Microsoft’s Vision of the Future is not Science Fiction

This is Microsoft’s vision for the future:

I think that the OfficeLabs tried to make up some science fiction, about how the world could be one day. Science Fiction is not something that is very realistic in short term, but sci-fi usually tries to be realistic enough, given some time and scientific breakthroughs. To get my point, try to think of some science fiction you know.

Sci-Fi

One example that comes to my mind because it’s the last sci-fi book I read is “The Forever War”. Here in a not too far away future, humankind has gained the ability to use new found “singularities” in outer space to effectively teleport themselves to another point in the galaxy, making long-range space travel possible. The great thing about good science fiction is, that the author usually thinks of all the implications of the world he’s imagining. For example, if Microsoft Labs would have made up this dream, the whole galaxy would be colonized in a few years and everything would be awesome.

Joe Haldeman, the author of the book, tries to keep everything as scientific and real as possible even with the assumption that these singularities can do the teleportation of a spaceship. For example, people have to travel to these singularities in very high speed, which takes months and and puts a nearly unbearable gravitational force on the passengers during the first half of the flight, when the ship is constantly accellerating as well as during the second half, when it’s constantly decellerating. Then humankind meets another spacedriving species, which they don’t understand and cannot communicate to, which leads though unfortunate events to an interstellar war. The story of a soldier in this war is depicted, who comes back after his one-to-three-year-long missions while 30+ years passed on earth after each mission due to the effects of relativity. Every time he comes back, society has changed, the people the soldier has known are dead, and wars have occurred because of the lack of resources on earth.

This is not Sci-Fi

Microsoft doesn’t put bad things, or even new things in it’s visions. It imagines that electronics can work without physical circuits and the energy sources are weightless and/or invisible. Not even Star Trek puts things in such a utopian light. This is not science fiction, it’s more a fantasy movie, and I don’t see magic becoming real in the next 100 years. Also, why don’t they think of something new? Everything in this clip is just an extreme unrealistic version of things we already have today.

For example, I don’t understand why they didn’t think that in all the time this magic energy source will need to be developed, there won’t be a brain-machine-interface that will make the shiny UI and the speech input they dream of completely irrelevant? For example, why should I need all those low-power holo-emitters that seem to come to everyone in the wold at no cost, if all the info can be known directly, though your brain connecting to a network?

It’s also not thought through. If we have holograms, and computer-recognized speech input, then what are these glass-iPhones for? Why isn’t all the UI that flys around on the glass thingy in some no-power-smart-clothes computer? Then why all these gestures? Since minority report, many studies have found that working with gestures with hands and arms is extremely tiresome and will never become reality. And Usability? How are people going to know that they need to move their hands together from up and down to narrow the graphics in one of the holograms around them? Okay, I guess you could also say “Computer, narrow down the profit predictions from x to y”,

All that Microsoft depicts is that they think that there will be no problems anymore in the future. I believe every kind of science fiction should try to be as realistic as possible, even if the author picks some kind of science that has advanced beyond the today’s. The other What Microsoft’s OfficeLab produced is not science-fiction, it’s fantasy.

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, Posted Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 under Rant.

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