Take a Deep Dive Into Microsoft’s Vision of a Digitally Seamless and Collaborative Future

Dreams of tomorrow's workflow

Microsoft is back with the latest installment in its "Productivity Future Vision" series—and this time, it's drifting through the story of a marine biologist, Kat, and a corporate executive, Lola, who collaborate on a complex undersea project. Naturally, thanks to Microsoft, they get thoroughly immersed in their work.

The goal of the six-minute film is to whet viewers' appetites for Microsoft products and services that are roughly five to 10 years away. In this regard, the impressive video—with visual storytelling that puts some sci-fi epics to shame—makes a big splash. Sexy tech on display includes scuba gear that generates holograms for oceanographic study and a segmented bracelet that's also a computer (it forms a larger display when its pieces are joined). There's also a hyper-flexible magazine-like digital device that works with a stylus. One especially cool demo even shows hologram Lola "beaming" into a meeting, and interacting with data on a wall-size blackboard screen, just as if she was in the room.

As in Microsoft's previous productivity plays, as well as its home-of-the-future clip a ways back, the new video assures a shimmering techtopia of endless endeavor, achievement and connectivity. In this particular clip, there's an emphasis on seamlessly "fluid" communications and information sharing—hence the aquatic theme. In effect, though, all that water reminds me of the blue screen of death … but I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong.

And frankly, Microsoft's notion of the future has always seemed kind of fishy, anyways. Everyone's toiling all the time. Even the future house is overstimulating, with its motion-activated wallpaper and tweets dancing through the halls. Watching this stuff gives me a sinking feeling that we'll be drowning in technology, with no time to come up for air. Maybe the company should develop an inflatable device that helps us float around the pool as we unplug and decompress.

On the bright side, Internet Explorer's finally capsized. We'll see if its successor, code-named Project Spartan, is really such a catch.