From a screening of the film Rhizomatic
What if your computer knew what you were talking about before you said it? If I’m talking to a friend and they ask for a contact number, what if my smartphone displayed that contact before I even took it out of my pocket? What if a wall screen pulled up relevant info on Shiva during a coffeehouse debate? What if, instead of prepared PowerPoint, a computer displayed relevant images to what the speaker was saying, in real-time? Basically, that would be nice. I was watching The Guild online and I think you can tell from TV how technology should be. And, more likely than not, how it should be is how it will be. In that the Indian is discussing a chat and when he opens his laptop the text of the chat is right there. In reality you’d need to wait 15 seconds for the laptop to wake up, put in the dongle, wait 20 seconds for Internet, wait for the web browser, wait for Gmail, search your chats, etc. By that point the information is conversationally impotent. In the future, however, it won’t be.
What I think is undoubtable is that future computing devices will be instant on, and always online. Like cell phones. Indeed, I think they will all have 3G/4G/XG cell phone connections built in. The Google Chrome Operating System (OS) is one such device in the pipeline this year. This is a system which can already deliver connectivity when you need it.
The next step is delivering information, connecting you to what you need. If you’re watching TV, for example, the device could be prepping background info, similar shows, and advertising. If you’re talking about someone it can pull up their Facebook page. This gets creepy after a while, but it’s also useful. How many times have you been talking about a song and then killed the conversation by spending 10 minutes looking for it? Computers today are fundamentally anti-social devices. They’re slow, meandering and not meant for public display. Too many things can go wrong and finding information requires a concentration that is impolite in company. If the computer did some of that work in the background, it might become a more social device.
Or, to quote Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a recent interview:
“With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches,” he said. “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less now what you’re thinking about.”