The more time passes, the more I would like to see our future reflected in Corning’s old A Day Made of Glass videos.

It’s less something I view as necessary, so much as one I view as progress. We have all this frakking technology, why not use it?

There’s nothing wrong with having my tablet or a laminated recipe handy when I’m baking something, but wouldn’t it be nicer to just ask for my favourite cornbread recipe, and have it pop up on a surface near where I am preparing stuff?

One of the things that have changed over the past decade is how I view the future. Once upon a time, my vision likely had more in common with early Star Trek or Alien. After all, I was born in an era where having a VCR was pretty damned awesome sauce :P. Today, I rather think of the future looking more like The Next Generation or Prometheus–with interactive displays everywhere. Networking is already gone from pervasive to ubiquitous in my lifetime; I doubt most people in the first world can even get from their bed to their job without > 1 microchips being involved along the way. Today, many folks will pass that mark by the time their morning alarm chimes.

Something that I really do love about Corning’s old videos: is the attention to interface. See, I imagine by the time I’m old as heck, we’ll probably have stuff that looks more like the Enterprise-D: which had bloody interactive touch screens literally all over the place. But real software doesn’t tend to look like LCARS, the way real equipment tended to look like Kirk’s ship. As a UI, I think a lot of what we’ve seen on Star Trek is pretty bad from a getting real work done perspective, and that’s alright: it wasn’t made to be an interface that people used ever single day to do every single thing we will ever do with a computer. It was made to be an inspiring, and effective on screen graphic. Plus let’s be honest, the Okudas did a lot of really amazing work.

Cornings video on the other hand is riddled with software experiences that are so close to what we have now, that it makes it more plausible, more accessible. Much like how the physical controls of Jefferies’ Enterprise were very believable when my mother watched Star Trek back in the ’60s. By contrast, I look at LCARs, and I see a pictures of what could be. I doubt we would envision the future so easily without Okuda’s work, it’s just the software will be very different.