Feeds

Microsoft's futurologists virtualise the poor

They'll always be with us - just less smelly

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Beggars will still be with us in the future, according to a futuristic video by Microsoft's Office Labs team - but at least technology will be able to keep our distance from them.

The video is called "Microsoft Productivity Future Vision" and the blurb invites us to "Watch how future technology will help people make better use of their time, focus their attention, and strengthen relationships while getting things done at work, home, and on the go". it's as exciting as it sounds - a clean and clinically soulless world in which nobody talks. "This video encapsulates everything wrong with Microsoft," noted John Gruber when it was released a few weeks ago. Much of the technology demonstrated is already here: screen sharing, augmented reality, and multitouch desk UIs.

But something intriguing caught our eye.

A professional at an Asian subway station (the sign says Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong) sees a video advertisement of a beggar. It's part of a charity appeal. He points his Porta-phone at the advert and makes a pledge. The virtual beggar thanks him.

"Spare 10p please mate?"

"Er, hang on..."

"Gawdblessyou guv"

Marvellous: how much cleaner and less malodorous the future promises to be. It does raise the awkward question of where the beggar actually is - if not on the subway? Perhaps on the fund-raising equivalent of the human-powered factories in The Matrix, a chugging farm?

But what shocking imagination and lack of human ambition is on display here. Instead of a world in which need and suffering has been conquered, they portray one in which it's still here - but now the poor are far away, and assuaging your guilt has never been easier. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Microsoft refuses to nip 'Windows 9' unzip lip slip
Look at the shiny Windows 8.1, why can't you people talk about 8.1, sobs an exec somewhere
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?