A Vision of New Age with Alan Kay (1988)

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well when I said the title as a little
bit concerned because in Kevin's massage
and channeling I was willing to say
something about massage therapy but I've never tried channeling I asked me what
do you do fellow I've never known quite the
cartoon a couple of weeks they had a
bunch of people vaguely dressed as
standing around and one was another this
is Alan mr. pure be it's a reality and
transcendent truth in order to make a buck probably the second bit world when
they just funds you well you know in a
short talk like this try and broad-brush
to my future and why ocean of G's of
representing things sending message all
there and why grand collision in the
midst of right now the way with the
medium is going to be at least as important as the way the medium
communicates with us and by that I mean that what's one of the things that is
happening the media is fairly passive
stuff and very soon for a lot of us now it's
already a very strong what we call the
media are going to stop that is going to
interact with us directly McLuhan who is
sort of the great early warning system for all of this stuff said that man is
the animal that learned to shape tools and then the tools shaped man and we're
very aware of the first part of ourselves as being tool shapers but
we're very unaware of how the tools come back and shape us now when we're looking
ahead into the future it's fairly easy to predict uninteresting things these
are the kinds of things that most marketing people predict there's all the
things that actually aren't going to be very important because they're
extracting from the present past the
most important thing about the future I think for most people are what are those things that aren't easily predictable
that are going to affect us very deeply for instance 10 years ago most people in
your industry did not think heavily about using computers because where they
were and where you were we're very far apart now computers are not being just
being used as word processors but people are doing their advertising on them most
of the special effects are being done using computers what's next well I think
part of it part of this grand collision is going to include an enormous
communications net that is just starting to be set up now very hard to see in the
United States but much easier to see if you go to Europe or Japan that
communications net is going to take us from a situation where we use computers
from the outside to a situation where in effect we will be living inside of one
vast computer and that sounds awful
but in fact we already live inside of a number of grids one of which you have
created we live inside a power grid now that we wouldn't know what to do with if
it were taken away we live inside of communications grid created by you
people and soon we're going to be living inside of an information and knowledge
grid such that wherever we go we're always going to be in contact with power
to make things happen communication to get people to do things
and ways of processing the information that comes around now if we take a look
at the normal ways of predicting the future we come up with some very funny
predictions one of my favorite ones is
can imagine somebody in 1903 saying you
know electric motors are a wonderful thing every home should have one that conjures
up visions to me of a vast electric motor up in the attic of a house with belts running down from it all over the
house to drive the different appliances because electric motors back then we're
big and if you wanted to share one you had to do it mechanically whereas today the electric motors in a
house probably number somewhere between 50 and 100 and none of them are visible
so a better prediction for where computers are going to go came from my
friend Gordon Bell who was the main designer for Digital Equipment Corporation for many years he said in 15
years computers are just going to be bumps and cables we won't see them well
they'll be part of this fabric that we're going to be living in another
interesting example is a survey the railroads did almost 75 years ago to
predict the future and they decided that in the future of the past 1950s 1980s or
so that there are three things that were abundantly clear one was that there
would be railroads still by that time that the railroads would run a lot
faster than they did back in 1918
and that rail transportation would always be less expensive than any other
transfer form of transportation including airplanes and in fact all
three of those predictions came true there are railroads around today they
run faster than they used to and railroad transportation is still less
expensive than airplane transportation the only thing they didn't think to ask
was whether they were still going to be in business by 1988 and the answer is
they almost aren't because in fact cost was not the driving thing that put the
the airplane ahead and the railroads
behind but value was and we're going to explore that a little bit now we are
just in the computer business have
witnessed a transition from sort of the first age of computing into the second
age of computing and I'm going to talk to you a little bit about the Third Age of computing which is going to come
about sort of around 1995 but just to
give you a feeling the first age of computing the computers existed in big
what we used to call the glass houses these are big rooms with glass walls and
