back to article Microsoft boffins think VR visions will rival drugs by 2027

Search as people presently know it – a dialog box for typed queries – will vanish in a decade, according to Susan Dumais, distinguished scientist and deputy managing director of Microsoft Research Lab. Dumais is one of 17 Microsoft researchers who, in a blog post on Monday, offered predictions about technology developments we …

  1. Denarius Silver badge

    do any of these futurists think ?

    so no-one considers effort expended to create hardware for VR hallucinations real work ? Someone has to make the machines that make the machines, not to mention steel, concrete and fix borked traffic control hardware. Then minor issues like food. You know, the stuff that isn't merkin corn syrup. So far, I only heard a future of intrusive surveillance, deskilled menial casual work, and a ruling non-elite in echo chambers. In these nightmare scenarios, the only up is to be a dope dealer big shot supplying the latest Bolivian marching powder to the 1%s brats.

    1. joed

      Re: do any of these futurists think ?

      I'd add that some block MS services at the entry to their network. Let Redmond stew in its own bubble.

  2. Denarius Silver badge

    lastly, CLI dead ?

    In the spirit of rampant contrariness, given even M$ have begun to use command lines and config files more in their server OS I suggest that the CLI may even make a come back. Very secure, quiet, mostly private, powerful if user RTFM and very low on resources. Given the amount of junk code running on idiot smart phones, phabulous phailing phablets and other end user devices I forecast <drum roll> a return to end user devices that make phone calls and resemble smaller versions of IBMs smart terminals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lastly, CLI dead ?

      The terminal is dead? No wonder it raises the dead for me ... kill -9 zombies

  3. Neoc

    "We are seeing the beginnings of this transformation with spoken queries, especially in mobile and smart home settings"

    Yes, because we need more noise pollution. So now,as well as the people who hold their phone half a foot in front of their face and shout into it (to avoid the nasty radiation frying their brains), we'll get to have people screaming loudly at their phone because it didn't understand them due to the other idiot speaking loudly to their phone (or playing loud games/music expecting other passengers to of course have the same tastes in


    At least in the days of books/newspapers other passengers ignored you *quietly*.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      "... the people who hold their phone half a foot in front of their face and shout into it (to avoid the nasty radiation frying their brains)..."

      Too late, obviously...

  4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge


    I am waiting for the paperless office to occur, which is probably a millennia away. The problem with most of the "predictions" (more accurately navel gazing with a severe case of constipation) is they do not attempt to factor in how people work and live.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Predictions

      For the last 40 years or thereabouts, every time someone suggests that going "paperless" is a good idea, I buy more stock in Boise Cascade, Crown Zellerbach, Georgia-Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, Plum Creek Timber and Crane&Co (etc) ... I haven't lost a dime yet, quite the opposite in fact. (This is not investment advice, I am offering a testimonial, consult an expert before investing, etc.)

  5. Unicornpiss

    Reality is for people who can't handle drugs

    I expect for maximum effect, some folks will combine both.

  6. Haku

    The internet is already a drug. Just look at how many people are addicted to it.

    VR may just become another facet of it.

    BTW I'm not addicted, I can quit any time I want.

    I'll prove it.



    See, I didn't look at my screen for a whole 2 seconds!

  7. Sysgod

    voice based queries

    For a long time I've thought that the next evolutionary step in hardware was to separate the monitor from the CPU. Been watching Intel's work in this, hoping.

    I've this now around the house, but with cables: closed laptop connected to the TV. Closed server running VM's that I RDP to.

    But the Echo, etc. devices will want to project images and show pages, and so this may be another path that we finally see that separation.

  8. frank ly

    Life will imitate art

    "Nicole Immorlica, senior researcher at Microsoft's New England research lab, describes a world in which a person's value is measured by Facebook interaction ..."

    This is what happens when 'futurists' watch Black Mirror.

  9. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Cory Doctorow - Down and out in the Magic Kingdom, interesting take on the subject from 2003.

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Is it just me, or are all those "predictions" rather dystopian once you start thinking them through for a bit?

    As to the title, my prediction would be that it'll be using VR while being on drugs. (Ever sat on a swivel chair that also tilts while being really drhnk?)

    1. ArrZarr

      Have a look at Tom Scott's "Welcome To Life" video. It's exceptionally creepy.

  11. Teiwaz

    Hogwash (as usual so close to Hogswatch)

    The all female research (futurist or whatever) have been on the egg-nog a bit early.

    Or rose-tinted champagne - I see a dystopic vision where they obviously see dollar signs.

    'Soylent Green' is beginning to look like a utopic fairytail in the face of where we've been heading of late.

  12. sandman

    Yes! :)

  13. Sirius Lee


    "Microsoft's group of futurists is exclusively female, which represents an effort to counter the under representation of women in computing fields, according to the company."

    One of the redeeming features of the US is it's ability to take the middle road to avoid polarization and extremism.

  14. Teiwaz

    But don't write off Google, or Bing for that matter, prematurely. Search queries in ten years will incorporate sound and images and will include contextual information like location and activities, Dumais suggests.

    Sound and images sounds useful to the user (location - if they are allowed to opt in/out).

    I'd imagine they'd want to incorporate all that 'data trail' too with every search, as an added excuse for collecting it in the first place. Think of the enhanced echo-chamber effect - Amazon already mirrors back items I've already bought.

    It's way past time we got over 'smart' and got into 'sensible'.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... ubiquitous, embedded and contextually sensitive ..."

    Does my bum look big in this?

  16. druck Silver badge


    If you thought the Windows 8/10 interface was a step backwards, just wait until you have to wear a clunky headset to use it.

  17. Rattus Rattus


    I don't talk to my computer and I don't intend to. Why do Microsoft keep trying so hard to separate us from our keyboards?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No

      I don't like to talk to my computer either, but sometimes I do scream or curse at it.

    2. Nimby

      "Why do Microsoft keep trying so hard to separate us from our keyboards?"

      Hey, give me a direct neural interface so I can think at my PC and I'll be more than happy to chuck my keyboard in the bin. The problem isn't the lack of a keyboard. The problem is replacing the keyboard with something significantly inferior.

      Which is where Microsoft seems to always stumble. Such as, "Let's replace a consistent and expandable menu bar with a ribbon full of madness." Or, "Instead of opening up the mobile API to do all things that a full PC can do, let's try to restrict full PC experience to only things a mobile device can do."

      As long as technology improves, it's all good. It's when technology devolves back into primordial goo that it makes you wonder who all is driving the bus and how did they get put behind the wheel.

      Of course it isn't just MS. If it were, Apple, and Linux would have increased significantly in market share. Seems like every decision-maker the world over is making bad decisions lately.

  18. Nimby


    My head hurts. To me the only thought-provoking piece of that whole line of drivel is, "Has Microsoft's choice to staff an all-female group of futurists to pronounce such inexpert tripe a) helped empower women, or b) furthered gender discrimination in tech?"

    The ploy would have been a brilliant one ... if the "futurists" had said anything brilliant. Instead I just see a lot of hanging rope followed by a long awkward silence. :(

    Though it might explain why MS keeps making Windows worse instead of better if this is how they brainstorm.

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