MIT Media Lab Founder Nicholas Negroponte: A 30 Year History of the Future

Nicolas Negroponte takes us through the past 30 years where he made predictions that were scoffed at that all happened. Back in the 60s computers were not yet for people, and the research and work that Negroponte was doing was not considered “the real thing”. He was using computer robotics to build models of architecture for habitat like structures.

This then was the beginning of sensory computing. Negroponte predicted that we would be using fingers in the future to interact with computers.

Critics published papers saying how stupid that idea was for three reasons

1) Low resolution.
2) Your hand would occlude the screen.
3) Your fingers would get the screen dirty.

He and his colleagues built a device that was touch and pressure sensitive that would transfer the sensory input to the computer – and it has never been picked up.

They were also working on voice commands and found that when you talked and you pointed you had multiple channels. In 1976 after Entebbe, he gained a Department of Defense contract to use visual photography to create a computer program that could replicate a physical area computationally.

They build a truck with video discs and did exactly what the Google Maps truck is doing today.

One of Negroponte’s PHd students who built a program called back seat driver, it was the beginnings of the GPS systems we all use today.

When they took it to MIT they said categorically do not patent this … there is too much liability, it will never be accepted … so they didn’t … and looked what happened.

His predictions are both amazing and profound in the accuracy of them.

Negroponte is the founder of Wired magazine and tells a story of a father who called the magazine irate because his son had unsubscribed from Sports Illustrated to subscribe to Wired. He wanted to know if they were some kind of porno magazine.

I am not going to do a spoiler and tell you his prediction for the next 30 years, watch this short but informative video to see the computer as it has progressed through our lives to the present and into the future.

Original Source: TED Talks Official YouTube Channel presented by Nicolas Negroponte