For those readers who missed Visions of the Future - The Intelligence Revolution on BBC4 on Monday, Sneak thought he’d offer his own summary. In the programme, futurist Dr Michio Kaku set out to explore the ways in which artificial intelligence was set to change our lifestyles.
Tele-immersion and virtual worlds were demonstrated as the future of social interaction. Kaku outlined an important family gathering – say, Christmas dinner – in years to come, where instead of people having to travel hundreds of miles to sit around a table and argue over Monopoly, they could simply transmit 3D images of themselves into a virtual meeting space, all the while from the comfort of their own sofa.
Viewers were also introduced to a pair of newly-weds, who had met through Second Life after taking a fancy to each other’s avatars (which needless to say bore very little resemblance to the real thing). The wife explained how creating her virtual self had led to a whole life change – she had met her husband, moved from the US to the UK and had even given up her old career to concentrate full-time on her Second Life jewellery store business. The fact that she made more money selling virtual bracelets and necklaces to decorate computer-generated images is either an indicator of how poorly paid she was before, or of how many people there are out there willing to shell out real money for unreal goods – Sneak fears it’s the latter.
Sneak’s initial reaction to the visions outlined in the programme was that this shift towards virtual living is just another sad step towards the disappearance of human interaction. However, he was more positive about one aspect of this future scenario –glasses that can download information and images onto the inside of the lens.
Sneak could definitely be won round by the prospect of sitting through yet another company strategy meeting, all the while entertained by the latest blockbuster movie transmitted via his spectacles rather than having to view the usual round of PowerPoint slides.
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