Visions of The Future

American Pastor W. A. Criswell (1909-2002) is credited with saying, “We’re all fascinated with the future because that is where we will live the rest of our lives.”

All my life, I have lived with both the expectation of living into, and the disappointment of the reality of, the future (as one of my favorite t-shirts says, “this was supposed to be the future – where is my jetpack”).

Isolated communities are the past.
Interconnected communities are the future.

The “one guy in the car with the map” is the past.
The “everyone in the car can see the map on their smartphone/GPS/iPad” is the future (hopefully, “relying on the nice GPS voice for directions” is just a middle step).

It is not the point of this blog, but a wonderful area-of-study is Past Visions of the Future ( even offers a book: “Yesterday’s Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future”).

I imagine my personal framework started with The Jetsons, progressed through Science Fiction authors (60’s: Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein; 70’s: Dick, Herbert; 80’s/90’s: William Gibson, Neal Stephenson), and was reinforced through movies:
the work environment of Minority Report

and Quantum of Solace

and, of course, the Stellar Cartography room in Star Trek: The Final Frontier

Which brings us to today. A nice little article in today’s Barron’s
Barron’s Corning article
discusses Corning and its 6-minute video “A Day Made of Glass”

Aside from an in-vehicle navigation display (Automotive Display Glass) [and, of course, their Wall-Format Display Glass and Flexible Display Glass!], the Computer Cartographer in me LOVED their All-Weather Surface Glass used in a bus stop:

As a woman approaches the city map, 

her cell-phone-preferences RFID tag alerts the Display to change language

She uses the pull-down menu to select her destination

The display draws the route

and, by holding her smartphone/portable device near the Display, it syncs with the map:

And off she goes!

Currently, maps are everywhere, and the “general public” is certainly becoming much more Geographic-savy. GIS is a “field of the Future” – I look forward to be living with it the rest of my life.


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