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. If you haven't yet, you should read (or re-read) his classic "Being Digital."
Discover the extraordinary in just about everything ordinary. Join best-selling author Steven Johnson for a 6-part series that explores the power and the legacy of great ideas. Hear the stories behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible, the unsung heroes who brought them about and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations triggered.
I am a big fan of Steven Johnson's writing. Pick one of his books and you'll be hooked. He has a fascinating way of translating technological stories to something everyone can understand and relate to. I'm looking forward to it. The series premieres in October on PBS and BBC and will have an accompanying book to go with it. Here is a taste of the first episode:
Anyone who has ever dined at the Beard House knows that the experience includes an opportunity to pass through the townhouse's historic kitchen and see our visiting chefs at work. Starting next Monday, anyone with a computer or a mobile device will get to peep the action, too.
On March 31, we're launching the JBF Kitchen Cam, a live, three-angle camera feed that captures the excitement and atmosphere of the 200+ dining events that take place at the Beard House over the course of a year. The official launch coincides with a special dinner by JBF Award–winning chef Daniel Boulud, featuring a menu inspired by his latest cookbook and memoir, Daniel: My French Cuisine.
If you enjoy food television you would have noticed how all the judges and special guest are usually James Beard Award winners. The James Beard Awards are the Oscars of the culinary world, and now with the kitchen cam you have an opportunity to see some of the world's best chefs cooking live without the usual reality tv show tropes, just brilliant cooking. This is very cool.
In the B.I. [before the internet] world, starting a business had a clear timeline: says Ito, you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the AI world, the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It’s pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence.”
During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab, the motto he proposed was: “Demo or die.” He said that the demo only had to work once. But Ito, who points out that he’s a “three-time college dropout,” wants to change the motto to: “Deploy or die.” He explains, “You have to get it into the real world to have it actually count.”
Ito takes us to Shenzhen, China, where young inventors are taking this idea to the next level. In the same way that “kids in Palo Alto make websites,” these kids make cell phones. They bring their designs to the markets, look at what’s selling and what others are doing, iterate and do it over again. “What we thought you could only do in software, kids in Shenzhen are doing in hardware,” he says.
Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general direction of where you need to be.
“I don’t like the word ‘futurist,’” he says. “I think we should be now-ists. Focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.”
Looking forward to seeing this talk when the video becomes available.