people walking around in white coats and lots of air conditioning so that the
millions of instructions per second that you wanted to use from a computer were
existed centrally and the big revolution that just happened put all of those
millions of instructions per deck per second on a single person's desk and
seven years from now the millions of instructions for person will be in
people's pockets or here in California woven into our t-shirts
that change is going to be just as profound as the one we're just going
through in the 60s and 70s the user was told what to do by the people who owned
the computer when they could submit their jobs when they could pick them up in the revolution that we're just in now
the user does it when they want to huge change in the 90s the user is going to
delegate much of what they want to do to computer processes that will carry it
out for him in the 60s and 70s we were
unconnected the computers were big standalone things here in the 80s we're
getting connected up and the big issue in the 90s is going to be transparency
because you don't want to be able to see the connections you shouldn't have to
feel the telephone system now we we saw
that same thing happened with the telephone system as we went from the 50s to the 60s and to the 70s when we went
from two automatic dialing and especially automatic long-distance and
overseas calls where now we may have to dial a few more digits but we don't feel
that there's any network there whatsoever we don't have to go through
people most of the time we don't have to worry about how far the the distance is
the way we interacted with computers in the 60s and 70s was remember and type
remember in type big thick manuals with all of the different commands in them
the revolution now is see end point
Macintosh is sort of the most famous example of that and it's being well
imitated at this point in fact the joke in Silicon Valley right now is that the
the letters IBM stand for I'm building a Macintosh
[Applause] and from seeing point that we're
enjoying right now the metaphor in the 90s will be asked and tell so we will be
we will be shifting our way of dealing
with the machine we had mechanical printing in the 60s
and 70s in the 1980s we have laser printing high-resolution laser printing
in the 90s the late 90s will have no printing printing is one of the things
that is destined to go away and it will go away as soon as everybody has their
own little machine that is so portable
they can carry other things too in other words 0.5 herniation per block is not
portability but as soon as we have that
thing that can keep the information and knowledge alive structured and
manipulable it will immediately become more valuable than paper because paper
after wall is just a way of embalming knowledge in a way that so you can't do
anything but look at it afterwards it's interesting it's a full circle because
Socrates complained in one of the Platonic dialogues was he had a
complaint about writing that we often voice against television he said writing
forces you to follow an argument rather than participate in it so he thought
writing was incredibly alienating technology and in fact we're just about
ready to swing back into a form of
communication in which we can participate directly as well as simply
having to follow the points of others professional professional programmers
did all of the programming in the 60s and 70s in the era when now lots of the
programming is done by experienced users and the majority of the programming in
the 90s will be done end users that's gonna be an enormous
change and finally the point of this whole conference I think is that the
stuff we fooled around with in computers in the 60s and 70s were texts and
numbers now we're doing graphical icons
graphics and icons and in the 90s it's going to be all media the reason for
this is that all of the media that we've ever invented on earth that can be simulated to a very high degree of
precision on the computer and so for most practical purposes and particularly
for purposes that don't require great art most of that media is going to be
replaced sometimes to the detriment of our ability to appreciable is to think
about the three ways people choose to invent things
the first two are kind of mundane the first one is the brainstorming approach
which is essentially getting everything you know in a single room squishing it
together painting it and trying to sell it and you can invent things that way
lots of stuff in the broadcast industry
I understand is invented that way my favorite example is if you take all of
the obnoxious things in a 12 year olds room and concatenate them together you
wind up with a boombox ghettoblaster which you can sell lots of so you can
come up with products that way better way is the way they tell you in the MBA
books which is fine to need and fill it go out and see what people want and do
something that's kind of a goal-oriented approach and the problem with that is
when you go out and ask people they usually want something that's 10% faster 10% more features and 10% cheaper than
what they already have it's very very difficult this is one of the reasons why
the Japanese are beating our brains in because they don't do market surveys what they do instead is test marketing
of products that they've thought of them sells then they want to see how people
like them after they see them which is a much much better way of doing it because
it leads us to the third way of inventing thing things and that is come
up with something that creates a need only it can fill all the big hitters in
