I have been rereading JCR Licklider's 1960 paper on "Man-computer symbiosis." I am also going to read his 1968 paper on "The computer as communication device" (with Bob Taylor). They are facinating reads and rank up with Bush's "As we may think", Engelbart's "A conceptual framework for the augmentation of man's intellect", Simon's "The sciences of the artificial." I could go on to include several others -- Miller, Zuboff, Kay, Weisser -- but you get the main point. What attracts me to all of these people is the strength and unboundedness of their vision. They all identified significant new oportunities and envisioned what might be -- yes a tribute to Michael Dertouzos's "What will be".
So the question I am left with in all this reading is whether what is developing today leads us to new distant visions? What will the current systems evolve to in 40 years. What vision would we like to drive them? Do we become servants to machines? Do we become irrelevant? Are we freed to move on to another level of development?