Courtesy of an interactive advertising campaign by telecommunications company Orange, users can communicate with themselves in twenty years time. Using a video chat format, users communicate using either their microphone or keyboard. Watch a demo of the experience here:
Of course “communicate” is a bit of a stretch; the lag is worse than a Skype call on poor connection. Also the conversation is almost strictly on predefined topics, suggested by the future self. But apart from these bugs, it is a remarkable website. Responses range from humorous to thought-provoking. I learnt that my future self is British and works as a robot wrestler referee. I also learnt that money is no longer used, rather a people exhcange items which they continue to have real value.
Not having an American or Brittish accent is a bit of a handicap. As what frequently occurs with these technologies, they are not created to understand other accents, let along one from a small country at the bottom of the world!
While this technology is impressive, and the 3D modeling can be scarily realistic, one has to wonder what the purpose of it is. Surely implementing this wasn’t cheap. According to Adweek, “The initiative marks Orange’s 20th anniversary, and it’s designed to position the marketer as hip and innovative with the millennial crowd. (Yeah, I’m sure the whole emphasis on aging will have exactly that effect)”