Real life turns into an old school adventure game

King's Quest IV and Space Quest in their original boxes
Space Quest and King’s Quest IV

The Internet of Things means probably that we’ll be able to yell at our machines at home instead of pressing buttons.

“Switch on kitchen lights”

“Sweep floor”

“Close garage door”

With everything connected in the near future through cheap, extremely tiny, integrated WiFi chips, we’ll be able to ‘get things done’ by just shouting commands and not only when you are within range of the appliances. Just activate anything remotely from anywhere. That’s probably part of the future.

I was just reading a piece on a new, soon to be launched app called ‘Shortcut‘ on the PandoDaily-blog. This app will allow you to use voice commands to tell your connected devices what to do. No borders, just from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

While reading the Pando-blog, I accidentally stared at my bookshelves which are filled with some boxes containing ancient video adventure games, like Kings’s Quest IV and Space Quest. Yes, I own those games. One hundred guilders* per piece or so back in 1989.

To interact with the characters in those games, you had to use the arrow keys to move them around in a sort of 3D-world. But to make them do actual things, you had to type in simple verb-noun commands like “get rock” or “sit on chair” or “look at ground”.

So, I imagine that in the near future most of the voice commands will sound like that. First you activate the voice recognition device with a certain command (like with the Google Glass: “Ok glass, …”) and after that, blare some simple command.

Imagine sitting on the bus, remembering the dog has to eat. You own some kind of automated pet food dispenser, but you forgot to set it. You yell into your Google Glass some command:

“Ok Glass, pet food dispenser, dispense dog food”

Nobody knows what the Internet of Things will bring in the near or far future. But, well.. this doesn’t sound odd at all…

*The guilder was the official currency in The Netherlands before the Euro. 

Krijn Soeteman is a Dutch science and technology journalist. He majored in the history of art and architecture. After his studies he started as a music video producer. This led to producing a Museum Night at the NEMO Science Museum, which eventually led to science journalism. And much more.

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