Monday, September 09, 2019

The Future of Interaction

Yesterday I watched the movie "Minority Report". It has been many years since I saw it. During these years I have often used the movie as an example full of futuristic forms of interaction. And I have argued that it is good to watch it for that reason.

And again, yesterday, I realized that the movie is still forward-looking even though a lot of the futuristic forms of interaction are now not so futuristic. We live with several of these interactions today, for instance, conversational agents in our homes.

Watching the movie shows that predicting the future when it comes to technology is possible (and maybe not even so difficult), as long as we only think about what can be done. However, the design challenge is to understand what it should be used for.

In our book "Things that keep us busy -- the elements of interaction" we are analyzing interaction of today and we also project it into the future. We do not argue about what is good or bad, useful or not. We just find ways to describe, analyze and understand interaction. Today, maybe more than ever, such understanding is crucial if we want to understand what all design decisions today may lead to.

So what is your idea about the future of interaction, what are the forms of interaction you see as viable and useful, and what are the steps you take today to move in that direction? To me, the lesson from watching the movie again is that it is definitely possible to predict technological advancements, but where we end up is not a question of prediction but of choices and intentions. To be able to make those informed choices we need to have a good sense of possible alternatives.

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