Presented By
O’Reilly + Cloudera
Make Data Work
29 April–2 May 2019
London, UK
Please log in

Science-fictional user interfaces

Mars Geldard (University of Tasmania), Paris Buttfield-Addison (Secret Lab)
17:2518:05 Wednesday, 1 May 2019
Strata Business Summit, Visualization and UX
Location: Capital Suite 10/11
Secondary topics:  Visualization, Design, and UX
Average rating: ****.
(4.67, 12 ratings)



What you'll learn

  • Explore lessons learned from the way sci-fi presents AI-driven interfaces and how to apply them


Academics have often suggested that science fiction is, by definition, a contribution to HCI (human-computer interaction) and design. Sci-fi has the freedom to disregard technical feasibility when conceiving of grand UIs and ways to present big data, big ideas, and complex problems and scenarios. Sci-fi has been showcasing complex, AI-driven (often AR or VR) interfaces (for huge amounts of data!) for decades. As TV, movies, and video games have become more capable of visualizing a possible future, the grandeur of these imagined science fictional interfaces has increased. Sci-fi shows us a lot of user interfaces where interruptions don’t matter and the contextual interface provides fluid, predictive access to all sorts of data—sci-fi UI is the ultimate in data-driven design and designing for outcomes. But does it actually work?

Sci-fi nerds (and researchers, authors, and computer scientists) Mars Geldard and Paris Buttfield-Addison discuss the past 100 years of sci-fi UI and investigate what we can learn from it. Join in to see how these lessons can impact the new world of building interfaces and visualizations for a world full of AR, VR, ML, AI, big data, and other buzzwords too numerous to list. It’ll be fun—they promise.

Photo of Mars Geldard

Mars Geldard

University of Tasmania

Marina Rose Geldard (Mars) is a technologist from Down Under in Tasmania. Entering the world of technology relatively late as a mature-age student, she has found her place in the world: an industry where she can apply her lifelong love of mathematics and optimization. She compulsively volunteers at industry events, dabbles in research, and serves on the executive committee for her state’s branch of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) as well as the AUC. She’s writing Practical Artificial Intelligence with Swift for O’Reilly and working on machine learning projects to improve public safety through public CCTV cameras in her hometown of Hobart.

Photo of Paris Buttfield-Addison

Paris Buttfield-Addison

Secret Lab

Paris Buttfield-Addison is a cofounder of Secret Lab, a game development studio based in beautiful Hobart, Australia. Secret Lab builds games and game development tools, including the multi-award-winning ABC Play School iPad games, the BAFTA- and IGF-winning Night in the Woods, the Qantas airlines Joey Playbox games, and the Yarn Spinner narrative game framework. Previously, Paris was a mobile product manager for Meebo (acquired by Google). Paris particularly enjoys game design, statistics, blockchain, machine learning, and human-centered technology. He researches and writes technical books on mobile and game development (more than 20 so far) for O’Reilly; he recently finished writing Practical AI with Swift and is currently working on Head First Swift. He holds a degree in medieval history and a PhD in computing. Paris loves to bring machine learning into the world of practical and useful. You can find him on Twitter as @parisba.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Pierre GERBAUD
2/05/2019 13:22 BST

Great session ! Flat design and intuitive inputs dating back to 1966 was absolutely on point.

Catherine Cross | PRIVATE
1/05/2019 19:29 BST

This was brilliant do you ever run workshops at conferences or similar about this?