William Gibson noted recently that the cyberpunk fiction he’d been writing over the past quarter century has now become science fact. Pattern Recognition and Spook Country are both set in near-futures with technology and social norms that are only a slight extension of the complex technological realities of the present. The neural shunt that jacks you into the network he imagined in Neuromancer hasn’t quite have arrived yet but some humans now have direct brain-computer interfaces implanted in their brains.
Brad Feld appreciates this relationship between science fiction and fact as few others do. As he writes in ‘Science Fact‘ on Oblong’s web blog, the future of human-computer interaction is looking breathtaking. And, while the genetically-engineering precognitive humans Philip K. Dick imagined in “Minority Report” in 1956 haven’t arrived yet, g-speak certainly has.
g-speak is a spatial operating environment from Oblong Industries that combines a gestural interface, DLP projectors and ‘recombinant networking.” It’s modeled upon the virtual OS operated by Precrime Agent John Anderton in Minority Report, the film adaptation of Dick’s short story.
That connection is no accident. The science adviser that Spielberg consulted for the film, John Underkoffler, has been quietly busy since the film’s premiere in 2002. A few stories have popped up over the years, to be sure, but since Oblong Industries was founded in the research in 2006 he and other technologists have advanced the technology considerably, as you’ll see in the video below.
Once you’ve watched it, read g-speak in slices and about the origins of Oblong in the MIT Media Lab to learn about the potential for this human-to-machine interface and the long road to bringing it into reality..
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Embedded below is a 2007 report on g-speak featuring an interview with Underkoffler.
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