I gave a near 3-hour interactive talk at a local Science Café tonight which was fun. Well, the number of guys who followed it at the technical level was close to \(\pi\) but everything was relaxed, no one was tired, so the talk could have been made entertaining even for those ladies and gentlemen who didn't really follow all those things about escape speeds, special relativity, general relativity, quantum mechanics, Hawking and Bekenstein, second laws and black hole entropy, Strominger and Vafa, ER=EPR, quasinormal modes, landscape and swampland, LHC destructive black holes, and so on. I won't bother you with all the jokes because some of them were childish but enough to make people laugh. ;-)
But I think that if I were giving the talk now, five hours later, it could have been affected by the latest Microsoft press conference.
I am impressed by the number of nontrivial developments that were announced today. First, the Microsoft HoloLens reality above – is that real holograms (using the actual interference and Dennis Gábor) that is moving in the glasses? If that's so, and the pages really suggest that it is (it may even be faster to create the picture than for ordinary stereo vision), I can't imagine I would resist to have those things from the video above. If many people will have HoloLens at home, I think that the percentage of those who will understand the holographic principle next time will be higher than the 0%-2% today. ;-)
The reason why I think that this is using actual holograms with interference etc. is that e.g. Wired wrote
The field of view spans 120 degrees by 120 degrees, significantly bigger than that of the Kinect camera. A “light engine” above the lenses projects light into the glasses, where it hits the grating and then volleys between the layers of glass millions of times. That process, along with input from the device's myriad sensors, tricks the eye into perceiving the image as existing in the world beyond the lenses.Also, read about the excited experiences of someone who was allowed to play the holographic Minecraft (in a super secret place you couldn't have guessed, a few meters beneath the Microsoft Visitor Center).
Microsoft will skip the name Microsoft Windows 9 because the number "9" looks like it is incomplete and it will go directly to Windows 10. It will be a platform that will unify the desktop Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox in some way, with numerous universal apps. Everything is better, mistakes are fixed (the Start button is back and the tiles were downgraded to something inside the start button), blue screens have been replaced by a friendly glitch report, blah blah blah, and the upgrade is supposed to be free of charge for Windows 8 and 8.1 desktop and Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 users, and even to Windows 7 users for one year!
And Windows 10 will be here forever – a permanent service with unlimited updates.
They also presented Cortana, the assistant, for tablets and notebooks, Office on all smartphones, reduced internet browser (competing with MSIE) called Spartan, giant Surface Hub on your wall, Microsoft's own new computers. Still, the holographic stuff seems most innovative and irresistible to me. I am looking forward to it.
Several Apple press conferences looked intriguing and cute to me but I don't think that they have been anywhere close to this press conference of Microsoft. Tell me whatever you want but the fact that the Apple market capitalization is significantly (60+ percent) higher than that of Microsoft is a testimony of tons of people's nearly unlimited irrationality and snobbery.