Corning Updates Their Vision of the Future, With Bigger Houses and Snazzier Cars

A year ago we showed A Vision of the Future: More Of The Same, But Shiny, the Corning Glass video about what our houses and cities might look like. I thought it was an amazing video, but I was a bit disappointed that they didn't use that technology to really change anything, they just made it shinier. The video was such a huge success, garnering 17 million views, that they have made a sequel, where everything is just bigger and shinier. Much bigger. Much shinier.

corning houseCorning/Screen capture
Of course, everyone still lives in single family houses, except in the future they have even fewer windows to the street, now they are nothing but a wall of doors, two for the cars and one for the people. Dad still drives the kids to school, they don't walk in the future, either.

roof of schoolCorning/Screen capture

The school is rather nice, with a seamless glass photovoltaic roof.

teacher teaching with a glass wallcorning/Screen capture

But inside it is pretty much the same as today, which is a hangover from before there were cheap books and the teacher had to read from the only one. In this classroom, the teacher has the magic glass seamless projector wall, and every student has their own glass screen repeating what's on the big wall, which is kind of pointless.

my class at ryersonLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

In fact the world has changed already; I took this in the class I teach last week during a student presentation, and every single student was in their own world, looking at their own computer. I would think that by the time Corningland had come into being, they would have figured out a new model for teaching.

class community activity tablecorning/Screen capture

Oh wait, they have, with the Class Community Activity Table, which I thought was a cross between a blackjack table and a game of electronic twister.

corning off to the parkCorning/Screen capture

Then it is off to nature in a park where it is not enough to just see nature, they have to make it Jurassic. I am pleased to see that in the future, park rangers will still wear the Smokey the Bear hats and are still pony-tailed treehuggers.

showing momCorning/Screen capture

Then it is home again, home again, to sit in the giant white living room with a big bowl of popcorn and show mom what you saw at the park on yet another big glass wall.

You can learn all about the technology from the narrated version, sort of like Blade Runner before they stripped out the voiceovers. A very annoying Brit walks in and out of the picture and explains it all. It is very well done, but twice as long.

the roadThe Road/Screen capture

I know that a lot of people are positive about the future, and don't believe we are going to end up living out of shopping carts with guns in our hands. But almost nobody besides John Boehner thinks that it is a good thing to keep living just like we are now. This wasn't really a sequel, it was more of a remake. It would have been wonderful if Corning had taken the money they spent here to do a different film, more urban, with more density. Cities can be shiny, too; look at Arup's vision and add some glass.

Check out some of my favourite visions of the future in the related column to the left.

Corning Updates Their Vision of the Future, With Bigger Houses and Snazzier Cars
The future still isn't what it used to be, with jetpacks and replicators. It is just more of the same, with jazzy electronics.

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