the twentieth century have been of that kind the Xerox machine the telephone
itself I have the minutes of an 1895
Western Union Telegraph Board meeting there's a fact there's a book of such
famous you know that the book called famous last words that my favorite one
from there is the the English explorer in Africa saying nonsense they couldn't
hit an elephant at this dis
and that's what's happened to a lot of corporations in this century Western
unions quote that was particularly memorable about when they were thinking about investing in the telephone was no
sane person would conduct business through such a contrivance the reason
they believe that is that the telegraph in 1895 produced a written record of the
transaction and they thought that was just the most fantastic way of doing business and they forgot that it was
inconvenient and the telephone just blew them out of the water by going back to
something more primitive and even in some sense less businesslike but much
more convenient much more natural to use now when I think about predicting the
future I have four rules of thumb that I
use when I think about it and the first one is very simple and direct and it
came about during the early days of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center which
was in Palo Alto was as far away from the corporate headquarters in
Connecticut as you could possibly be and still be on the continental US and for
some reason we had lots of executives who would come out and visit us in January in February we can never figure
in that out but when we could get these guys off the courts they would come into
the lab and look to see what we were
doing and pester us about the future they would say what's going to happen to
us what's the future going to do how can we defend about it and I finally got so
pissed off that I said to one of these guys look the best way to predict the
future is to invent it let's not worry about what the other guys are going to
do let's come up with a vision this is the century within which if you have a
vision the technologies are there to realize it if you don't break too many
of Newton's laws in the in the process and that took them aback is the idea of
being proactive about the future was something that never had occurred to
them they were caretakers thinking about defending against all these other people
that were going to be doing interesting things in the in the future so the best
way to predict it is to invent it the second way
to think about the futures to realize that it takes at least 10 years to get
something out of a research lab into commercial life and often it takes as
long as 20 so almost every technology that's going to affect you in the next
five to seven years is in somebody's laboratory right now and simply paying
attention to what people at Bell Labs and MIT and Carnegie Mellon and Stanford
and so forth are doing will give you a tremendous leap forward on thinking
about what's going to happen you have to sort of decide which ones are probably
going to make it and which ones aren't but it still gives you the panorama of
what's going to happen that's not the same as extrapolating from the present because those technologies aren't in the
present but it it's a way of selectively
extrapolating from by going to the places where the technology is sourced
third way is to ask whether something
that couldn't possibly be a factor in the future could be one if you simply
change the context and a couple of good
lines there McLuhan said I don't know
who discovered water but it wasn't a fish so and what he meant by that is if
you're embedded in a context or a particular way of thinking for all your life you're not even aware of it you
don't know that you have blinders on and simply finding a way of rotating the
context or getting into some other context can make an enormous difference
so for instance when a few years ago some of us predicted that desktop
publishing was going to be the next multi-billion dollar business
we got an enormous amount of flack from
the media because they said look at the way electronic publishing is being done
now as hundreds of people hunched over vt100 terminals with thick manuals and
only being able to get proofs every 30 minutes from this is ridiculous no
conceivable extrapolation that would
allow this technology to go on people's desks and the answer is yes that's right
no conceivable extrapolation but in fact a whole change of context
like going instead of doing things by remote control going to a user interface
that shows you what's going to happen as you make each change and throwing in
another few tricks let the Japanese invent cheap laser printing and all of a
sudden desktop publishing this last year in 87 was about a four and a half
billion dollar business in the US alone and that went from zero just a few years
before there was there are no revenues from desktop publishing in 1985 so what
I'm saying is that these changes happen explosively when something important
changes and you can go right back to something that looks completely intractable and just by changing the
point of view you can make it different just as what happened when we went from
Roman numerals to Arabic notation you
had to be a genius in 60 BC Rome to multiply two numbers together because
only geniuses could remember all the partial products that Roman numerals
generated now any of us today although according to USA Today only half of us
today can actually multiply that's still better than the Romans
