One of my co-workers posted this YouTube clip around work last week. Its of someone trying to use Vista's voice recognition software to write a perl program. 30 (in fact 40) years ago, thanks to Star Trek, a lot of people would probably have expected that this would be an easy thing to do.
It made me laugh a lot and it kind of fits neatly in with some major events in my life. You see, in a few weeks I am going to be a dad for the first time. Its pretty exciting and nerve wracking. Its got me thinking about my own childhood and the era in which I was born. Its certainly a very different world now than it was in the early 70's. I feel like all of us that were born around that time got pretty damn lucky as I doubt that there have been many more exciting or fast moving periods of history. My dad said to me that just being born into an era where you are the wrong age to get forced into any major wars is already the best start you can get. So I certainly lucked out on that one and I just have to cross my fingers that this will be true for my kid as well.
Atari was founded a couple of years after I was born and so I have been alive for most of the major history of videogames. I am sure that I would have just ended up doing something different if I was born when my dad was (The 30's). He is an Electrical Engineer (he built me a pong machine from a kit when I was very young), but he discovered computers late in life. He learned to program in C in his late 60's, I doubt there are many people who can claim that! I am very glad that the timing with respect to video games worked out so well for me. Doing something you actually enjoy for a job is pretty damn important. I wonder what my kid will think of my video games when they are looking back 30 odd years from now? God of War will be an antiquated relic in the same way we all look at Space Invaders now.
Now we have the Internet and Google, even 15 years ago it was impossible to see where that was going. Bill Gates wrote a book in 1995 called 'The Road Ahead' that pretty much failed to anticipate the Internet. I didn't think there was much point to it around then either, but at least I wasn't alone.
I have had a semi-jokey conversation with friends that Google is in fact the next stage of human evolution. Anyone with at least enough knowledge to use a computer, can answer most questions or find most facts within a couple of minutes. Its already impossible to imagine life without the net. For my kid, they will never know life without it. Computers and games are such a ubiquitous thing in my house that I can only imagine they will be using them from the point they sit in front of a keyboard. Just imagine what might be available to them in 30 years from now, maybe Microsoft (actually more likely Google) will even have worked out Voice Recognition by then.
I wasn't gonna write about the industry in this post, but of course theres been a bit of GoW related controversy over the weekend. It originally appeared in the 'Daily Mail' in England. I was trying to explain to my american colleagues what the Daily Mail was like. The best thing I could come up with was describing it as a paper for Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton or any Republican (By English standards it's a right wing paper). In other words for people who have never seen a bandwagon they didn't want to jump on, especially if it was something they :-
A) Didn't do themselves
B) Could use to distract from real issues / blame for there own inadequacies.
C) Wasn't of interest to anyone who might vote for them / buy the paper.
Thats not to say that Sony were exactly bright about doing this in the first place, but jeez does no-one watch 'Fear Factor' or even 'MythBusters'. The Daily Mail's method of using exaggerated moral outrage to sell newspapers just happened to fall on us for a day or so.
Edit 5/7/2007 :- So... yeah... Daily Mail.. Bastion of journalistic ethics.