Natal is the name of Microsoft's recently announced software/hardware to allow for controller-less interactions with their Xbox 360 video game system. It's a camera that detects your movements and speech to determine what should happen on whatever video game or menu you happen to be playing. Pretty incredible stuff.
Milo is a game that's coming out for a Natal equipped Xbox 360 that will have you interacting with a boy, appropriately named Milo, as your friend. Sounds bizarre and it certainly is. It's even more bizarre when you see it in action:
This kind of technology both scares and fascinates me. That we can do this is amazing and as I said, fascinating. But I wonder how often the bigger questions of should we be doing this type of thing and what the ramifications are for a child, for example, who gets so connected to this 'thing' that they lose the ability to tell what a real relationship is vs. a computer generated one - similar to how you can't tell the difference between what's real and computer generated in movies.
Would an 8 year old who plays with Milo be able to handle him going to video game heaven when the Xbox 360 dies? Does that prepare an 8 year old for death in real life?
The mind reels at the possibilities and the impact this kind of technology can have on a society.