05 September 2007

Will you?

I give you 1993’s vision of the future: You Will. (Bonus: one more.)

I vividly remember these ads, joking about a company selling ... uh ... The Future. They were jazzy and fun, and if you were the sort of person who was hanging around with tech people and reading Wired magazine—which was very seductive at the time, and often actually ahead of the curve—you were seeing this stuff brewing and it didn't seem like BS.

Well, not entirely, anyway. I was already thinking like an interaction designer in ’93, though I had no idea that this was where fortune would take me. Why did the guy paying the road toll via a radio transponder have to run his credit card through a machine in his car? (Because it showed the viewer what was happening; just driving down the road doesn't look like anything.) Who wants an onscreen display of a book that looks like a book? (Bad web designers, it turns out.) Who wants to be working while they're at the beach? (You know the answer to that one.)

It wasn't entirely BS. In the way of things, though a lot of the stuff in those ads looks further off now than it did in ’93, some of it looks embarrassingly unambitious.

But what gets me most is the stuff that folks are doing at telephone booths. Telephone booths!

Plus, of course, the identity of the sponsor who thinks that they are “the company who will bring it to you.” Chairman Bruce Sterling has a good comment on that subject.

1 comment:

d a r k c h i l d e said...

I miss phone booths...

Where's a superhero supposed to change into their tights nowadays?