Human Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies

Science Fiction movies have been a source for speculation about the future of technology and human computer interaction. This paper presents a survey of different kinds of interaction designs in movies during the past decades and relates the techniques of the films to existing technologies and prototypes where possible. The interactions will be categorized with respect to their domain of real-life applications and also evaluated in regard to results of current research in human computer interaction. —Michael SchmitzHuman Computer Interaction in Science Fiction Movies (Instrumented Spaces)

The humanist in me wants more analysis, more philosophy, more “why does this matter”. Metropolis (which Schmitz incorrectly calls “the oldest science fiction movie”) is filed under “movies without concepts,” which doesn’t exactly give much credit to the ground-breaking expressionistic set designs. It’s not clear to me that the author recognizes that the scene with the human worker who moves dials on a gigantic wheel is supposed to make an artistic point. (The author calls it a “conceptual fault”.) The movie also includes a scene where the Master of Metropolis contacts his foreman contacts on what we would call a video phone, and his office includes machines that resemble stock tickers, so not only does this paper miss the artistic point of the movie, it also misses the opportunity to discuss the technology.

I wasn’t really satisfied to look at a picture and read a summary of the scene, though I did enjoy when the imaginary technology is paired with a real-world version.