Virtually the Future in Computing

Have you see the demo video for Project Natal? Artificial intelligence has been coming for years now. Many people thought it would be mainstream by now. Maybe it is behind closed doors. Although the AI component of Project Natal is currently being developed for games, it offers the potential of a whole new way of interacting with computer technology on a day-to-day basis.

Rumour has it that the Government of Canada is preparing a common look and feel for virtual environments such as SecondLife (yes, the online game). Apparently there are some people in the government who believe that, in the future, many people will prefer to deal with the Government of Canada in a virtual reality environment. Imagine being able to get Government services anywhere and anytime, as long as there is an internet enabled computer. As such, it is my understanding that our government wants to establish standards today on how it will represented itself in this environment in the future. At the same time, the folks over at SecondLife are moving towards an open standards architecture in order to ensure that their ideal of a virtual world evolves and can interact with other in the future.

Now, if you take an evolved version of the AI research from Project Natal, and apply it in a virtual world like SecondLife, you could literally automate many government services through virtual reality. If you work in government, better start planning on your retirement because the future may be coming sooner than we think!

Even home and office interaction is evolving. A few years ago Microsoft announced Surface Computing. Since then computers have started coming out with multi-touch screens. Shortly after that, TV manufacturers started bundling Skype right into their TV. Video conferencing in every day life will no longer be limited to people with webcam (external or built into their mobile devices or notebooks), it will just become a normal way of life, like picking up the phone. The only difference will be how you dress for he occasion.

What do you think technology might look like in 10 years? How about cars that drive completely on their own? Wait, Googles on top of that one.


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