we published in September 2002 (n° 278), in which Jean-Paul Colin already argued that this pace of progress could not be maintained indefinitely. He returns to the topic here, stressing that this amazing miniaturization of transistors gave rise to many desirable but also undesirable effects.
According to Colin, other factors influence the overall performance of an integrated circuit and of the system which uses it, such as its architecture and the power lost by a microprocessor in the form of heat. First, this power loss is doubling every 36 months: such an increase will eventually become a major problem. Secondly, improvements in the architecture of microprocessors -a factor whose importance is rapidly increasing as systems become more complex- is not keeping pace with this growing complexity.
Colin insists that these two factors are likely to be decisive in future in determining whether or not Moore's law continues to operate. It is virtually certain, moreover, that Intel, having failed either to make the investment or to acquire the necessary expertise in this regard, will see its position challenged by new competitors (including IBM, American start-ups and Asian firms) which will perhaps play a much more important role hereinafter.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Sur les nanotechnologies

Gérard Blanc discusses a report commissioned by Greenpeace on nanotechnologies, artificial intelligence and robotics. The author, Alexander Arnall of Imperial College London, a recognized authority on these matters, provides an overview of the current state of knowledge of nanotechnologies and their potential applications in the medium and long term, as well as an assessment of their likely impact on health and the environment.
After presenting the technical and financial issues relating to nanotechnologies in the industrialized countries, Gérard Blanc discusses the possible developments in the field. He stresses that in the short run, nanotechnologies will probably remain in the research phase, but in the longer run (at least 5 to 10 years hence) they may give rise to more practical applications in areas such as the food industry, electronics, medicine, energy, etc. However, he thinks that initially most of their applications will be in the military sphere.
As Gérard Blanc says, the main significance of the report is that it was produced independently of industrial interests, thus allowing Alexander Arnall to highlight some of the risks that have been poorly evaluated with regard to the potential impact of various applications on human health and the environment. What is therefore important is for the scientific community now to acknowledge these risks, so as to be able to decide which applications to develop first without endangering the future of our descendants.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

L’homme en échec, suite et fin

The defeat of the chess champion Garry Kasparov by the IBM Deep Blue computer in 1997 has often been described as the defeat of man by a machine. Thierry Libaert has already analysed this event for Futuribles (n° 228, February 1998, pp. 5-15), putting the significance of this victory into perspective. Since then two return matches between man and machine have been played (in 2002 and 2003) and ended in stalemate; Thierry Libaert therefore pursues his reactions to the topic a little further.
He first discusses the distinctive features of these encounters between human beings and machines, and emphasizes that the exponential increase in the calculating power of computers will inevitably lead in the long term to the machine outclassing human beings in this kind of game of strategy. Yet this does not mean the end of the game of chess. On the contrary, he argues, these developments could stimulate human chess players to find a new approach to the game.
He concludes his piece by drawing an analogy between human thought processes and computer calculation, suggesting that the design and technical improvements to chess computers might help in understanding how the human brain works, and that ultimately this might be expressed algebraically.

Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Protéger les inventions de demain. Biotechnologies, logiciels et méthodes d’affaires

Alors que les États voient en l'innovation la clé première de la compétitivité et prennent davantage conscience de l'importance de la propriété intellectuelle pour soutenir cette innovation, celle-ci, spécialement à travers informatique et biotechnologies, prend un tour nouveau qui conduit certains à s'interroger sur la pertinence du brevet et oblige à le repenser. Ces créations d'un nouveau type, souvent de nature « informationnelle », correspondent, en effet, à de nouveaux modèles innovants et sortent des schémas connus. Dans ...

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Bibliography

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

City of Dreams

Le logiciel Quest, basé sur la notion de développement durable, permet aux utilisateurs de créer des scénarios environnementaux, économiques et sociaux à l'échelle d'une région, en choisissant des politiques et en observant leurs répercussions. Élaboré par les chercheurs du Sustainable Development Research Institute, de l'Université de Colombie-Britannique, à partie de l'exemple du jeu vidéo très populaire SimCity, ce modèle est en cours de développement dans la région de Vancouver, dans la vallée du Langat (Malaisie), à ...

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Bibliography

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

With or Without : Comparative Study of Preparing Participatory for Izmir with Computer-based and Traditional Brainstorming

Dans cet article les auteurs rendent compte de leur expérience, qui a eu pour cadre des ateliers de construction de scénarios pour la région d'Izmir, en Turquie. Ils ont comparé les résultats de deux groupes de travail parallèles, l'un utilisant la méthode traditionnelle de brainstorming avec un animateur (en suivant les étapes classiques : identification des changements structurels et des problèmes actuels / imagination de scénarios souhaitables / identification des obstacles pour y arriver / identification des mesures pour les surmonter / imagination ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Le E-book, incertitudes et perspectives d’avenir. Analyse du jeu des acteurs par la méthode Mactor

Apparu en pleine euphorie de l'Internet et des nouvelles technologies du numérique dans la deuxième moitié des années 1990, le E-book représente pour le très traditionnel secteur du livre une véritable innovation de rupture qui amène à réfléchir à l'avenir du livre tel que nous le connaissons et à celui de la lecture telle que nous la pratiquons. Éric Porcheron, qui a mené ce travail dans le cadre du troisième cycle de prospective et stratégie du Conservatoire national ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Économie du logiciel : renforcer la dynamique française

L'industrie du logiciel occupe une place centrale dans l'infrastructure technologique de nos sociétés et dans le fonctionnement des entreprises et des organisations. Le groupe de travail présidé par Hugues Rougier, associant experts du secteur privé et du secteur public, a examiné quelle était la situation actuelle du logiciel en France et comment les pouvoirs publics pouvaient renforcer sa dynamique de développement. Ses recommandations s'orientent dans deux directions. Tout d'abord, aider les acteurs à innover et à ...

