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We’re coming closer and closer to the year 2015 which is when Marty McFly travelled to the ‘future’ in the second Back to the Future film – we don’t have hoverboards, self lace up trainers or pizzas that can cook in under 3 seconds (yet), but today’s technology is mindbogglingly capable of some momentous things.
Total Film Magazine recently compiled a list of technologies invented by movie minds and pondered the question – could they ever come to fruition in real life? They even had a scientific expert to comment.
As entertaining as the list was, I thought, why not take it a step further? Should these technologies ever see the light of day (or even if they won’t – we can dream!), how could businesses take advantage of such innovation?
I’ve commented on some key films from the Total Film list but I’ve really only touched the surface – please add your comments on more potential business uses, or, even better, come up with your own fantasy piece of technology and share your ideas.
1) Instant learning (The Matrix)
What is it? A computer program that negates the need to spend thousands of hours practicing certain skillsets, making you an overnight expert (abilities in the film included martial arts, dodging bullets and jumping off buildings into helicopters).
Feasible? Pretty much apparently – although experts say they need to know more about how the brain works before knowledge can actually be implanted.
Business Use? The possibilities are endless here – but if everybody could become an expert in everything, surely that puts everyone on the same level? Or is it more than just about what you know – it’s what you do with this knowledge? Do you truly have to be ‘the one’ to dodge bullets?
Now there’s a conundrum …… however should this type of technology ever be instigated, I think we can all agree that there would need to be incredibly tight controls around this. Creepily, scientists reckon this technology could be introduced in such a way that the subject will never be aware of what they're learning.....
2) Holodecks (Star Trek)
What is it? Holodecks enable people and objects to enter into alternate, simulated environments. You’re not even constricted in your movements (i.e trying to run across the fresh green grass, only to run smack into the wall of the room you’re actually in) as you’re basically in a force field that moves with you. You can also programme it so that you're invisible to the environment and everybody in it.
Feasible? It’s essentially the future of 3D gaming, but at the moment there’s still a need for a head mounted display.
Business Use? Envision the environment and practice crucial pitches before you give them. For creative or event companies, they could create the setting before the event even takes place, allowing them plenty of rehearsal capabilities.
3) Self driving cars (Total Recall)
What is it? The car takes over and you do pretty much whatever you feel like doing whilst you travel from A to B.
Feasible? It’s happening now – the Google Driverless Car Project is developing the technology and the Cadillac Super Cruise is rumoured to be released fairly soon.
This car monitors the side of the road and the car in front of you and you can take your hands off the wheel in traffic and deserted roads. The new pods at Heathrow terminal 5 are also a step in this direction – being in them is like being in a scene from The Jetsons.
Business Use? A huge increase in productivity rates - think how much time you could save over long car journeys, using mobile devices to finish off that report or presentation. Only issue will be that the connectivity in the car would need to be solid.
It’s quite alarming how much all this fantasy technology is becoming more and more of a reality. The film Minority Report, with all its Tom Cruise arm swivelling, touch screen extravaganza, was set in 2054. But Microsoft’s Kinect technology is a big step towards this – have a look at this video which shows the Kinect being used with Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
For more on this subject TSG recently wrote a whitepaper on Microsoft and the future of technology – check it out and please do leave your thoughts below on all things fantasy technology.