Christian Long

Nicholas Negroponte: In 1984, Makes 5 Predictions

In TED Talks on May 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Reflection by ALEX D.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Nicholas Negroponte:  In 1984, Makes 5 Predictions

The year 1984 has come and gone.

New gadgets, gizmos, and whatnots have been invented, and outdated. In the past, predictions of the future were always less realistic than they should be. Approximately forty years ago, when man first landed on the moon, there were most likely predictions that in 50 fifty years, humans would actually live on the moon. That doesn’t seem plausible now, although people do live in space… Ray Bradbury and his books are another example. Many of his stories speak of aliens and space travel in the near future, but always in a dystopian sense. 1984 has passed, and Big Brother still isn’t controlling the masses. Why don’t people see the future with positivity?

Mr. Negroponte stood out because his predictions were so accurate; if it wasn’t for the poor (by today’s standards) quality of the video, I’d say his speech was recent. He immediately impressed me by predicting the iPhone and Kindle, two modern gadgets that even ten, let alone twenty years ago would have been shocking. And it’s even more of a stretch considering how “primitive” computers were at this time.

So what will the next 26 years bring us? Hover-cars? Teleportation? Sliced bread? Probably not. The fact of the matter is, because of today’s laws and regulations, an idea or gadget will take years to be available to the public. My class discussed possibilities as to why many of the thoughts or developments shown at TED aren’t widespread yet, and we learned that it’s all because of laws and money. It most likely took Apple millions of dollars to develop the iPhone, and much more to perfect it. We discussed why a device that could predict a heart attack wasn’t available to people, understanding that if it malfunctioned the creators would have a law suit on their hands.

I’m not much of a techie. I honestly can’t relate to much of the topics Negroponte discussed. Sure, I use CDs. I have an iPhone. But I just live in the moment. These gadgets are just materials in the world around us, and we use new technologies as they are introduced to us. Do we need an iPad? No, but just the concept of it, compared to the little iPhone is intriguing. Being able to view materials in a bigger interface, in relation to a few inches, allows the user to connect with the device. It’s easier to use, more interactive… but it’s basically the same thing, only improved. Thats my prediction with the near future. We will not develop any new gizmo, but we can expand and work with current devices until we stumble upon something truly remarkable.

If you are interested in Mr. Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child Project, check out this blog by Alex S.

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