Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • (Video) Nicholas Negroponte: Can we switch to the video disc,

  • which is in play mode?

  • I'm really interested in how you put people and computers together.

  • We will be using the TV screens or their equivalents

  • for electronic books of the future.

  • (Music, crosstalk)

  • Very interested in touch-sensitive displays,

  • high-tech, high-touch, not having to pick up your fingers to use them.

  • There is another way where computers

  • touch people: wearing, physically wearing.

  • Suddenly on September 11th,

  • the world got bigger.

  • NN: Thank you. (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • When I was asked to do this,

  • I was also asked to look at all 14 TED Talks

  • that I had given,

  • chronologically.

  • The first one was actually two hours.

  • The second one was an hour,

  • and then they became half hours,

  • and all I noticed was my bald spot getting bigger.

  • (Laughter)

  • Imagine seeing your life, 30 years of it, go by,

  • and it was, to say the least,

  • for me, quite a shocking experience.

  • So what I'm going to do in my time

  • is try and share with you what happened

  • during the 30 years,

  • and then also make a prediction,

  • and then tell you a little bit

  • about what I'm doing next.

  • And I put on a slide

  • where TED 1 happened in my life.

  • And it's rather important

  • because I had done 15 years of research before it,

  • so I had a backlog, so it was easy.

  • It's not that I was Fidel Castro

  • and I could talk for two hours,

  • or Bucky Fuller.

  • I had 15 years of stuff,

  • and the Media Lab was about to start.

  • So that was easy.

  • But there are a couple of things

  • about that period

  • and about what happened that are

  • really quite important.

  • One is that

  • it was a period when computers

  • weren't yet for people.

  • And the other thing that sort of happened

  • during that time is that

  • we were considered sissy computer scientists.

  • We weren't considered the real thing.

  • So what I'm going to show you is, in retrospect,

  • a lot more interesting and a lot more accepted

  • than it was at the time.

  • So I'm going to characterize the years

  • and I'm even going to go back

  • to some very early work of mine,

  • and this was the kind of stuff I was doing in the '60s:

  • very direct manipulation,

  • very influenced as I studied architecture

  • by the architect Moshe Safdie,

  • and you can see that we even built robotic things

  • that could build habitat-like structures.

  • And this for me was

  • not yet the Media Lab,

  • but was the beginning of what I'll call

  • sensory computing,

  • and I pick fingers

  • partly because everybody thought it was ridiculous.

  • Papers were published

  • about how stupid it was to use fingers.

  • Three reasons: One was they were low-resolution.

  • The other is your hand would occlude

  • what you wanted to see,

  • and the third, which was the winner,

  • was that your fingers would get the screen dirty,

  • and hence, fingers would never be

  • a device that you'd use.

  • And this was a device we built in the '70s,

  • which has never even been picked up.

  • It's not just touch sensitive,

  • it's pressure sensitive.

  • (Video) Voice: Put a yellow circle there.

  • NN: Later work, and again this was before TED 1 —

  • (Video) Voice: Move that west of the diamond.

  • Create a large green circle there.

  • Man: Aw, shit.

  • NN: — was to sort of do interface concurrently,

  • so when you talked and you pointed

  • and you had, if you will,

  • multiple channels.

  • Entebbe happened.

  • 1976, Air France was hijacked,

  • taken to Entebbe,

  • and the Israelis not only did an extraordinary rescue,

  • they did it partly because they had practiced

  • on a physical model of the airport,

  • because they had built the airport,

  • so they built a model in the desert,

  • and when they arrived at Entebbe,

  • they knew where to go because they had actually been there.

  • The U.S. government asked some of us, '76,

  • if we could replicate that computationally,

  • and of course somebody like myself says yes.

  • Immediately, you get a contract,

  • Department of Defense,

  • and we built this truck and this rig.

  • We did sort of a simulation,

  • because you had video discs,

  • and again, this is '76.

  • And then many years later,

  • you get this truck,

  • and so you have Google Maps.

  • Still people thought,

  • no, that was not serious computer science,

  • and it was a man named Jerry Wiesner,

  • who happened to be the president of MIT,

  • who did think it was computer science.

  • And one of the keys for anybody

  • who wants to start something in life:

  • Make sure your president is part of it.

  • So when I was doing the Media Lab,

  • it was like having a gorilla in the front seat.

  • If you were stopped for speeding

  • and the officer looked in the window

  • and saw who was in the passenger seat,

  • then, "Oh, continue on, sir."