you see that question and there's unbelievable apparently 51.5% of American teenagers
could not tell that 87% of 10 was less
than 10
that is pretty unbelievable but still changing our representations can help
and the motto there is point of view is worth ad IQ points you can simply find
the point of view in which week thinking can produce powerful results you're in
great shape and then finally I think the big driver for this idea of create
something that creates a need only it can fill comes from out of a story that
was current around Xerox when I first went there in the early 70s and this is
the story told in John destler's book des hour was a hey Lloyd vice-president
back in the days before it became Xerox and his book was called my years with
Xerox the billions nobody wanted and it's a great book to read about how
people almost successfully fight the future every time it's presented to them
reminds me of McLuhan's great line says innovation for the holders of
conventional wisdom is not novelty but annihilation and the story he tells is a
perfect example of that the 1956 they had come up with the first practical
plain paper copier which was called the 914 many of us in the room are old
enough to remember that machine and they didn't have enough money at Haloid to
develop factories and to market the machine so they took it down the road
from Rochester to IBM and set the IBM
here take this machine build factories go out and sell it we just wanted a
modest royalty and IBM did what it most
large companies do when they don't know what to do which is to go out and hire
some consultants and my friend Mike Hammer is a professor
at MIT has a great definition of consultants he says consultant is a
person who knows a hundred ways to make love but doesn't have a girlfriend my
favorite definition eye consultant jokes ism so what's the difference between a
Boy Scout Troop and the consulting firm the Boy Scout Troop has adult leadership
[Laughter] my favorite one is the consultant steals
from the smart and sells to the stupid
but anyway the consulting firm that IBM was using back then I think this is
their last venture with IBM was Arthur D little in Cambridge Mass and Arthur T
little did a bang-up study that lasted more than a year that came up with six
inches thick of paper conclusively proving there was no market for plain
paper copying and the proof rested on
two main bases the first was that there was no copy volume people weren't
copying right so that extrapolation didn't get
you anywhere it's people since people weren't copying and the other one was is that plain
paper copying it was about ten times as expensive as the a B dick mimeograph
process and so that the our thirty
little people concluded there was a cost problem and IBM after all of this
foot-dragging finally turned down the hey Lloyd people and this got them so
angry that they went out and raised the money for their first factory using
their life insurance for security and that was about a hundred and ninety billion dollars ago that all that
happened now that's a perfect example of
a number of things one of them is that IBM simply couldn't understand that this
thing was an amplifier for one of the most important human traits which is
communications we are communications junkies we don't know how to be Hermits
every time somebody has come along with the communications amplifier and the
airplane is one of them people have gone after it even though it has hosted more
on almost every case than what has been driven out by it so an amplifier for a
deep human trait is one of the ways of making something that creates a need
only it can fill and there have been many many of them in this century
personal computer was one of them people predicted against it the HP pocket
calculator was another favorite one that
HP marketing people said nobody will do it because of course nobody is
calculating and so forth and fortunately Bill Hewlett the Hewlett and Hewlett
Packard wanted one really so badly he could taste it in fact he gave the
Hewlett Packard engineers one of his shirts because he wanted that calculator
to be able to fit in that shirt pocket and I know some of the people who built
that calculator and there are stories of midnight tailoring sessions [Laughter]
and they definitely gave him a calculator that would fit in his shirt
pocket so this idea of making something
that amplifies a basic human trait is tremendously important your entire
industry is based on it that's what I call fantasy amplifier now I have to
tell people that fantasy is the California word for simulation because
fantasy extends beyond just the idea of
putting ourselves in human situations
that are safe and interesting and very
intriguing it also has to do with all the other things that we use santé
fantasy for science is all about fantasy because it's a way of creating models
and dealing with those models as though we're dealing with the real world we're
just being as fantastic as anybody else and when we think about human traits we
have to think about the way people have tried to extend themselves over the
centuries I think there are two main ways the first way is what I call the
amplifying tools way amplifying tool
being like a lever or a wheel or it could be non-physical it could be like
language or mathematics or a new number system all of these things are
manipulative they all have the ability
to manipulate something better a math sounds very abstract but in fact what
math is as a way of making the abstract concrete so it can be manipulated so the
