This is not to say that a lot of amazing Kinect-based applications won’t find their way to market. For all that individuals make their way through the world by grasping and holding things, we interact with one another socially through the Kinect’s two inputs–voice and touch. The Kinect offers a way to live in society with machines. Think HAL 9000 before he went crazy. There will be great applications, but I doubt very much that the successful ones will look anything like the video.
It’s worth remembering the road that brought us here. Writing for Wired, Tim Carmody gives an excellent overview. Back in 2010, Microsoft representatives were making vaguely threatening comments about Kinect hackers as Adafruit sponsored a $3,000 bounty on the creation of open-source drivers for the device. Microsoft quickly reversed course and it was later revealed that one of the Kinect’s designers, Johnny Lee, had secretly sponsored the bounty after he failed to convince Microsoft to open up their drivers. In effect, Microsoft has had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future.