Microsoft’s vision for the future

Every few years, Microsoft releases a ‘vision for the future’ video showing concepts of future technologies. Sometimes they can be a little too slick but it is interesting to watch the shifts in uses of technology

The emphasis of the latest one is on productivity enabled by interactive screens everywhere with easy real-time updates enabled by cloud computing. Whilst I doubt we’ll all be able to afford interactive table tops and fridge fronts in our kitchens for a while yet, it does remind me of a quote Bill Buxton (Microsoft Research) made a couple of years ago in a talk about the influence of technology on education:

In the future, interactive screens will be cheaper to buy than today’s whiteboards

Can’t remember the timescale he specified but the quote stuck, imagining how much better mainstream education could become.

Here’s the latest video

It follows on from one produced 2 years ago showing similar concepts:

But how accurate are visions looking 10 years into the future? Here’s an old one from 2001 that someone has posted to YouTube. Spot what’s in – speaking to your computer, oh so Siri like; and what’s not – no touch (just keyboard, mouse, stylus), not much improvement on the monitor front, tablets for travel only (home = PC) and memory cards not cloud storage for sharing files 🙂

When it comes to visions of the future, we tend to over estimate what can be achieved in 50 years and under estimate the changes that will occur in the next 5 years. But whilst most vision videos can be taken with a pinch of salt, they can help inspire improvements in how we use technology in the present as well as the not so distant future.