It’s fun to imagine the future. Every few months, someone takes a stab with a concept video or a proof of concept prototype, providing a glimpse into human-computer interaction and data visualization in a decade or two. What will it really look like? It’s anyone’s guess. But if people’s imaginations are any indication, the future will be filled of data displays and 3-dimensional holographic objects projected into physical space.
If there’s anything uniform across all the ideas, it’s ubiquity. In the future, computers won’t feel like computers, and data will not just flow alongside the physical world. Instead, data will intertwine with your day-to-day like threads in a fabric.
Most recently, Frog Design, came up with some of their own concepts (which accompanied a fine series of articles on Life in 2020 in Forbes).
In this one a girl sees a jacket that she likes on someone else. She is able to look it up instantly.
Next, a man grabs a meal at his favorite fast food burger joint. A display pops up that tells him that he is fat and needs to exercise more. He feels sad. He later enjoys his burger and fries, accompanied by his American-sized coke.
Finally, in the the third, a married couple, Andrew Kendel and Jenny Daniels, sit down for a nice cup of coffee. They both feel smug because they have way more friends then Mandy Monroe and Maggie Jones behind them. April, however, who appears to have the same profile as Jenny doesn’t seem to be all that excited to be hanging out with the lesser Mandy.
I kid, I kid. April doesn’t actually mind.
Okay, so your first thought is probably that the world would be a very cluttered space with floating displays on top of everyone’s head. The premise here though is that you’d wear something to augment your vision or simply see the data on your mobile. The main points are more about linked data, virtually unlimited resources, and data embedded in the everyday. People aren’t going to actually walk around with projectors in their bags.
We’ve seen this before.
Microsoft has a boatload of concept videos for what they’ve envisioned for 2019. Here’s the main one. The rest are variations of this, but for specific application areas like construction or medicine.
Freeband Communication envisions an embedded life too – with a dash of drama.
Designer Timo Arnall has something similar in mind for maps in his concept video, Map/Territory. Somehow the map displays itself to scale, below your feet.
How about taking it all the way to the extreme, where, uh, no man has gone before?
Create an entire world virtually with holograms you can manipulate, but make it real in your mind – and someone else’s.
Of course we can’t talk future data interactions without making a reference to the Minority Report scene. John Anderson sifts through images and facts as if he were conducting an orchestra.
We saw something similar in Iron Man 2, but kicked up a notch. Tony Stark creates a completely new element. Fancy that. There were 3-dimensional projections flying every which way and things imploding and exploding with a clap of a hand.
Let’s not forget that just about every surface of his house and lab was interactive and functioned as a single unit.
Crazy stuff. Are these ideas really that far fetched though? Crazy as they may sound, sometimes it’s funny how life likes to mimic the imagination. We already have visual related-image search, social networks are finding their way into the real world, and data collection has gotten super easy with advancing mobile technology. Skinput takes the interface out of the device, and uses your body as the input surface. We’ve even got Minority Report style interfaces popping up.
So how much of these concepts will actually come to fruition in the next decade? Like I said, it’s anyone’s guess. Whatever it is, it’s going to be fun.
What do you see in the year 2020? Let your imagination run wild.
One envisionning video more, “PRECISION INFORMATION ENVIRONNEMENT” for “embeded data” :
John Underkoffler presents their implemented Minority Report-like UI system at TED. Really amazing!
The Frog piece has a taste of: “It’s time for the annual Scenario Workshop! We have to come up with something new! Web 2.0: mainstream, Semantics old and too complicated… ”
“How about Augmented Reality?!” sais Robert-with-the-crazy-goggles who screens the Social Web while listening.
“Oh, perfect!” his boss replies “Tell the interns to render some images. OK, next item…”.
To me, it seems not-so-foresightish, that masterminds feed the public with – wait for it – pretty pictures. Why don’t they ask the end-user:
“Is it really more data and immersion what you need or are you just too lame to take decisions and actions (and that’ll never change)?!”
“Yeah, you want all the transparency and personalized service you can get, but you don’t want to pay and get hysteric when comes to YOUR data, hmm, can you offer me a solution for this conflict?!”
How about a DIY challenge: Rebuilt enlightenment!
And don’t give me the excuse, that this didn’t work out last time ;-)
Things always deserve a 2nd try (see Operation Sombrero and the top hat).
Minority Report showed many items like the virtual newspaper that seemed 50 years ahead but we already have the iPad, many futuristic items will be with us in a short time
Pretty pictures, but a big ‘ugh’ to the fact that Frog Design’s vision of women’s future is basically shopping and being objectified by creepy faceless men.
Superstitious tribes believed cameras would steal your soul. The usual visions of augmented reality (more better ads! nonstop shopping! Facebook oneupmanship! 3D GPS or some crap!) is the opposite of that, you turn your soul inside out and it just evaporates. Unburdened, we become featherweight pixies flitting effortlessly around a world where ironically no actual movement or effort is necessary.
Definitely a lot of societal considerations moving forward. For example, all the people pointing at me all the time, because of my cool clothes, might be kind of weird.
“we already have the ipad”… lol. Just who exactly are you referring to when you say “we”? 25% of the adult population of this planet can’t even read… Only 25% have access to the net let alone the ability to afford the exorbitant costs of an I(wank)Pad. Can “we” say “myopic self centered egotistically distorted perspective?”
As a global population “we” have barely developed past the middle ages.
The myopic arrogance of the elite upper 10% of the population usually blinds them to the fact that the rest of the world is NOT LIKE YOU! This lack of vision, as history has REPEATEDLY shown, usually results in new and wondrous technology being invented which no one in the elite 10% had even contemplated. A prime example of one such wondrous technological invention would be the ingenious device known as the guillotine.
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I can see golfers as early adopters. besides the fact that golfers will buy anything (See late night TV infomercials for examples) they could use a display that showed things like range to pin, layout of current hole, pin position, dogleg, location of sand traps & water hazards, wind speed and direction, depth of rough, how far ahead the next group is, how fast the greens are, green topology and how the ball will roll, weather and probably many other things. Then overlay a track showing their own personal typical shot with a particular club in similar circumstances.
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It IS fun to imagine the future!! GREAT article
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