Still crazy

I met my old lover on the street last night / She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled / And we talked about some old times, and we drank ourselves some beers / Still crazy after all these years — Paul Simon

It’s odd to suddenly find myself in the center of a technology movement that has gone viral. In my research I consciously try to work on things that other people won’t be thinking about for at least another ten years.

But the recent commercial focus on VR has sort of snuck up on me. When I was giving talks in 2010 about future VR wearables that track their user’s position using sensor fusion between inertial sensors and tiny cameras, I felt — perhaps a bit too smugly — that this was all far enough in the future that at least half my audience would just think I was crazy.

Now it turns out that extremely large companies are pouring ridiculous amounts of money into just those things. My “crazy vision of the future” talks of five years ago have become the business plans of today.

Sure, it’s nice to see your predictions come true, but it can also be a bit disconcerting. If you are doing research, you should not be spending your time in the present — you should be spending your time in the future.

Fortunately, I still have some ideas that everybody thinks are crazy. So at least I am doing something right.

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