Chopping the future

The video below was made by Robert Spence, a British researcher of computer-human interface design, in 1981. It depicts several predictions of how digital technology would assist professionals manage information in the workplace of the future (circa 2004).

In watching it, I noticed that some of the things Spence predicted have become commonplace such as trackpads, voice activation (SIRI) and touch displays. Other areas, such as gesture based computing and bifocal displays have yet to be fully realized. And there’s a certain quaintness to see how he completed missed his predictions in other areas: reliance on telex communications, push buttons installed in the office furniture, and office telephones.

It can be a useful and instructive activity to examine how those in the past imagined the future would be. I’d be interested to hear your take on Spence’s “2004” office environment either in comments below or on your blogs. One question to consider is which of the 5 methods of analyzing and predicting the future from Dr. Alexander’s UMW talk might Spence have used in making his predictions (remember it’s possible to combine the methods)?

Dr. Alexander with axe animated GIF via Cogdog

Speaking of the methods presented by Dr. Alexander, we will be looking in to them in detail in today’s class. Please refer to the Google document that’s been shared with you for an overview and instructions of our activities today.

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