TED Conversations

Tim O'Reilly

CEO, O'Reilly Media

TEDCRED 100+

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William Gibson said "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." What futures have you seen that are here, but unrecognized?

In the late 70s, when the Homebrew Computer Club was meeting, its members were beginning to experience the world that we all now take for granted. In 1992, when I published the Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog, there were only 200 websites, but we featured the WWW in the book because it was so clearly the shape of things to come. When Jeff Han demoed his multi-touch screen at TED in February 2006, he prefigured the iPhone launch a year later. When the kids at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition are modifying bacteria, they are showing us homebrew genetic engineering around the corner. Make Magazine's enthusiasts are becoming tomorrow's industrialists, with companies like Makerbot, DIY Drones, and Willow Garage Robotics turning what once seemed like an curiosity into real businesses.

In each case, these people were already living in a future that was soon to rush upon us all.

What have you seen lately that has made you stand up and say "Whoa! That person knows something I don't, is living in a world I haven't seen yet?" The answers can be from technology, but can also be new social forms, and can be positive or negative.

Point me to companies and individuals who tell you something about the shape of the future by the way they are living or the work they are doing.

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    Feb 24 2011: The future is visual. I've seen a lot of graphic facilitation, and I believe its not just a niche trick for long talks:
    http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/videos/

    With more information, more complexity, and a scarcity of attention, visual communication is a must. Not only that, but the tools to communicate visually are only getting people. Its just a matter of time until this comment is a sketch instead. Until then its reserved for the people with whiteboards ;)

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