While creating visions from a computer that appear directly in the world around us is a wonderful thing, it’s not the be all and end all of eccescopy. It was arguably George Lucas who whet our appetite for the real killer app: Using that information as a way for people to communicate with each other — without disrupting the sense of shared physical space.
The original Star Wars film provided many distinct examples of this, of which here are just three:
Princess Leia in a beam of light
Playing Dejarik aboard the Millenium Falcon (“Let the Wookie win”)
Rebels watching a visualization of the Death Star circling Endor
What’s most striking to me about these scenes, and others like them, is the clear sense they convey that in the world of Star Wars there is no need for computer screens, since a technology exists that allows information to simply appear in mid-air.
And yet the world of Star Wars is filled with computer displays. Perhaps George Lucas hadn’t really thought this through. But more likely, he probably realized that a sci-fi world without traditional computer screens would be completely incomprehensible to contemporary audiences.