Anticipating and Speculating Futures through Concept Videos

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In this work, we study how corporate concept videos (videos imagining how a product in the near-future might be used) embed a vision about the future of computing – including how computing should be done, for whom, and the norms that might exist. We introduce a method for doing a critical analysis and close reading of concept videos. Specifically, we analyzed Google Glass’ and Microsoft HoloLens’ concept videos and conducted a discourse analysis of media articles during the time period after the products were announced but before they were available to the public. We also introduce the language of “anticipatory” and “speculative" orientations toward the future to better describe how people imagine sociotechnical futures. We also analyze two of Amazon Prime Air's concept videos of an automatic drone delivery service to see how changes in the drones' portrayal over time reflects different attitudes toward privacy.


  • Richmond Y. Wong and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2016. When a Product Is Still Fictional: Anticipating and Speculating Futures through Concept Videos. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '16). [PDF]
  • Richmond Y. Wong and Deirdre K. Mulligan. 2016. These Aren’t the Autonomous Drones You’re Looking for: Investigating Privacy Concerns Through Concept Videos. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 5(3). [Read Online]

Blog Posts:

Slides: DIS 2016 Slides

Watch the Concept Videos

Project Glass: One day...(2012)

Microsoft HoloLens - Transform your world with holograms (2015)

Amazon Prime Air (2013)

Amazon Prime Air (2015)

Related Videos and Parodies

Google Glasses: A New Way to Hurt Yourself (parody of Google's Project Glass) (2012)

Amazon Prime Air Parody (2013)

Amazon Prime Air Launches New Ad Campaign (Parody) (2014)