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  • Thousands of years from now,

  • we'll look back at the first century of computing

  • as a fascinating but very peculiar time --

  • the only time in history where humans were reduced to live in 2D space,

  • interacting with technology as if we were machines;

  • a singular, 100-year period in the vastness of time

  • where humans communicated,

  • were entertained and managed their lives

  • from behind a screen.

  • Today, we spend most of our time tapping and looking at screens.

  • What happened to interacting with each other?

  • I don't know about you, but I feel limited

  • inside this 2D world of monitors and pixels.

  • And it is this very limitation

  • and my desire to connect with people

  • that inspires me as a creator.

  • Put simply: I want to create a new reality,

  • a reality where technology brings us infinitely closer to each other,

  • a reality where people, not devices,

  • are the center of everything.

  • I dream of a reality where technology senses what we see, touch and feel;

  • a reality where technology no longer gets in our way,

  • but instead embraces who we are.

  • I dream of technology

  • on a human path.

  • We have all experienced technology

  • that enables people to act more like people,

  • products that enable natural interactions, voice controls or biometrics.

  • This is the next step in the evolution.

  • This is Microsoft HoloLens,

  • the first fully untethered holographic computer.

  • Devices like this will bring 3D holographic content

  • right into our world,

  • enhancing the way we experience life

  • beyond our ordinary range of perceptions.

  • Now, I'm not thinking about a distant future.

  • I'm talking about today.

  • We are already seeing car companies like Volvo

  • designing cars differently with HoloLens;

  • universities like Case Western redefining the way medical students learn;

  • and my personal favorite,

  • NASA is using HoloLens to let scientists explore planets

  • holographically.

  • Now, this is important.

  • By bringing holograms into our world,

  • I'm not just talking about a new device or a better computer.

  • I'm talking about freeing ourselves from the 2D confines

  • of traditional computing.

  • Put it this way:

  • temporally adjusted, we're like cave people in computer terms.

  • We've barely discovered charcoal

  • and started drawing the first stick figures in our cave.

  • Now, this is the perspective I apply to my work every single day.

  • And now for the next few minutes,

  • I invite all of you to apply the same perspective

  • to the journey ahead of us.

  • Now, as I put this HoloLens on,

  • let me explain the setup a little bit.

  • It's probably the most risky demo we have ever done on any stage

  • with HoloLens,

  • and I can't think of a better place to do it than here at TED.

  • Momentarily, I am going to be seeing holograms

  • right on this stage,

  • just as clearly as I can see all of you.

  • Now at the same time, we have also this special camera

  • that just walked in onstage

  • so that all of you can share in this experience with me

  • up on all the monitors.

  • So let's start our journey.

  • And what better place to begin our journey,

  • than in the computer cave of 2D.

  • Let's explore the world all around us with this new lens,

  • and understand the computer world from a brand new perspective.

  • The computer universe is both marvelous and primitive.

  • It's a universe based on causality.

  • As developers, we dream the different causes

  • and then we program the different effects.

  • Double click on an icon, that's a cause.

  • Open an application, that's an effect.

  • Now when we compare this to our physical universe,

  • it is overly constraining,

  • because our universe is not digital.

  • Our universe is analog.

  • Our universe doesn't think in terms of zero or one,

  • true or false, or black or white.

  • We exist in a world governed by quantum physics,

  • a universe of zero and one both at the same time,

  • a reality based on infinite probabilities and shades of gray.

  • You can see how these two worlds collide.

  • So why are screens so pervasive in our analog life?

  • We see screens from the moment we wake up,

  • to the moment we fall asleep.

  • Why?

  • I think it's because computers give us superpowers.

  • Within the digital universe, we have the power to displace space

  • and the power to displace time.

  • It doesn't matter if you're using technology for entertainment,

  • productivity or communication.

  • Think of it this way:

  • let's all go home tonight

  • and watch our favorite show on television.

  • This is theater -- time and space displaced.

  • As soon as I'm done with this TED Talk,

  • I'm going to immediately call my lovely family in Seattle.

  • That's displacement of space.

  • Now, these are such great superpowers

  • that we put up with the two-dimensional limitations

  • of our current digital world.

  • But what if we didn't have to?

  • What if we could have these same digital powers

  • in our world?

  • You can already see glimmers of this,

  • but I believe our children's children

  • will grow up in a world devoid of 2D technology.

  • It's remarkable to dream of this world,

  • a world where technology truly understands us --

  • where we live, work and communicate --

  • with tools that enhance the human experience,

  • not machines that limit our humanity.

  • So how do we get there?

  • For me, the answer required looking at the problem

  • from a different perspective.

  • It required sensing the world from the perspective of a machine.

  • If you're a machine trying to sense our world,

  • how would you actually break the problem down?

  • You'd probably try to classify things

  • as a human,

  • an environment

  • or an object.

  • But how would that machine then interact with reality?

