The future is not futuristic.

EverythingElsePosted by Eskil Thu, March 07, 2013 07:19:11
Have you ever wondered why we don't have flying cars by now?

The answer is that we do. We just don't call them flying cars. We call them helicopters. Are you disappointed yet? Disappointed perhaps that our mode of air transportation doesn't break at least one laws of physics? So why don't we all have helicopters by now then? Because helicopters aren't very good for most people. They are harder to control, more dangerous, require more space, and most of the energy they consume isn't used to get you where you want to go, but to keep you from crashing down in to a ball of fire. If you think the maintenance bill for your car is steep, be glad we don't all have flying cars.

If you google "futuristic interfaces" the fist thing that strikes you is that the future is incredibly blue, and very transparent. Graphics technology will also take a giant leap backwards and resort to drawing most things in wireframe.

Whats is cool in a science fiction is not the same as what will take off in the future. The transparent computer monitors you see in films are there because it lets film makers get a good shot of the hero using a computer rather then there being a pent up demand from computer users to be able to keep an eye on the wall while reading E-mails.

If voice commands where so much better then buttons, then why are text messages more popular then voice calls? Voice recognition is unlikely to ever be better then a human, so if we choose not to use voice when we communicate with a human why would we chose to do so with a machine? Bendable displays are really cool, but some how I have never had the urge to bend any of my displays (I have quite a few) so I think Ill skip pre-ordering one. We think we want to be Tom Cruse in minority report, but two month later when we are on sick leave for twisting our arms out of their sockets, we may think differently about the ergonomics of that interface.

Whenever you buy a gadget, you don't know if you are going to use it. You buy it because you think its going to be great to use, but often they end up collecting dust like some home gym bought January first. Lost of people bought Wii and Kinects but how many people ended up using them every week a year later? How you end up using something is different from what you thought when you bought it. Most of the time you need to discover how you like to use something.

Right now I really want a Asus TaiChi, but not because its a Laptop that can turn in to a tablet like Asus tells me, but because its a laptop i can use to easily show things without connecting to a projector or making everyone huddling around my small screen. To me a thin laptop is something you bring along, and when you bring a laptop its usually to show something. I dont care about the touch screen, tablet mode or Windows 8, because I gave away my last tablet, I would plug in a mouse and install Windows 7. The Lenovo Yoga intel sent me I have found to be great standing on its side like a dinner menu on a table so you can read long articles while eating. This great way of using the device the marketing completely omits.

For someone technically minded something like Twitter is incomprehensible. The innovation is a limitation! Twitter may be an indictment either that we have lost our attention span or that most people ramble on too much without saying anything meaningful, but no matter what, it has turned out to be useful.

So how do we build the future? We build something that is better and different, I don't care for new, show me better. For the future to win it has to be better then the past, until it is, its just fiction.

  • Comments(7)

Fill in only if you are not real

The following XHTML tags are allowed: <b>, <br/>, <em>, <i>, <strong>, <u>. CSS styles and Javascript are not permitted.
Posted by Matthias Tue, July 02, 2013 10:46:54

i disagree about helicopters being flying cars. sure they fly, but they arent cheap or easy to use enough for almost everyone to use them to commute, etc.

i think that's a defining feature of a "car" (not of the automobile technology, but of what people mean when they say they want a flying car).

Posted by Chris Mon, March 25, 2013 00:25:44

I know what you mean. I can't stand twitter because, hell, sometimes I've tried to just start saying stuff there but try though I might to even boil down sarcasm and trite witticisms to 140 characters, I still find myself getting frustrated playing the game of "Find the shorter synonyms" To cut off 10 or less characters.

Posted by Nokill Tue, March 12, 2013 12:00:22

If we all could predict the future in great detail we'd be ages ahead with everyone owning helicopters. Luckily we can't and making gadgets is something we do to see if something works or not. Smart phones evolved quite well over the last years, and I can't see myself without anymore due to the functions I have at my disposal.

We got a long way to go with making people understand that flinging your hands around a huge screen isn't optimal for an all day activity. I think that we will slowly evolve towards better tech that is actually useful, but nobody knows what this will be right now and that's what makes it exiting. :)

Posted by grubernd Fri, March 08, 2013 01:09:19

now imagine your actual work is limited by the marketing departments and lazy unthoughtfulness of big corporations. i am a photographer, the physical limitations of gadgets directly inhibit my way of creating something. unlike a coder, who's only frontier is his own mind, we rely on machines. the workflow has transitioned to digital some time ago, but the tools are still stuck in the 80ies with some menus and buttons slapped onto the same bricks. mind.. i dont care about the brick format – it's very practical - but the possibilities of digital cameras are way beyond their capabilities.i really do hope that gadgets like the android cameras which allow custom software to be done will finally make that change come.some of my ideas, like the manual program mode - - are older than two product cycles and still not a single manufacturer has caught up on those.sigh.

Posted by antichrist Thu, March 07, 2013 16:33:04

heres my idea. [no need to patent, google timestamped it for me. funny how next week it changes to first to file] my shit and cut me a fatty check. im not falling for the poor execution trick again

Posted by phuzz Thu, March 07, 2013 12:42:58

I can only agree, last year I bought myself a nice new smartphone because it was shiny, but to be honest, it does very little that my previous phone did (and because the screen is bigger, it's not quite as pocketable).Still, I'll probably buy the next nice shiny thing I see.

Posted by giallanon Thu, March 07, 2013 10:21:28

Great post!