The scene is an upmarket bachelor pad. Everything is chrome, grey and ostentatiously minimalist. The resident, who we will call Mr Smartypants, wakes up with his mobile phone. After quickly dressing and making breakfast, he walks into the living room and uses his phone to play a reggae video on TV. Finishing his Frosties, he switches the video to his mobile and leaves for work. The house notices, so it turns off the lights, locks up and switches his phone from the Wi-fi network to 3G. The reggae band doesn't miss a beat. His silver BMW Z4 sees him coming. On a command from the phone, it unlocks and powers up. Mr Smartypants climbs in and switches his video to a display in the steering wheel. The car glides from its parking space and automatically opens the security gates. Driving out onto the main road, our hero checks in with the office, greets his boss in French and offers to fetch coffee and croissants (our protagonist is American, and his boss sounds English. So presumably the Franglais is there purely to irritate me). Stopping at a coffee shop, Mr Smartypants transfers the still booming reggae video back to his phone, and orders a couple of tall decaf frappamocaccinos. When the server asks for money, our hero just waves his phone dismissively to show it has already settled the bill. The server, still hoping for a tip, praises his patron's taste in music. But Mr Smartypants' attention has been caught by another customer, Mr Smartypirate, who also likes the tune, so our coffee courier beams him a copy of the video. Back on the road, the Z4's GPS system detects bad traffic and, launching a map from the steering-wheel display, suggests an alternate route. Mr Smartypants agrees with the computer and tells the phone to call his boss. Mr Franglais agrees to delay the morning's video conference until his colleague gets in with the coffee. There are plenty of other ways that Mr Smartypants could have integrated technology into his routine. He could have had a computer in his fridge that noticed the milk was finished and ordered more; he could have simply clapped for his music; and he could have dispensed with the commute and handled his video conference at home. But, as we all know, Motorola doesn't make internet fridges and Mr Smartypants doesn't exist. He is an imaginary character in an advertising campaign shown at the MotoInnovation conference in Beijing last week. Most people I meet would rather slap Mr Smartypants than aspire to his lifestyle. When I queried Motorola executives on this, they protested that everything shown in the advert can already be done today. And they are right. In fact, most of it has existed for years. With the exception of the TV screen in the steering wheel, which would be illegal, every one of the technologies shown is available now, though none would work quite as smoothly as the advert suggests. So why do we still turn on our lights by hand and listen to one CD at home and another on the way to work? Why do so few people want this stuff? Even before the dotcom bubble took their savings away, the public had always regarded technology with suspicion. And while it has become an omnipresent part of all our lives, people still see industry promises as no more trustworthy than the average stock broker, politician or newspaper columnist. The past decade has seen a remarkable change in the way we communicate. Just a decade ago, most of us stayed in touch by pager. Today, Hong Kong boasts more mobile phone accounts than people. Most homes have computers and more than half have broadband internet access. But that does not mean the world is ready to combine them all into one seamless personal network. The problem is not just technophobia or immature technology. Hutchison's 3G network managed to sign up new users despite being a work in progress. People subscribed because the handsets were cheap. The trouble is that marketers continually try to sell us their own dreams, rather than wasting their artistic effort on something the rest of us can relate to. When Mr Smartypants used his phone to pay for coffee, he had to switch screens and mess around with drop-down menus. A normal person would have paid in half the time with cash or an Octopus card. People don't need to be sold fantasies that they had never wanted in the first place. But if technology firms tell people what they can have right now and how they can use it, they will use it. According to Motorola vice-president Simon Leung, mainland phone users sent 10billion text messages during Lunar New Year. If each message cost 10 fen, that adds up to a billion yuan in a week. Now that is what an advertising agency should be catching on to: real people using real data services, and you can bet none of them needed a display in their steering wheels to do it.