back to article Future wars will be over water not fuel, warns Intel sage

If you think you’ve seen the thinnest, smallest form factors computers can go into, Intel CTO of Datacentre and Connected Systems Group and senior fellow Steve Pawlowski reckons you’re dead wrong. Asked at the European Research and Innovation Conference to give a talk on his predictions for the next 10 years, Pawlowski’s …


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  1. Big Al


    Personal keychains are a great idea... now, who's got the solution to being able to slurp data from them, spread viruses to all your devices through them, and so on...?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think my drunk 3 AM conjectures are just as good as this guy's

    ... at least he didn't start blathering on about religion or politics. I hate it when my drunkard friends do that.

  3. Error Message Silver badge


    "...these kinds of small form factors would mean that people’s information stayed with them instead of with the machine they interacted with."

    Sounds like Intel. Predicting flash memory 30 years after the fact.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ‘What causes gravity?’

    Mass causes gravity; I'm pretty sure we know that one already.

    The real question then becomes what causes mass?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The Real Answer


      It's sure caused my mass to increase.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        The Real Answer


        It's sure to solve all water shortages!

    2. rciafardone

      i know you are probably jocking but...

      Gravity is indeed proportional to the mass of an object. The question is where are the "gravity waves" that cause stuff to be sticky at a distance. Nothing we know of can "disrupt" or alter the gravitational influence. Gravity is weird, is the only force that is only attractive. Tho i would not be surprised is the repulsive force that is supposed to be accelerating the expansion of the universe is gravity's unknown repulsive counterpart.

      Anti-gravity... now that's a cool concept.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aye well ...

    I've been saying hydro-despotism will be the next big thing for a while now.

    1. Herbert Meyer

      title for Hydro-Despot

      Perhaps Pharaoh ?

    2. Mediocrates

      Looks like Mr. Pawlowski just saw Tank Girl...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We have it now

    ... the smart phone.

    All anything needs is a bluetooth connection to the phone to have temporary access to the data that it needs, like address books and the like. USB to the desktop to transfer data to the store, etc., etc.

    For me, the vision that he is describing, is already here. Maybe a few tweaks, but it is practically here already.

    Or have I missed the point again?

    1. Charles 9


      Bluetooth and USB connections weren't built with security and least privilege in mind. I think Intel envisions that this "PDA of the future" will hold all your personal data but will also be built to limit access to that data. If you tell a rental GPS to look up a contact, it requests the information but only gets back the list. When told to retrieve a contact, the GPS should only get back the address, maybe the phone number if it's call-capable. The necessary infrastructure to enact least privilege on personal data isn't yet in place, and it will be a necessary step towards this level of interactivity.

  7. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    and by extension?

    To most natural resources such as food, (organic food even moreso), natural fuels, rare minerals especially those used in large scale industries...

    Probably proteins going very expensive and carbohydrates going very inexpensive with associated healthcare costs rocketing.

    We will really need those secure methods for sure.

  8. Tim Wolfe-Barry
    Black Helicopters


    Didn't James Bond get there first?

    Can of drinking-oil anyone?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War for water

    Not a new idea.

    And some in the Middle East would say it's already happening. (2002)

    1. rciafardone

      i wonder...

      is there anything in the middle east that people DON'T fight for?

  10. EddieD

    More like onions...

    Tech will get smaller, privacy is being eroded, and we're going to run out of resources....

    Gee, you don't say.

    The upcoming watergeddon has been predicted for decades - there are currently many major disputes in the middle east as one country drains an acquifer and the next country along gets peeved (

    You don't become a sage by stating the bleeding obvious.

  11. Blubster

    @ What causes gravity?

    "Mass causes gravity; I'm pretty sure we know that one already.

    The real question then becomes what causes mass?"

    In my case it's a surfeit of pork pies.

  12. JaitcH

    All day I've faced a barren waste ...

    All day I've faced a barren waste

    Without the taste of water, cool water

    Old Dan and I with throats burned dry

    And souls that cry for water

    Cool, clear, water (Marty Robins)

    The news that water will be a cause for war is hardly news. More than likely the US of A will break the Great Lakes agreement (no water to be transported out of the GL basin).

    Already the mid-Western aquifer is barely making it! Los Angeles ships water in a canal for hundreds of miles and loses 50% to evaporation. Texas is already well under supplied and the fuel industry is drilling deeper and deeper to get it's supplies.

    China has seriously polluted so many of it's bodies of water it is already suffering.

    Canada is self-sufficient as long as the US doesn't get greedy, especially British Columbia and Ontario (250,000 lakes). The River Nile is already really stressed.

    I think the date of 2030 is way optimistic.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Bob Nolan Wrote 'Cool Water'

      ...not Marty Robbins. When Bob was with 'Sons of the Pioneers'.

  13. Buzzword

    Personal keychains <- AirPlay mirroring

    Apple is going that way with AirPlay mirroring. Right now you can whip out your iPhone and mirror the display onto your nearest HDTV (AppleTV required). With a resolution of 940x640, that's not far off a small desktop monitor. Next step is adding a keyboard and mouse to that TV, and Apple will invent AirInput. When the CPU and all storage can be carried in your smartphone, computers will be reduced to just KVM (Keyboard, Video, & Mouse).

