Some things from fiction come true: Arthur C Clarke and satellites, for example. Or the surveiled society depicted in Orwell’s 1984. Others don’t: where are the hover boards?

There is a vogue for transparent devices in depictions of the future at the moment. As illustrated by the picture on the front of a Guardian advertising supplement today. But that very advert has made me realise a crucial flaw in the transparent device idea: bugger-all privacy. Is a consultant really going to have their notes on display in the way depicted above? I don’t think so.

A lot of this stems back to the film Minority Report. And my hunch is that Tom Cruise’s clear-screened hand waving was probably primarily a cinematic device to allow the actor to be seen face-on when using a computer. That same camera angle makes me suspect the reason why transparent devices won’t ever really take off…

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