Gordon Moore, of Moore's Law and Intel, talked with ZDNet UK while he was in Hawaii marking the 40th anniversary of the publication of his seminal paper. What resonated with me was his take on computer interfaces:
I would like a much simpler interface though don't know what it would look like. The capability of computers keeps growing and the number of applications running keeps increasing. The people building the interface keep growing the complexity of that. It's not for lack of effort but the software people are losing ground.
That's been true for decades, and there doesn't seem much help on the way. The simpler interfaces of Web services (Google, Yahoo, etc.) provide a back-to-basics interaction model, but it's limited and search technology is still somewhat primitive. Game interfaces have improved greatly, but typical business applications can be difficult to operate--mostly because of the underlying operating systems and user interaction models are too complex. Finding a file and archiving information have to become a lot easier, for example.
Moore's also not convinced that nanotechnology will replace silicon:
I'm a sceptic when it comes to ideas about nanotechnology replacing the integrated circuit. The integrated circuit technology is the result of an accumulated research and development budget of well over $100bn. Nanotechnology is a broad field with many applications but I am sceptical whether it will replace the more standard silicon technology. There is a huge difference between making one tiny transistor and connecting a billion of them to do something useful.