What Sci Fi/Tech movies do to me

January 25, 2008

Maybe I believe that our current “relationships” with computers is too one sided (we put in the work – they get all of the glory).  Or , maybe I need to recognize how truly valuable my computer is.  If the later is true then i don’t think that movies like the Minority Report, Sunshine, any Star Wars or Star Trek or god forbid the Matrix – are for me.

Sure I know they are all designed for entertainment and yes I was truly entertained, but I was also given a belief.  A belief that we should expect more from our computers and they should “gasp” be more intelligent.

I used to be a software engineer so I know what it takes to make a computer sing and I truly respect the software developers of this world. (they made this blog post possible for goodness sake).

So my gripe is really not with them, I fully understand the limitations of the medium and the power of the tools they are given.  My real gripe is with the movie producers and the movie directors and those idea people in Hollywood who insist on making movies that demonstrate “almost there” technology.

Ever got tired of sitting at a computer tip typing away for 8 hours straight?  If you are a developer then I know that the answer is yes.  Sure you like solving problems. Sure the ability to make something out of nothing is intriguing and satisfying.  But – ever sit down and wonder what you could get done with a few of these applications:

Mind Job Runner – using your telepathic connection from your car you connect to your work computer and inform it that its time to do a disk defrag.  Or you use that same connection to your home computer to purchase the new Foo Fighters album and to send it to your cars embedded computer so you can listen to it on the way home.

Mundane Task Recognizer – ever installed (or reinstalled) a program on a machine 200 times?  If you are in IT you have.  Why not have a program which recognizes that you are doing a task for the ump-teen time and that since you probably haven’t done that differently in the 4 years since you started the mundane task it could be done with a script.

Computer: “I noticed that you have completed this task 12 billion times before – instead of doing it 12 billion and one times, would you like me to record this script for playback at a later date?” 

User: “Yes, computer that would be great (in a slightly sarcastic voice)”.

Collective Task Manager – since you do everything over the Internet why can’t a program recognize when you are planning a Snowboard trip and begin helping you complete your tasks

Computer: “From your emails to your wife I see that you are planning a trip up north for the week of the 25th.  Would you like me to scan deals and set up arrangements at the best mountain?”

User: “Why yes, and while you are at it, can you scan recent ratings posted on blogs, wikis and emails regarding the current conditions at my 8 favorite mountains to see which will be our best option?”

Computer: “Sure, would you also like for me to cross reference those with the latest predicted weather patterns to ensure which mountains have the bes probability of some fresh snow?”

User: “You know what that would be great – thanks computer (smiling profusely).”

Umm… yeah so you see – I have an issue with Sci-Fi/Tech movies.  They make we want so much.

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