In the past, the idea of mobile communication was laughed off as science fiction, but between Internet, video conferencing, and smartphone advances, it’s becoming a way of life to be away from the office and still keep tabs on who is where and doing what.
So while the prospect of hologram colleagues may too sound laughable, 3D interactive avatars are likely to be with us in less than a generation according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and other international academies.
What this means for the workplace is that dramatic changes are in our near future (as soon as 2025) in much the same way our present technology has revolutionised business in the nineties and naughties.
Where it’s currently popular for business to have bring your own device (BYOD) policies, in the future you might not even need to bring yourself. For those who still prefer to be present, offices can be made out of thin air through interactive surfaces.
It’s hard to say at present whether these advances will be used for good or evil, but since the need for a traditional office space would be made redundant, holographic teleconferencing will allow for mass collaborations, workforces becoming more dispersed, project duration being shorter, and this means more projects over all – you can laugh off having more free time when your work capacity increases.
While it also means you have the ability to switch off that particularly annoying colleague, bosses can show up anywhere you are, and in some cases people’s real identities will be hidden behind avatars.
Before our heads explode at the above prospects, the upside is that this technology – while not far off – is still in development, which means we’ve got some time yet to address the exponential increase in demand for host locations, the steady creep of technology into our daily life and social interactions, our tolerance for ever increasing work load, and the challenge of securing information and personal privacy. Bring on the future!