  • And so we were able,

  • and this is a cute, actually, device, parenthetically.

  • This was a lenticular photograph of Jerry Wiesner

  • where the only thing that changed in the photograph

  • were the lips.

  • So when you oscillated that little piece

  • of lenticular sheet with his photograph,

  • it would be in lip sync

  • with zero bandwidth.

  • It was a zero-bandwidth teleconferencing system

  • at the time.

  • So this was the Media Lab's —

  • this is what we said we'd do,

  • that the world of computers, publishing,

  • and so on would come together.

  • Again, not generally accepted,

  • but very much part of TED in the early days.

  • And this is really where we were headed.

  • And that created the Media Lab.

  • One of the things about age

  • is that I can tell you with great confidence,

  • I've been to the future.

  • I've been there, actually, many times.

  • And the reason I say that is,

  • how many times in my life have I said,

  • "Oh, in 10 years, this will happen,"

  • and then 10 years comes.

  • And then you say, "Oh, in five years, this will happen."

  • And then five years comes.

  • So I say this a little bit with having felt

  • that I'd been there a number of times,

  • and one of the things that is most quoted

  • that I've ever said

  • is that computing is not about computers,

  • and that didn't quite get enough traction,

  • and then it started to.

  • It started to because people caught on

  • that the medium wasn't the message.

  • And the reason I show this car

  • in actually a rather ugly slide

  • is just again to tell you the kind of story

  • that characterized a little bit of my life.

  • This is a student of mine

  • who had done a Ph.D. called "Backseat Driver."

  • It was in the early days of GPS,

  • the car knew where it was,

  • and it would give audio instructions

  • to the driver, when to turn right, when to turn left and so on.

  • Turns out, there are a lot of things

  • in those instructions that back in that period

  • were pretty challenging,

  • like what does it mean, take the next right?

  • Well, if you're coming up on a street,

  • the next right's probably the one after,

  • and there are lots of issues,

  • and the student did a wonderful thesis,

  • and the MIT patent office said "Don't patent it.

  • It'll never be accepted.

  • The liabilities are too large.

  • There will be insurance issues.

  • Don't patent it."

  • So we didn't,

  • but it shows you how people, again, at times,

  • don't really look at what's happening.

  • Some work, and I'll just go through these very quickly,

  • a lot of sensory stuff.

  • You might recognize a young Yo-Yo Ma

  • and tracking his body for playing

  • the cello or the hypercello.

  • These fellows literally walked around like that at the time.

  • It's now a little bit more discreet

  • and more commonplace.

  • And then there are at least three heroes

  • I want to quickly mention.

  • Marvin Minsky, who taught me a lot

  • about common sense,

  • and I will talk briefly about Muriel Cooper,

  • who was very important to Ricky Wurman

  • and to TED, and in fact, when she got onstage,

  • she said, the first thing she said was,

  • "I introduced Ricky to Nicky."

  • And nobody calls me Nicky

  • and nobody calls Richard Ricky,

  • so nobody knew who she was talking about.

  • And then, of course, Seymour Papert,

  • who is the person who said,

  • "You can't think about thinking

  • unless you think about thinking about something."

  • And that's actuallyyou can unpack that later.

  • It's a pretty profound statement.

  • I'm showing some slides

  • that were from TED 2,

  • a little silly as slides, perhaps.

  • Then I felt television really was about displays.

  • Again, now we're past TED 1,

  • but just around the time of TED 2,

  • and what I'd like to mention here is,

  • even though you could imagine

  • intelligence in the device,

  • I look today at some of the work

  • being done about the Internet of Things,

  • and I think it's kind of tragically pathetic,

  • because what has happened is people take

  • the oven panel and put it on your cell phone,

  • or the door key onto your cell phone,

  • just taking it and bringing it to you,

  • and in fact that's actually what you don't want.

  • You want to put a chicken in the oven,

  • and the oven says, "Aha, it's a chicken,"

  • and it cooks the chicken.

  • "Oh, it's cooking the chicken for Nicholas,

  • and he likes it this way and that way."

  • So the intelligence, instead of being in the device,

  • we have started today

  • to move it back onto the cell phone

  • or closer to the user,

  • not a particularly enlightened view

  • of the Internet of Things.

  • Television, again, television what I said today,

  • that was back in 1990,

  • and the television of tomorrow

  • would look something like that.

  • Again, people, but