As 2008 closes out, I realize more and more that we’re finally starting to live in the future you’ve seen imagined in sci-fi movies for the last 60 years. Let me count the ways:
- Without a doubt, the iPhone is the most futuristic device I’ve ever used. Apple nailed everything about the user experience to the degree that it doesn’t feel like an abstraction, it feels like you’re actually touching and manipulating your data.
- For a little over $100, you can get a Roomba, your own compact robot vacuum cleaner like they have on the Death Star.
- TiVo’s ability to let you pick programs from a menu rather than being tied to broadcast schedules is great. Devices like AppleTV and Netflix’s streaming initiative are moving in on the idea. Hopefully soon enough you’ll be able to sit down and pick out any movie to watch right then.
- Cars pretty much work now like they’ve worked for decades. You put in your keys, you turn the steering wheel, you use the pedals. GPS is now cheap enough that lots of people can own a car that knows where it is and tells them how to get where they want to go. Unfortunately in-dash units, which we really need to make our cars have that good sci-fi feel, are way too expensive.
- Barack Hussein Obama. Nothing says “it’s the future” like a black president.