M word for this first kind of human extension is manipulation then there's
another way that we have extended
ourselves over the centuries and that is what Lewis Mumford calls Gould cloning
Gould cloning or the sometimes calls at the mega machine the mega machine is a
machine in which all of its constituent parts are made up of people so every
time we form a society or a group or a business or a company or a country
we're making a mega machine it's an entity that has fewer goals than it has
participants or if it doesn't it doesn't last for long so one of the things that
we found is a way of extending ourselves is ways of convincing other people to
take on our goal structure so we can have hundreds and thousands millions all
devoted to a single end and the M word
for this kind of extension is called management and I want to explore both of
those and to give you a an example of
those I'd like to do two things if we can have the lights up for for just a
minute sort of two interesting
experiments to do these have to do with
understanding something about the human mind of how different the human mind
actually is from our common sense
versions of it so the first thing I what I'd like everybody to do is without
poking the person in front of you is if you can hold up your arm like this with
your thumb up and then put your other thumb about half as close to halfway in
between as you can and just compare the sizes of those two thumbs okay yeah one
smaller now when you when you look at it
question is how much smaller most people will say that the further one away is
about 80% the size or so right now on
your retina the image of that far away
thumb is exactly 1/2 the size of the one
that is close to you so when you hold it up like that it should look like a
pencil I'll try it with a couple of quarters also but doesn't look like a
pencil and with the court when you do with the quarters the further away quarter doesn't look like a dime and the
reason is that what you're perceiving when you look with your eyes is not what
your eyes see at all but in fact what you're perceiving is a dining
a McCree construction a constrained
hallucination of the input that you're
taking in from the world most people think that seeing is believing but in
fact it's believing is seeing what you believe is what you see and
different people on earth believe different things and then they see different things okay we take the lights
down so that's the first big idea about
human mentalities is that we're one step
removed from the objective world because we live in a construction this is one of
the reasons we love movies and so forth
because they're just a simpler extension of the fantasies that we already live in
now the other example I'm going to show you
if we can go to the first slide and look
at this slide and see if you can see what's wrong with this slide who sees
mouth is upside down and what else the eyes are upside down okay so let me give
you an English sentence that tells you exactly what has been done to this slide
what we've done is we've taken a picture of a young girl extracted her eyes and
mouth turned them upside down put them back in with an airbrush and then turned
the entire picture upside down so that's the way you would have this information explained to you in school by an English
sentence but now let's take a look and see what it looks like writes it up you
should be completely prepared for it so let's go to the next one
now I'm gonna I'm gonna let's go to the next one have to do the X I've
discovered nobody will listen to me when it's on the other way
now this is the best way I know of illustrating to a large audience how
different the different channels of information that that we take in and the
different parts of the brain that the information goes to actually are that in
fact not only is believing seeing but the we now can see that there are
different reactions first to an English sentence and then to a picture of
exactly the same thing and now we want to try and explain what's actually
fooling the visual system here the answer is known on this particular
effect physiologically that on the under right hand side of the brain where we do
face recognition there are two pieces of brain tissue about an inch apart and one
of them is an expert at face like things it's a thing that allows you to see
faces and Twilight in clouds that scares children with menacing shadows and so
forth and here it's reporting an upside-down face like thing about an
inch away is another piece of brain tissue that is an expert only on eyes
and mouth and what it's reporting is
that's a good-looking mouth and those are okay eyes and there's no real
dissonance between those two reports those pieces of brain tissue are two
little separate mentalities going about their business and simply reporting up
to a higher level and there's no conflict between them when we go to the
next thing though what's what's
happening is that the face recognizer is saying that's a right-side up face like
thing and the eyes and mouth guy is saying something is terribly wrong here
you can imagine why nature might have
wanted you to be startled by seeing a face like this up close because it might mean you're going to die in the next 10
in fact this is not a learned response this is built into every mammal by our
genes so if you try this experiment out on a dog I suggest you pick a small one
okay so that's the second big idea about
human mentalities is that the mentalities aren't unitary so two big
