Microsoft's 2009 ten-year prediction video is making the rounds again this week on the tech blogs, because Samsung is rolling out yet another transparent OLED display (this one, six inches, between the size of a mobile phone and a tablet), and techies all over the world have high hopes this is a sign that every surface we touch will soon be computerized.
While I do think there is a future in this type of technology, especially as marketers find uses for it in commercial advertising, such as in windows and grocery story refrigerators (as demonstrated by Tech-On), I think there is a huge disconnect between the vision and the reality.
For one thing, would we really want our morning paper to be a computer? Would we really want our computer to roll up like a newspaper? Would our pets who like to sit on our computer kids want that? More importantly, is there a real-world need for that? I'm not sure.
Secondly, all of these technologies have a learning curve in the general public. I still have friends who are learning to text, and I think the idea of learning to operate some of the equipment seen in the above video would terrify them. I know it would intimidate me.
Finally, in order for a lot of the technologies seen in the above video to work everywhere, including public places such as airports, there would need to be widespread adoption by corporations and government agencies. Considering we just finally got a reasonably tech-savvy administration in office in 2008, and I still have a hard time getting a basic wireless connection in a lot of airports, I think it's unlikely that any such technology, if ready for public consumption right now, would be available in any government-regulated building by 2019.
That being said, however, some of the technologies in the video are happening. I talk to people in online France and Italy frequently - each in our own native language with the use of online translators like Google Translate and Babelfish. Some of the conversations are pretty confusing due to the limits of electronic translation, but it's still fun.
A lot of GPS and organizational apps that are being developed for mobile technology are making ordinary daily activities like shopping, finding places, and paying bills much easier, in ways that closely resemble what we see in the video. We can do more with our photos and videos than ever before, as well.
Yes, 2019 will be here before we know it. How much will our tech lives have changed? Time will tell. Speaking of keeping track of time, here's a list great calendar apps.