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Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Territoires, réseaux

L’informatique et l’automobile

The well-known Solow paradox is named after the winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, who pointed out that "you see computers everywhere except in statistics on productivity".
As is shown by the article elsewhere in this issue of the impact of IT on growth, the contribution of information technology on productivity is still hard to measure. They do, however, make an important contribution to the improvement of products, as Pierre Bonnaure argues, taking the example of automobiles.
He sets out to show how car manufacturers have introduced more and more IT into their products and highlights the resulting advantages, for example in terms of safety and comfort.

Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Des ordinateurs intelligents… et conscients. À propos du livre de Ray Kurzweil, « The Age of Spiritual Machines. When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence »

Gérard Blanc discusses at some length the most recent book by the great American expert on artificial intelligence, Ray Kurzweil, in which he argues that as computers become increasingly endowed with intelligence and even consciousness, they will come into direct competition with human beings.
Ray Kurzweil has little doubt that from now until 2009, 2019, 2029 and 2099, computers will continue to make giant strides and will allow human beings, if not to become immortal, at least to "remake" themselves.
The issue discussed here is therefore whether machine intelligence is superior to or different from human intelligence, if not, indeed, human consciousness, and, following from that, what role and place will be left for the human race.

Forum

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Informatique et productivité

The new economy, e-commerce: the two terms are widely used today as if they were synonyms, as if growth was generated only by the new technologies. The question raised by Michel Drancourt - can computers be a source of productivity and growth? - may therefore appear surprising. However, as he shows very clearly, the answer is not that straightforward because, while the increases in productivity are obvious, they are the result of a more complex process of reshaping firms and the system of production, of a mixture of technological innovation and social and organizational changes.
In fact, one of the major challenges facing us today relates to our ability to innovate in these two areas simultaneously, even though the pace of technical progress is clearly much faster than that of social change.

Revue

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Microsoft : le devoir d’innover

Over the last 25 years we have witnessed the amazing rise of Bill Gates and his firm Microsoft, the world leader in software for personal computers, which will prove to be the leading business of the end of the 20th century.
Success, however, has its downside: the company, which has its headquarters in Redmont (USA), is currently being attacked in the American courts under the anti-trust legislation because of its dominant position and may ultimately be obliged to break up. But Bill Gates is not finished yet. Pierre Bonnaure looks here at the different strategic options opened to him, including publishing the basic code for Windows on which he has built his wealth.
According to Pierre Bonnaure, Microsoft could yet win through by giving up its monopoly on software that is becoming out-of-date and by playing a pioneering role in the new generation of network computers.

Bibliography

Entreprises, travail - Recherche, sciences, techniques

Le Bug de l’an 2000

Bref mais suffisamment complet, facile à lire et d'un ton mesuré, cet ouvrage ne sacrifie ni au catastrophisme, ni à la légèreté. À travers un rappel des origines du calcul mécanique jusqu'aux ordinateurs tels que nous les connaissons aujourd'hui, les auteurs habituent le lecteur à l'idée que les ordinateurs les plus modernes recèlent des tares héritées d'une époque déjà lointaine où le manque de puissance de calcul et d'espace de mémoire ont obligé les ...

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Bibliography

Recherche, sciences, techniques

Visions. Comment la science va révolutionner le XXIe siècle

Les « Visions » que nous propose Michio Kaku se fondent sur une extrapolation des avancées que connaissent trois grands domaines : l'informatique, les biotechnologies et les théories quantiques. Ces domaines ne sont pas de même nature ; la physique quantique, qui est le plus ancien, fournit le fondement conceptuel sur lequel repose la compréhension de la matière ; l'intelligence des bases moléculaires de la vie s'est édifiée sur cette physique. Quant à l'informatique qui repose sur un substrat technologique dont ...

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Revue

Recherche, sciences, techniques

L’homme en échec ?

Check to Man
In the collective imagination, the game of chess, like the game of Go, symbolizes human intelligence -- some even call it strategic intelligence.
The defeat of Gary Kasparov by IBM's Deep Blue was therefore sensational since, quite aside from its commercial exploitation, it demonstrated the supremacy of the machine over human intelligence even though the computer was itself conceived and made by man.
In truth, Libaert tells us, intelligence doesn't reduce to computational speed and power. Rather than viewing this victory as the supremacy of our tools, it should lead us to ask ourselves anew what humanity retains which is uniquely human.
The question is certainly not a new one, but it will keep recurring with unprecedented acuity in the degree to which science and technology advance.