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The history of the future
A look back on how we looked forward over the decades.
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A 30-year history of the future
19 minutes 29 seconds
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.
The greatest machine that never was
11 minutes 57 seconds
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.
What is retro-futurism?
12 minutes 39 seconds
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.
The world in 2200
3 minutes 36 seconds
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.
The visual magic of comics
16 minutes 48 seconds
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.
Back to the future (of 1994)
18 minutes 53 seconds
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.