ideas are that we basically live in a fantasy world a fantasy world so tenuous
that eight hours in an isolation tank will cause us to start hallucinating we
use that word as though it's something we aren't doing all the time in fact what we're doing in reality is
hallucinating but we have unless we're completely paranoid schizophrenic
we have evidence from the outside to try
and straighten up our hallucination as much as possible as we go through the
day deprive us of reality for eight hours and the brain goes off in its own
because the brain can't know from birth what the world is actually like there
isn't enough information in human DNA then the second idea is because it's
very complicated the mentalities actually broken up into something much
more like a patchwork quilt and there are mechanisms that very cleverly jump
us from one patch to another without seeing the seams most of the time until
I show a demonstration like this that actually exposes the seams and there are
many others so with those two ideas in a
way of thinking about human mentality is possible to design some very powerful
ways of communicating with computers we take all of the ideas that I mentioned
up to now let's take a look at two way
these two ways of extending the first of doing a manipulative tool and let's take
a look at the first videotape so this is
a 22-month year-old young girl two months shy of
her second birthday her mother is my accountant and both of her mother and
father work at home
each of her parents has a Macintosh so she has never lived in a world that
wasn't densely populated by Macintosh's when I found she was interested in
computers I gave her an Apple to which she
she wanted a Mac just like her folks remember technology is all that stuff
that wasn't around when you were born when we grew up we didn't think pencils
and watches and so forth were technology she doesn't think the Mac is technology
she thinks it's just material and in
fact we discovered that she vastly prefers personal computers with installed hard disks
so given all that it's not too surprising that because she's in a very
muscular manipulative stage of life it's not too surprising that she can hit
visible come in menu commands here in macpaint so when I saw this I was
intrigued by it but I wasn't till too amazed till I saw what happened next she
wants a clean sheet of paper so she goes to the clothes box on the window saves
her old drawing with a pop-up and goes
to the pulldown to get a new one and she's off and rolling again okay that's
enough of that and that user interface that we designed
at Xerox PARC was designed for children but not this not this young and we since
have taken many hours of video tape of her using the Mac and discovered she's
about 70% literate in the entire Macintosh user interface that means she
can start up any application including a complicated one like page maker make
some marks print out stuff save her work
get multiple windows and all of those things about 70% of the standard
repertoire on any any Mac application so
here's an example of point of view is worth ad IQ points by simply coming up
with a user interface that is much more directed directly connected to the human
psyche not only she but people of all
ages all of a sudden find themselves acting like computer experts where they
didn't think they could do it at all before simple change of representation
does that now let's look at the other side the management side and think about
what that might mean what does goal cloning mean in the context of a computer well it means
something like having an entity maybe
not totally intelligent I mean the simplest agent a person could have at
home I a puppy that's trained to go get the newspaper every morning and nine times
out of ten is able to do it and you feel good about it and because because you
don't expect the puppy to do relativistic physics you're quite happy
with the puppy just getting the newspaper so this idea of agents of
having computer processes that can help you in a number of ways especially when
there is an enormous number of information such as we have now in the
Library of Congress and such as we will have with the networking of the all of
the media over the next few years we're going to start to need agents so this
next tape I'm going to show is set
starts in 1988 with a hyper card information system that we did for ABC
TV for the Winter Olympics and they use this for all of their facts and
information in Calgary and then what we
do is we take a jump from 1988 to the 1992 Winter Olympics and see what this
fusion of media new user interface techniques and so forth might might
bring for it so this is a four year ahead look in the future we did it for
John Sculley the CEO of Apple and he's the one who narrates it so let's run that number two
actually we created this hyper card stack as a guide to the 1988 Winter
Olympics ABC television used to let their guests call up information about
the various events it begins with this animation here running in real-time on a
Macintosh - as soon as someone clicks the mouse it dissolves to a map of
Calgary if you click on any Olympic site
you see a list of the events scheduled for that site you can get more
information about any event by clicking on the name let's say Ski Jumping you
can get background information about that sport you can branch back to the
list of events or the main map and then
continue exploring here at the University of Calgary I see
the figure skating events are running now that's a sport my family's
