#2. The Future Will Rid Us of Keyboards!
This video is for the revolutionary "g-speak" system, one of endless attempts to finally give us that cool-ass interface like Tom Cruise used in Minority Report:
The goal obviously is to get rid of the mouse and keyboard, which seems to be a big thing for people who make gadgets. For instance, this article claims touchscreens will replace keyboards, based on the idea that text will play less of a role in future computing. Even though today, the most common use of the Internet is social networking and email, both of which are mostly text.
Anyway, in this video, the guy waves his arms and fingers around and makes data fly around his screen. I can totally see sorting through pictures or watching a YouTube video that way. But what happens when I need to drop into the comments section to call some dude a "fagtard"? In fact, this system doesn't seem capable of communicating in text at all. There is one point where the guy is dropping and dragging individual letters like they're magnets on a refrigerator, but surely that's not how they want future college kids composing their thesis papers.
I mean, on one hand it'd take two years to type up each page. On the other, when the paper is done, your arms are gonna be fucking ripped.
See, I'm thinking a lot of inventors watch movies and forget that the props they're using were invented to look cool. The Minority Report interface was created purely because nobody wanted to see Tom Cruise hunched over a computer the whole movie. As every Kinect owner now knows, it's actually kind of hard to move your hands through space with any kind of accuracy. Here, watch this guy try to draw a square:
Yes, it's hard to draw a square with a mouse, too, but at least I'm sitting down and it's not going to be ruined if I have to stop and swat away a fly.
And no, typing isn't going to be replaced with voice commands. I'll never work up the courage to verbally ask a strange woman to show me her boobs on a webcam. It's the keyboard that allows us to say the horrible, asinine things we do without shame or guilt. The Internet is a "Can I see your tits"-based interface and don't bother showing me your fancy new system without demonstrating how it can convey that message better than what I have now.
#1. Transmit Your Thoughts in the Future!
Here's a feature from 2007 on cell phones of the future. No way that this will be ridiculous.
So we've got a video that starts out fairly normal. They're talking about phones that you can point at restaurants and retrieve the menu, wait time, etc. OK, I'm on board with that. My girlfriend's phone basically does that now. Then they move on to a guy who they refer to as "futurist, Anthony Townsend."
Christ. OK, so he's a futurist. Fine. What predictions does he have concerning technology? Oh, that's right. He jumps right to the "wear your computer" thing. You're not off to a good start, Anthony. What else do you have? Oh, wait ... what's this? Anthony thinks that one day we'll have computers embedded in our bodies and that we'll be able to transmit our thoughts and emotions to other people on a whim.
I'm pretty sure that he's saying this because he has discovered a way to become higher than any person who has ever consumed any substance in the history of drugs. In what world does he live where a solitary person would ever want that? When the United States even hinted at the idea of phone tapping and listening in on our private conversations, we lost our ever-loving fucking shit. Even when we knew that the chances of someone spying on us personally were mind-bogglingly infinitesimal, we wanted no part of it.
Now, I'm not saying the technology itself is impossible. The military has been working on it for a while now. What I'm getting at is the fact that this man honestly believes that people will voluntarily purchase and use technology that broadcasts the same emotions and thoughts that they work so hard to hide from other people. Hell, 99 percent of our social interaction is spent keeping other people from knowing what we're really thinking.
Imagine standing in front of your boss while getting your ass chewed for something you feel is undeserved. How fast do you think it would take him to fire you when he sensed that you were picturing him being raped to death by a horse? Or standing next to your wife when some hot chick walks by with half of her ass showing out of the bottom of her shorts. Or worse, standing next to your kids when that happens. You can hide a boner with a well-placed newspaper. You can't do that with networked feelings.
So if you're in a lab somewhere and are trying to design the gadgets we're meant to be using in 2025, do me a favor: go outside and meet some people. It'll really open your eyes.
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