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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fantasy that may likely come true: Prometeus (experience is the new reality)

This video, at least on a technology level, syncs up very well with my own expectations: 5 minute Video on YouTube - well worth watching if you have not already seen it

Artificial Intelligence (AI) information assistant avatars, compelling Virtual Reality (VR) with haptics (*), and shared information will almost certainly be in our future (assuming that Bush or someone else does not start using nuclear weapons and destroy civilization).

I think that many of you would agree on this view of our future technology and how it will affect life and work. What is less clear to me is what our society will look like; I think that assuming our civilization lasts, we have 2 probable outcomes:
  • Novelist William Gibson's view of the future: governments are sidelined, corporations form the structure of economic and work life, "dog eat dog" meritocracy at all levels of society - this is the outcome I expect
  • A system like we have now, but where "competitive" governments compete for skilled workers and citizens by competing on low tax rates, public safety, fair and balanced arbitration between public and corporate interests - probably not going to happen, but this would be the best outcome
(*) haptics: force feedback on human/computer interfaces, sense of taste, smell, etc. I implemented a force feedback steering wheel for a VR racing simulator about 12 years ago: if you would drive the vehicle off of the racing track, you would feel the off road vibration differently than the on road steering wheel vibration; hit something and feel a realistic effect in the steering wheel. Coupled with good sound experiences with spatial effects (head related transfer function) this kind of thing is very compelling, or "suspension of disbelief" as it is known in the VR business.