Tarantino slumped in his steel and smoked-glass chair and sighed.
Meetings weren't half the fun they used to be when he could engender fear with a careful choice of suit. Everyone sent holos to the virtual board these days - and even the finance director appeared as Louis XV when everyone knew he seldom changed out of his pyjamas.
Ten years is a long time at the top, boss, said the voice - the computer interpreting his non-verbals perfectly, and gently adjusting the climate control and lighting to create a more soothing environment. Can I get the mini-bar to mix you a Martini?
Tarantino was shaken but not stirred. I want urine analysis on every board member , he snapped. And get me the retina scan records. I want to know where they've been and who they've talked to. By rights, the smart-loo readouts were highly confidential.
But in Tarantino the computer had long recognised a kindred spirit On current trends, Gadflys male lead will be in consultancy, and his trust long since gone by 2010. But according to BT futurologist Ian Pearson, smart toilets that diagnose illness, computers which understand non-verbal communication, and virtual meetings in which participants can edit their appearance or clothing will be standard.
Pearson's thoughts on the future of work, boardrooms, healthcare and more are set out in BT's Our View of the Future website.
He foresees smart desks consisting of a paper-thin visual display which will replace the laminated chipboard surface now in front of you and offer three dimensional images, computer interfaces like the Star Trek communicator badge or even bio-implants - to keep you in touch at all times, and active contact lenses for visual data.
Interested? Take heed of his vision of management as roles are deskilled: We will see the board gradually evaporate. The last one to go need not turn out the lights. It would be automated.