Warm Fuzzies

After just declaring April to be Cyberpunk month, it's only fitting that this little video makes its way down the pipeline. It's an advertisement for Intel, but not for any product that they have available right now. This is one of those daydream commercials where a company tries to impress us with stuff that have not even produced yet. I'm not sure how that helps sell existing products or justifies making a commercial, but it's cool any how.

Reactions to these types of commercials are kind of funny. A lot of people see something like this (myself included) and get really excited about how cool the future is going to be in terms of useful, unobtrusive technology. However, if you're like me and you sit back and think about it for a second you realize that a lot of this stuff already exists right now. It's just a matter of bringing it all together into seamless integration.

For instance with the first little vignette, we've already got mobile phone/watches being made, or about to be made. We've got voice activated software and I can get my Mac to read me any text on any webpage, e-mail or whatever, and Mac OS 10.5 should bring another leap to speech synthesis technology. As for syncing devices, we've got that with our iPods, but that will only get better as wireless technologies allow for real-time data syncing.

The second vignette is cool because it looks like some kind of advanced GPS application coupled with a mobile phone device. We are getting some of those now. But what's really cool to think about is it's possible that it's not GPS. If the Chinese guy is in a city with a metropolitan Wi-Fi network then his phone could just be communicating with the network to map out the streets. Also having the cellphone wirelessly change the settings of the car and act as the stereo is pretty sweet.

And as for the last vignette, well... what would the future be without a good rave?

This is one of the reasons why I like Apple so much, because of this kind of integration. Like I said, a lot of these types of products are already on the market, but they're not all going to work together the way they do in the video. Apple on the other hand gives me a glimpse into that kind of world. It's not just Apple though, Google is doing a fantastic job of bridging digital gaps. Letting PC's and Macs coexist, pushing your data into a central location (their servers) where you can access it from home, work, or on someone else's computer. Sony is another. I've often thought that if I weren't a Mac addict, I would have all Sony products. Being able to integrate my PC with my TV with my Playstation, movies, Walkman, and Sony Ericcson mobile phone is really exciting.

But that has traditionally been the downfall of these types of technologies; if you want to reap the full benefits of integration you have to sign up for the full package. You have to have all Apple products, or all Sony products or all Microsoft products. Mixing and matching brands is generally going to lead to problems. It's unfortunate, but somewhat true and I think of the big hurdles that we'll need to get over before the future in this video can become a reality. Although that might explain why Intel made this ad. As if to say, buy Intel products now because we've got a lot of cool stuff planned that you won't be able to take advantage of if you buy AMD.

Interestingly though, they don't show us any of the invasive technology that the future may hold. What William Gibson calls BodMod. Getting a wireless implant that can talk to your devices similar in fashion to RFID. Optical implants that show you a HUD (heads up display) that only you can see. Or forget about bone conducting headphones, why not just get the audio implanted into your ear?

Too freaky? Yeah, I agree. In the meantime, I'll stick with devices I can hold in my hand. Besides, what's the point of having these kinds of gadgets if your friends can't see them and get jealous?


Ivy said…
Wow Ahren thank you for your critique on this commerical. It was an eye-candy for me and nice to see the dreams of a company. Rather reminds me of all the gadgets made for Dick Tracy, Star Trek, 007 Bonds. They were but of the imagination now many a reality. You know I love my Apple (thanks to you and your Bro), and learn more about it each day. . . I love your honesty and jest in your statement, "Besides, what's the point of having these kinds of gadgets if your friends can't see them and get jealous?" cute ! Thanks for sharing your mind. . . Mom
John said…
I dig this post most wonderfully american style fun.

The more cities and companies (like Google) continue to wash areas with free wiFi, the more realistic this becomes.

I watched the video several times. what I WANT is the bracelet that changes colors..

I can envision this working via bluetooth in concert with your iPhone (allready capable) to change one color when you have an incoming call, one color when voicemail, one color when not in use......

Perhaps for textin junkies it could just flash many colors at once for text.

Seems odd, but that is a breakthrough device to me. I can't be the only one annoyed at the constant glancing/fondling of phones by everyone (including myself). Realisticly, you could also then walk around your apartment/house WITHOUT the phone tethered to your waist/pocket...because you would be alerted if called...and in a fashionable manner.

What do you thinK? have I gone bonkers yet?
Ahren Sievers said…
Not at all my friend! I've been hearing about this kind of wearable technology for a while. Stuff that uses bluetooth or RFID that can communicate with other devices around it.

This is one of the first applications that I have seen that would be really useful. It's one of those "cool in concept, but how do we actually make it work" type of things.

The bracelet would be cool. Something that syncs to the PDA/Smart phone in your pocket to tell you the time, what song your currently listening to and caller ID if anyone calls.
John said…
I think one of the barriers would be if the phone/device maker would let you into their application framework....you would have to know how the iPhone/etc is sending alerts so you could redirect them.

Ah, if i only had some free-standing loot and some free time.....this would be a worthy project.

Look at the success of the iPod accessory lines.....now imagine you follow that with what you discussed. Don't forget that the rumor sites are speaking up the wifi ipod again.
Ahren Sievers said…
I know! It's really exciting. A few weeks ago I was trying to figure out how to get my cellphone to communicate with my laptop so that when I got up from the desk and walked away it would trigger my screensaver and lock the screen. When I got back it would deactivate it automatically.

I almost got it to work (and there were some that had) but to do the final step I needed to have one of the Developer Tools that come on the install disc, which I didn't have installed.

It was all applescripts basically. Really exciting.