Every few years, Microsoft releases a ‘vision for the future’ video showing concepts of future technologies. They can miss the shifts in human behaviour but it is interesting to watch the changes in technology

Update: 25th February 2015

Microsoft have released another of their ‘Productivity Future’ videos, something they tend to produce every three to five years. The emphasis continues on demonstrating interactive displays everywhere which fits with Microsoft’s current focus. And the stylus clings on for pen input.

What’s missing? A lack of human diversity – it seems technology will also have solved all physical disabilities in the future, eliminated obesity and made everyone of average to above average height. Although traditional glasses aren’t going away :-/

I’m being a little snarky, it is an advert after all and they tend to be stylised in terms of human representation. But it links to an issue with futuristic visions. They imagine the future of technology whilst assuming that human behaviour will remain fixed in the current state. It was the same back in the 1950s when people were imagining a future filled with flying cars and kitchen automation gadgets but couldn’t envisage a world where women would have a life beyond housework. The world of work is likely to be very different by the end of the next decade and real productivity changes are likely to come from unexpected innovations. I certainly hope it involves more than reading, swiping and commenting on content across a multitude of different display formats.

My favourite addition to this video? Seeing the 3D printer in the classroom. That’s a shift in education that could really make a difference…

A reminder of some of the previous videos:

2011: The mobile worker

2009: Mobile and flexible paper

2001: The connected student

It’s interesting to look back at one produced 15 years ago to see what turned out to be a good indicator versus a weak one: Speaking to your computer/device has finally arrived. But no touch. And the only change to the display is that it becomes your tablet on the move. Tablets are for mobile uses only (home = PC) and memory cards not cloud storage for sharing files.

Microsoft-Vision-FutureFeatured image: screenshot from 2011 Futures video

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