interested in so I'd like to learn more about it the previous Winter Olympics
took place at Sarajevo in 1984 when Macintosh was barely a month old
imagine what Macintosh together with hypercard will allow us to
do in another four years by the time of the next Olympics
we will require powerful techniques to help us find and manipulate volumes of
images text music video and applications
we might by that time see the beginnings of intelligent agents or perhaps by then
there'll be only semi-intelligent Phil
today is March 3rd 1992 you have several
data service articles ready and you have men this is my agent I call him Phil
Phil open the 1992 Olympic stacked
the 1992 Winter Games are being held in ALP RV France let's get a closer look at
the town let's look at ski jumping again
we can play the video [Music]
we could learn more about the sport or go back to the map let's look at figure
skating I'd like to see who's on the USA
team and I'd like to see Debbie Thomas
I'm looking for a spin like that
let's go back alan kay was explaining
why skaters go faster as they tuck their arms in he showed me a simulation to illustrate
the underlying principles let me call that up Phil add the physics draw
toolbox which tool box physics draw
let's see I'll need a counter we can
make the window translucent let's step
through the spin and count the frames
okay that's one complete rotation now
I'll draw a model representing a skater with her arms extended select the center
axis and rotate to rotate this speed
and here's an overhead view of the figure let's hold onto that earlier
Allen and I created a similar model where the skater has tucked her arms in
and appears to be spinning faster Phil displayed skater a model one let's
compare these two models
a small one the one with the shorter radius seems to run faster but let's
check that I'll set them both to run for three tenths of a second the small one
turns farther around the circle but let's see how much distance is actually
covered I'll straighten out the curb paths to measure them both paths are the
same length even though spin increases the distance
traveled is the same the luge event is about to begin
show it live or record it no I'm not interested in luge I don't understand
I like skating I don't understand don't
show luge don't record it I understand
I'd like to say this simulation Phil start a link Phil show the stack map
too far okay show recent link to this
background now anytime I'm on a skating
card I can link to my physics simulation by the time the Winter Olympics come to
a BIR V in 1992 CD media will be well
established each of us will be able to choose our own path through Worlds of
entertainment and information the tools like those that we've been seen will
allow us to integrate the full range of sound video and text information this
demo ends here John should I show the
pre-recorded speech or will you give it live [Music]
so the basic idea here is that the computer isn't a box it's actually a
little world they were just starting to learn how to enter the user interfaces
that we've done so far are a lot like experiments and radioactive chemistry
it's like there's three feet of lead between you and the good stuff we've got
a few little tongs and a few little television camera ways of seeing all
that all that stuff that's in there and we still worry about something awful
happening if we make a mistake but we think of the computer as a world then we
eventually start thinking about gee what would it be like to get into that world
instead of just probing at the world we want to get into it because of our
natural tendency to explore so here's a
here's one way that people are starting to do that now and I want to go to the
tape marked five skip the next couple go to the tape mark five and here's a
system being developed by one of my former colleagues who wasn't he was now
at NASA in which you can actually get inside the computer to a considerable
extent so roll that tape marked five so
he's wearing a helmet on his head and
the computer knows where he's looking
and he has a glove on his hand and you
can and you can see his glove in the
computer graphics display so what we're seeing there is what he's seeing
simultaneously was seeing him physically and he can interact with the things that
are in there as he puts his finger inside the underneath the box they're
sure to get a lift on the synthesizer that's the way
I walk over to the escalator
and stand on it as I would a real escalator
and it takes me up to the second floor [Music]
and then walk over to down escalator that takes me back to him
[Music] and using a special glove and speech
input and a person can interact with a synthesized environment
the system also recognizes gestures in this case if I have ten fingers it's
recognized as a gesture to fly through the database flying out the doors
so how do you interact well you can interact by calling up menus that just
float in space a gesture brings up the
menu and then you can just point to the item that you want so the display here
is a virtual display the display is as large as your field of view as you can
swing your head around here they're
doing sort of spacestation kinds of things one of the things you can do with
this is to superimpose the help assist
help manual for the help manual for
electronic components you open the drawer it knows you're looking into the drawer and it can superimpose right over
the surface of the thing what you're supposed to do with it so put you into
