2015 is rather an important year for time travel: it is the year that Marty McFly went back to the future – on 21st October to be precise – however, that’s still some time away. So why am I bringing it up now, you may be wondering?
As is the case with so many of the posts that appear on this blog, my inspiration partly springs from an inworld conversation – in this case, one which took the technology of Back to the Future II as its starting point.
What struck us most was the way in which the movie completely failed to predict so much of the technology that we take completely for granted these days: mobile phones, the proliferation of personal computers, the internet, and – of course – SL, whilst at the same time predicting a whole load of things that we still don’t have. Flying cars, hoverboards, self-drying self-adjusting clothing, erm… Jaws 19: these are all still far from everyday items, although we’re slowly starting to get there, (and it’s not October yet!).
It just goes to show how difficult predicting the future can be – technological advances, fashion and cultural changes are notoriously fickle, and any attempt to accurately guess what the passage of time may reveal is going to be a bit hit and miss, at best. Even the most educated guesswork is likely to draw some conclusions that are wildly inaccurate, whilst missing other milestones completely. Yesterday’s science fiction always will be rooted in yesterday’s science, meaning that much will indeed remain fiction.
However, we do occasionally catch a glimpse of tomorrow and the possibilities that the future promises. Take a look at the video below – yes, I know it’s about Minecraft, and I know the shouty, over-enthusiastic ‘Brand Director’ is a bit freaky, but stick with it – I’m pretty sure your jaw will be dropping at the possibilities by the time you’ve watched the whole thing…
Actually, very cool indeed – this is a significant step beyond the possible futures that we’ve considered with SL, Oculus Rift and LeapMotion, it’s a future that goes well beyond the expectations we’ve looked at so far, and – more to the point – if Minecraft can do it already as a fully functional demo, then SL should certainly be capable of doing it too, with greater resolution, higher definition and even greater realism. Just imagine your favourite sim, or store, or club laid out in glorious interactive 3D, right there on your living room table, and with none of the drawbacks of wearing a headset that filters out the real world around you – you can still munch on your favourite snacks, quaff your glass of plonk or pop to the loo, and all without having to unhook or disconnect yourself from the virtual view. Potentially this really could be a game changer, and even someone like myself who has remained rather sceptical about the 3D potential of SL, is more than willing to now be convinced otherwise.
I’ll admit that when Micro$oft announced Hololens, I wasn’t hugely impressed – it seemed to me that they were latecomers to a party where Google Glass and Oculus Rift were already finishing up the buffet, albeit with patchy success, and given the Lab’s investment in Oculus support, I couldn’t see that the new kid on the block would make much of an impact… I may well have been wrong. In fact, I hope I am!
Sometimes the surprises the future throws up really are the stuff of science fiction made science fact and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve some work to do on my design for a flux capacitor…
Please turn on your magic beam
Mr. Sandman, bring me
Please please bring me a dream
The Four Aces – Mr Sandman