playlist

The history of the future

A look back on how we looked forward over the decades.

  1. 19:43
    Nicholas Negroponte A 30-year history of the future

    MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte takes you on a journey through the last 30 years of tech. The consummate predictor highlights interfaces and innovations he foresaw in the 1970s and 1980s that were scoffed at then but are ubiquitous today. And he leaves you with one last (absurd? brilliant?) prediction for the coming 30 years.

  2. 12:14
    John Graham-Cumming The greatest machine that never was

    Computer science began in the '30s ... the 1830s. John Graham-Cumming tells the story of Charles Babbage's mechanical, steam-powered "analytical engine" and how Ada Lovelace, mathematician and daughter of Lord Byron, saw beyond its simple computational abilities to imagine the future of computers.

  3. 13:01
    Bruce McCall What is retro-futurism?

    Bruce McCall paints a retro-future that never happened — full of flying cars, polo-playing tanks and the RMS Tyrannic, "The Biggest Thing in All the World." At Serious Play '08, he narrates a brisk and funny slideshow of his faux-nostalgic art.

  4. 3:50
    Pete Alcorn The world in 2200

    In this short, optimistic talk from TED2009, Pete Alcorn shares a vision of the world of two centuries from now — when declining populations and growing opportunity prove Malthus was wrong.

  5. 17:08
    Scott McCloud The visual magic of comics

    In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.

  6. 19:10
    Danny Hillis Back to the future (of 1994)

    From deep in the TED archive, Danny Hillis outlines an intriguing theory of how and why technological change seems to be accelerating, by linking it to the very evolution of life itself. The presentation techniques he uses may look dated, but the ideas are as relevant as ever.