one-to-one correspondence with the world
so let's let's stop that one now of
course the the graphics they are kind of crude this is a system that's just
starting to work and what we want to do is to go to a world that doesn't look
like green wireframe graphics we want a
world that is created dynamically in 3d
and most of you are familiar with the use of 3d graphics to do special effects
for television and occasionally movies but the problem with those graphics is
it takes sometimes hours to compute each frame so it's it doesn't have the
immediacy it's a little bit like playing a flute concerto and coming back two
hours later to hear what you sounded like doesn't have the same feeling but
there are a class of 3d graphics engines
that do everything in real time and these are the flight simulators I
actually worked on the very first 3d graphics project where 3d graphics was
invented and the guy who is the head of the department Dave Evans formed the
company called Evans & Sutherland they make the best flight simulators the world let's take a
look at one of those looks like so if we go to the the next tape mark six here's
a real pilot is flying this plane and
the job of this thing is wherever you go at Mach 2 or Mach 3 wherever you steer
the plane it instantly has to create the world that you would see if you're going that way so the database here is
hundreds and even thousands of miles and extent and the scene detail can be
rather large if you notice the individual leaves on the trees this is
just one part of a database that is hundreds and hundreds of miles in extent
you see some Harrier Jump Jets coming in these jump Jets are actually being flown
by real pilots and we're looking into this simulated world from a point of
view about a hundred feet above the ground the pilots are looking out their
windows at their own points of view simultaneously
now we take a look at the same very same thing going on simultaneously from about
ten feet above the ground [Music]
you see the shadow being computed there's actually a real son
this would be actually easy if God hadn't put so many photons into the
universe so this takes okay so let's stop that
and buy here's the is the final point of
view okay so let's quit that tape
and the computing power of about eight
Cray supercomputers is used to do this and this would be very uninteresting and
interesting to show you this except that in the next five to seven years this
kind of graphics dynamic graphics is going to come to the desktop and it's
going to be a big surprise to everybody because it's been so long away because
of these immense computational problems but the the change in packaging that's
coming about the the cliche of being able to double the number of transistors
on a chip every year is finally catching up with problems like this and the an
enormous computing engine like this will be reduced down to the size of a couple
of cards in about five years and it will change the way we do computer graphics
everywhere including in broadcasting because it's going to be have the same
impact as desktop publishing no longer will you be going out to special effects
houses for most of your special effects you can actually manufacture them in
real time and even do things with them on the air now we use these in our
educational project that we're doing at Apple which is called the vivarium to
create a simulated world for simulated
animals around under their own power and under their own thought so these this is
a completely simulated world where we took the animal behavior patterns from
books written by ethologists made little animal mentalities put in the animal
bodies created a huge environment for them to go around in and we can take a
look at the the result of the kind of future you'll be able to deal in in the next five to seven years this next tape
there's actually some sound on this you might try the other channel
so this is a decorator crab and it has a
symbiotic relationship with some of several of the animals
you know it's in the simulation you can see the changing light patterns coming
from the surface above so this this is
not something that took hours to do this two minutes of tape I'm showing you took
exactly two minutes to compute in fact
it computes twice as many frames as no ordinary television does so this computes 60 full frame and the animals
here are not directly under our control they're sensing each other and reacting
appropriately but we didn't script them to do that what we did was we put in
general behavior patterns such as the animals have and we under around vast
aquarium like structure this is what is called self-motivated
animation which is going to be the next big thing in computer graphics which
amazingly has exactly this coloration I couldn't believe it when I first saw one
is it look so artificial fact steel
venomous spines from the cien enemies that they absorb without hurting
themselves to use on other animals
as they wander around the bottom now we get an idea as to the size of
this simulation here
to wind up the our future really lies
and being able to rotate our contexts so
that even when things look impossible now we very few possible the next few
years way of God and that the computer
but we're going to actually get inside of it's going to be in a respondents
with our cellular telephone is starting
to be that our power in using it is
going to be in our ability to simulate and connect the transcendent is you have
to do that is the one between our ears providing it's loaded thank you very
much [Applause]