  • And I can think of three ways.

  • First, as a machine,

  • I would observe or I would input reality.

  • Speech recognition and biometric authentication

  • are great examples of a machine interacting with humans

  • from an input perspective.

  • Secondly, as a machine,

  • I could place digital information, or output information,

  • into reality.

  • Holograms are examples of a machine interacting with an environment

  • from an output perspective.

  • Finally, as a machine,

  • I could exchange energy with the world via haptics.

  • Now, imagine being able to feel the temperature of a virtual object,

  • or better yet, imagine pushing a hologram

  • and having it push you back with equal force.

  • With this perspective,

  • we are able to collapse reality into a simple matrix.

  • Now here's a secret:

  • as an engineer, I get really excited

  • anytime I can reduce something to the matrix.

  • From self-driving cars

  • to smartphones

  • to this holographic computer on my head,

  • machines are becoming capable of understanding our world.

  • And they are starting to interact with us

  • in significantly more personal ways.

  • Now, imagine having granular control

  • over everything in the world.

  • Move the dial one way,

  • and you get reality.

  • Move the dial the other way,

  • and you get virtual reality.

  • Now, imagine dialing your entire environment

  • between virtual and real worlds.

  • I love it down here.

  • Now, imagine if I could look at all of you

  • and dial from real humans into elves.

  • When technology truly understands our world,

  • it will again transform the ways we interact,

  • the ways we work and the ways we play.

  • Less than half a century ago,

  • two courageous men landed on the moon,

  • using computers that were less powerful than the phones in your pockets.

  • Six hundred million humans watched them

  • on grainy, black-and-white televisions.

  • And the world?

  • The world was mesmerized.

  • Now imagine how our children and their children

  • will experience the continued exploration of space

  • with technology that understands this world.

  • We already live in a world where real-time universal translators exist.

  • And I can squint, and I can already see holographic telepresence

  • in our near future.

  • In fact, since we've been lucky with our demo so far,

  • let's try doing something else even more crazy.

  • I invite you to experience,

  • for the first time anywhere in the world,

  • here on the TED stage,

  • a real-life holographic teleportation,

  • between me and my friend, Dr. Jeffrey Norris,

  • from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  • Finger crossed. Hi, Jeff.

  • Jeff Norris: Hey, Alex.

  • Alex Kipman: Phew! That worked. How are you doing today, Jeff?

  • (Applause)

  • JN: Doing great. I had an awesome week.

  • AK: So, can you tell us a little bit, Jeff, about where you are?

  • JN: Well, I'm actually in three places.

  • I'm standing in a room across the street,

  • while I'm standing on this stage with you,

  • while I'm standing on Mars, a hundred million miles away.

  • AK: Wow, a hundred million miles away. This is crazy!

  • Can you tell us a little bit more about where all this data

  • from Mars is coming from?

  • JN: Absolutely.

  • This is a precise holographic replica of Mars,

  • built from data captured by the Curiosity Mars Rover,

  • that I can explore as easily as a place on Earth.

  • Humans are natural explorers.

  • We can instantly understand an environment,

  • just by being present in it.

  • We've built tools like our Mars Rover

  • to extend our vision and lengthen our reach.

  • But for decades,

  • we've explored from a seat behind screens and keyboards.

  • Now, we're leaping over all of that,

  • over the giant antennas and the relay satellites

  • and the vastness between worlds

  • to take our first steps on this landscape as if we were truly there.

  • Today, a group of scientists on our mission

  • are seeing Mars as never before --

  • an alien world made a little more familiar,

  • because they're finally exploring it as humans should.

  • But our dreams don't have to end with making it just like being there.

  • When we dial this real world to the virtual,

  • we can do magical things.

  • We can see in invisible wavelengths

  • or teleport to the top of a mountain.

  • Perhaps someday, we'll feel the minerals in a rock just by touching it.

  • We're taking the first steps.

  • But we want the whole world to join us in taking the next,

  • because this is not a journey for a few,

  • but for all of us.

  • AK: Thank you Jeff, this was amazing.

  • Thank you so much for joining us on the TED stage today.

  • (Applause)

  • JN: Thank you Alex, bye bye.

  • AK: Bye, Jeff.

  • (Applause)

  • I dream about this future

  • every single day.

  • I take inspiration from our ancestors.

  • We used to live in tribes where we interacted,

  • communicated and worked together.

  • We are all beginning to build technology that will enable us to return

  • to the humanity that brought us where we are today --

  • technology that will let us stop living inside this 2D world

  • of monitors and pixels,

  • and let us start remembering what it feels like

  • to live in our 3D world.

  • It's a phenomenal time to be human.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

  • Helen Walters: Thanks so much. I have some questions.

  • AK: OK.

  • HW: So there's been some talk in the press.

  • And I'll just ask you straight, then we have a straight answer.

  • There's been talk about the difference between the demos