Friday, April 6, 2007

Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future (Part 1, 1993)

There are no language barriers in the paleo-future.

In 1993 AT&T produced a fourteen minute video called Connections: AT&T's Vision of the Future. It looks like it had quite a large budget but I can't figure out who the audience was for such a video. It has a similar feel to AT&T's "You Will" TV commercials which were also produced in 1993.




You can view part 1 of Connections here. Stay tuned for more. We follow a large cast of characters through this world of the future which of course includes plenty of Virtual Reality.

See also:
AT&T "You Will" (1993)
Face-to-Face Telephones on the Way (New York Times, 1968)
The Road Ahead: Future Homes (1995)

16 comments:

Tim Windsor said...

Not a bad job of anticipating the ubiquity of flat screen monitors!

Anonymous said...

well, live translation has for decades been an actual little-known but real service available from the big phone companies. I don't know if they still do it, but you used to be able to request a translator and one would be patched in to the call... (or so I've been lead to believe)

Anonymous said...

well, AT&T did, not sure if any others had that service. and it is very paleo - imagine, real people needing to speak to another countries people in a different language, actually doing real business for as little money as possible. (I smell a nice web2doh site ripe for a quick pump&dump) Maybe it was really an early outsourcing assist. I wonder how it was really used?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was not for something in conjunction with Disney. My husband and I worked at Epcot in college (1998-2000) and it seems in line with the kind of things they were dreaming up for Spaceship Earth and also for Innoventions. Remember that SE was rehabbed in 1994--one year later--and it now includes the idea that two people could talk to each other in different languages and have their own languages translated so all could understand. It's near the end, right before the backwards run down.

Scary said...

Is she talking into a WiiMote?

Anonymous said...

From the looks of that sweet vidphone , I'd say the bigwigs at Starfleet purchasing are the target audience!

Oscar said...

That's some magical technology - not only does it translate their speech, but it even modifies their mouth movements to the language they aren't really speaking!

Dr. Steven Hornik said...

I used this video in my Strategic Information Systems course that I used to teach! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

Joe said...

I thought that was the beginning of a Mr. Show sketch.

Maxwell Hammer said...

The audience was obviously the employees and management of the company itself. It's the kind of propaganda companies produce to make themselves feel good.

Rich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rich said...

The future is here (but no translation). I love my videophone. Here's a link to a video demo of a Skype videocall and my Ojo videophone. (You need to cut and paste to view it.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GdMx3vAiC8

Henry said...

Before his face became visible, I was sure that the red-robed man was santa claus.

henry said...

Henry,

Funny comment. The guy is named Shri Naan. I got the idea of using a character in Tibet because that was as far from Western civilization as I could go both geographically and culturally. The idea was to demonstrate disintermediation. Even today, we buy oriental rugs after they have gone through numerous middle people. The young woman who makes it for her dowery gets a pittance and by the time it is bought by someone in an upper class U.S. city it is priced in the thousands. Also, you can't make a special order you have to search for a rug that meets your needs. So the rug merchant is an exemplar of what Milton Friedman has called the economic flattening of the earth. Only we were a decade before Friedman.

Tim said...

Um that would be Tom Friedman

henry said...

sorry... got my friedmans mixed up. you are correct.