    Coat, the one with my entire life's work in the pocket, just waiting to be nicked.

  14. JeffyPooh

    Water - NEWS FLASH: It falls from the sky like rain

    The Earth has about a brazillion times more fresh water than is needed by humans. There are plenty of crystal clean rivers dumping millions of cubic km of fresh and clean (potable) water into the world's oceans. If we built as many cross-continental fresh water pipelines as we have for crude oil and natural gas, then it would be a non-issue.

    This is not to say that humans aren't foolish in how they (mis)manage the world's water supply. But it's a primate-stupidity issue, not a planet-scale shortage of clean water. If humans behave just ever-so-slightly less stupid regarding water, then the problem will be totally solved in a couple of years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ " Water - NEWS FLASH: It falls from the sky like rain"

      Except for where it doesn't. Or, not very often.

      Control that and you have a much tighter reign over your population than any amount of guns, oil or gunboat diplomacy could ever buy.

      1. rciafardone

        i think you didnt read...

        The part about pipelines...

    2. JP19

      We are supposed to put bricks in our loo cisterns because.....

      In the UK only around 2300 gallons of water fall from the sky per person per day.

      There is no shortage of water around here, just a shortage of will to build infrastructure to collect, store, and deliver it.

      1. OrsonX

        UK: it rains every day

        As we can no longer produce anything other than unemployment perhaps we should go into the canned rain-water business?

        1. M7S

          I thought we had less rainwater than Somalia or something like that

          We're actually not very water rich as a country, particularly with 60m+ people.

          What would help greatly however is an increasing use of things like domestic (house) rainwater harvesting and greywater use where possible, although the re-plumbing required in current houses might prove initially expensive.

    3. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      Actually that's kind of the point

      Water falls from the sky, but it does so (globally speaking) at a fairly fixed rate and there's no way to increase it. In that sense it's the ultimate limited resource, and that's what wars are fought over.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Future form factors

    Why stop at keychain size? It's a bit impractical for an sort of UI even if it would be only a secondary one when you're not near a bigger console you can interact with it at.

    My guess is that personal computers will converge towards something about the size of a business or credit card and be slightly flexible too. And they will probably communicate with and draw their power wirelessly from their hosts.

    Oh, and smart phones will revert to being just phones.

  16. Fat Bob

    Desalination plants have a access to a virtually unlimited supply of water, Seems to me the power to run them would be more of an issue.

  17. Mermaid Dick

    Medical diagnosis by computer

    Most real diseases are easily to diagnose. Computer-generated diagnostics may seem to be a godsend to doctors. Unlike real doctors the computer program does not need to shy away from diagnosing hypochondria.

    The trouble starts when the patient goes to a real doctor for a second opinion.

    (Mine is the one with the DSM-IV in the pocket)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War over Water

    UK and Ireland to be invaded?

    As over the last couple of months seems to be constant rain.

    Maybe we need Rob McKenna to do a world tour of all the troublespots?

    1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
      Thumb Up

      Rob McKeena was a miserable bastard and he knew it...

      We don't need rain Gods. The power resides within us all.

      It really is quite simple to avert a hydro-skirmish, simply get both sides to phone each other up and sincerely declare: "Let's have a barbecue at the weekend". PFS.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of recent patent wars...

    Yet again "leading" tech pundits prove they are as out of touch with their industry as politicians are with, well just about everything.

    Keychain PCs, not a new idea

    Running out of water, not a new idea

    I'm wondering if he followed up with "people will learn to breath oxygen and fuel their bodies from complex proteins"

  20. Ben Rosenthal

    In before Ice Pirates!

    watch out for Space Herpe

  21. TeeCee Gold badge


    This 'ere rental car has been taken by a previous hirer to this address!!

    And the risk here is what exactly?

    If Big Brother wants to know where you went in it, he'll just ask the ANPR database. Also, if that data *is* of any importance, wiping the unit's memory or having the address data stored elsewhere will make sod-all difference. Anyone with half a brain will just read the "deleted" log information from its flash memory before it's overwritten with new stuff.

  22. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How the hell am I going to type on a keychain? It's bad enough already trying to type on one of those gooseberry nonsenses.

    1. rciafardone

      ... not to mention those untouchable screens

  23. Graham Jordan

    @fat bob

    I'm glad someone mentuioned this. Sure poor countries won't benefit from them, but given how much water these things can produce you could in theory create an Amzon cutting east to west through Africa and change the eco system along with it bringing more rain to starved areas.

    But that's of course just a theory, a theory held back by money and politics.

    Fresh water should never be a cause for war. Over population however gets my vote.

    1. rciafardone

      You don't need to bring sweet water from other continents, Jut create a salt water pipeline that uses solar energy to evaporate part of it. the pure water can be then collected and served to the local population. It is a complex and large system, but perfectly feasible with current tech, heck you could do it with 1700 tech, but clear plastic is better that glass, or so i think.

      1. Charles 9

        Desalination plants.

        Desalination plants are not new. Trouble is, they're expensive. As for solar desalination, they've always had problems with scale...and scale (as in efficiency and maintenance). Using solar desalination exclusively for a sprawling metropolis like Los Angeles, California would be, to borrow a term, Brobdingnagian in size, not to mention fickle (as is any weather-dependent process) and potentially dangerous.

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