Forget the Post-PC – It’s the “Ever More Personal Computer”

May 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

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The more I hear the expression the less appropriate the term “post-PC” seems to me. Post-PC only makes sense in a historical view in which the Personal Computer (PC – and here including Macs) is defined as the computer as we know it: our desktop computer or laptop of choice.

“Personal” in this context mostly only makes sense as the revolutionary step that made computers available to normal people, made them personal. The revolution was to make these machines affordable enough to be bought and usable enough to be understood by a regular person. And obviously both of these aspects have improved tremendously since the first build-it-yourself PC-kits were sold by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

But all of this doesn’t make the PC truly personal. The only actual personal computer you own is your smartphone.

How personal is a traditional PC in the actual sense of the word? How much does a PC belong to you as a person or reflect who you are? The longer you use it, the more of your personal data it stores: your photos, your emails, your thoughts expressed in whatever written word you create and even your DNA through your hair that falls between the cracks into its keyboard. It knows about your contacts and your calendar and about the work you do.

However all of this doesn’t make the PC truly personal. The only actual personal computer you own is your smartphone: it knows where you are, what caught your interest just now when you’re taking a photo, what you’re thinking right know when you send out a spontaneous tweet and even when you take a dump, since many of us (myself included) take it with us to the bathroom. The smartphone again may be replaced by some even more personal computer in the form of a wearable computing devices in the near or not so near future.

We are not moving beyond the Personal Computer as the term post-PC evokes. We are actually evolving towards ever more personal computers until one day they may literally be part of who and what we are.



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