Friday, April 29, 2011

Technology *is* great (when it works)

I'll part from my usual rants about what essential gadget of mine is broken to write about what happens when gadgets do work.

Every now and then, I get a little reminder that I do live in the future, and sometimes I take it for granted.

Like Star Trek for example, just because it's an easy one.

In Star Trek (from TNG onwards, for the sticklers), you had a little communicator that you could tap, say the name of who you wanted to talk to, and then talk to them. We have that now. Many smartphones, when you press and hold the button on your hands-free headset, will automatically recognize your voice and match it to the name of someone in your address book, and call them. My previous non-smart phone even had a similar option, where I could record up to ten or twenty names to associate with people in my contacts.

In Star Trek, there were doors that open automatically for you. Okay, that's old hat. Supermarkets have had those for a long time.

But they also had fancy ways of turning on lights. Like by yelling "lights!" when you walk into a room. I don't even have to do that. In my office, if I walk into the hallway, a sensor will detect my movement and automatically turn on all the lights in the hall. If I walk into the washroom or kitchenette, I get the same thing, except all the lights were off. I no longer have to remember to turn the light off when I leave a room, and I'm almost at the point where I've overcome the instinct to think about turning the lights on when I enter them. Meanwhile, the building owners save money on electricity.

Those are the ones that I notice most, but laptops and tablet computers also have their Star Trek equivalents. Skype allows video conversations, and YouTube and the internet let people record their own daily log, blog, and vlog. (Qaplog!)

And while it's not quite the same as a replicator, when I walk into Bridgehead, the servers know that what I want is a Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.

- RG>


XUP said...

Yup, all those 1960s sci-fi movies predicted most of our current technology, which I always find amazing. I'm glad they were wrong about the silver lame jumpsuits though.

RealGrouchy said...

I think that just means they predicted how Hallowe'en would turn out.

- RG>