Khoi Vinh has posted a transcript of a thought-provoking discussion he had with Google UI engineer and student of computer user interfaces in film and TV Kirill Grouchnikov about, among other things, how fictitious user interfaces both reflect and influence real-world technology:
[Khoi Vinh]: It's a fair point that there's always been bad writing. I guess the difference though is that in the analog age, very, very few people ever actually had to defuse a bomb. Whereas today, everyone uses phones, laptops and who knows what kind of screens on a daily basis. So a screen as a plot device is much more familiar, yet it seems like the way a lot of movies overcome that quotidian nature is by trying to make them seem more fantastical, rather than trying to make them seem more believable.[…]
[Kirill Grouchnikov]: [Screens…] themselves are just a skin-deep manifestation of the information that surrounds us. They might look fancy and over-the-top, as you say, but that's a pixel-level veneer to make them look good for the overall visual impact of a production. I think that most of what those screens or plotline devices are trying to do is to hint at the technological capabilities available to people or organizations who are operating those screens. That's where it goes to what I was saying earlier: the incredible advances in technology in so many areas, as well as the availability of those advances to the mass consumer market.