Camden Technology Conference (2000)

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I was always impressed with that I was
old enough to remember this what he
really wants me to talk about is he invented the Dynabook he invented small
talk the first object-oriented programming language he invented
overlapping windows I was still impressed with the quiz kids though I
discovered when I was at Apple I didn't actually hire Alan Steve Jobs hired Alan
and coming from the old economy I didn't
realize that nobody hires Alan as an
employee you sponsor Alan and in keeping
with the Medici idea of sponsorship
where Alan is sponsored to think to read and to dream and fortunately he does it
well enough that he actually gets paid for it so he did that at Atari he did it
at Apple I presume that's what you're doing at Disney but you can tell us more
about it but he has this ability to
think ahead of the rest of us and I always thought a great definition of
genius is to see the obvious about 20
years before the rest of us see it and Alan has this ability to see things that
eventually become obvious to the rest of us but they aren't particularly obvious
at the time that he observes it and one of his most famous quotes is that point
of view is worth ad IQ points that if you can shift your orientation and see
things from a different vantage point you can actually get a whole different
context and a different frame of reference and that's something that I
think unique athletes experience he is
going to give us a treat tonight and I'm
not going to say anything more about it because I think he wants to do some of
the other introductions that are involved with this but let me just now
introduce to you okay
well it's great when your former boss still likes you when in August when I
was thinking about this evening I was in
New Hampshire leaving a wonderful
concert that my friend Don Luis had done driving back to Boston and really
worrying about the front part of this
presentation because in my mind I was generating thousands and thousands of
words of context about pop culture and
civilization and I hated those thousands
because they weren't getting to what I
really wanted to talk about in the middle of the talk and while I was struggling with this some very clear and
simple musical ideas started drifting into my fevered brain in the car and I
started thinking to myself you know if I could just get Don Luis to come here and
start through the first part of this presentation tonight we could actually
cut through a lot of the verbiage and in
particular try and avoid putting useless categories on the most words that were
once wonderful words like civilization have been colonized just like personal
computer object-oriented programming
these words are meaningless now there is an object-oriented cobol for instance
you can I saw a wonderful Anderson consulting ad
in one of the airports that had a spray can that had a on it and as you've seen
that one but basic ideas whatever it is spray on it so civilization is one of
those words now it's been colonized to the point where it's useless and I think even pop culture is and I certainly
wanted to avoid having to discuss what I thought either those words were and but
trying to think in this non categorical way I also started thinking about where
are these ideas United whatever they
mean and I was thinking again well in the world of the child we have a huge
mixture of developed and undeveloped ideas a huge urge to be part of the
culture around them a need by most
adults to develop them beyond the
indigenous culture around them and so
all those things said I have to get done lewis here so I called up Don and we
started talking about it and he thought it was a great idea and we went up in
went to his house and spent a day thinking about this and Don is a
world-famous performing musician he
performs all over the world back playing a concert tomorrow plays concerts very
frequently but one of the things he does that is really neat is he puts out a lot
of time going around to schools and getting kids interested in music in a
very special way I was thinking if we could just get this audience to pretend
that they're children again and if we
could have Don come on and do the start of his concerts that he does for
children exactly the way he does them for children dressed exactly the way he
dresses for children and talking the way he
talks for the children that would be a wonderful way to start this session so
with that let's all be children and let me bring on my great good friend Don
Lewis [Applause] [Music]
good evening oh you can do better than
that goody all right that sounds what I
like it we're going to have a good time you ready for a good time tonight yeah I
know you are now some of your suspect of me right now because of these red shoes
yeah yeah I like these bitches um you
can get it arrested if I go out of this place with these red shoes on but yeah
you said probably more than likely but
the thing that I wear these red shoes it really is not really to match my
suspenders but it really is to pay
attention to the feet I have this weird kind of idea that everything that was
created was created out of dance and
rhythm and music and if we start to look
at the universe the way that it is the Sun comes up on time whether we like it
or not it's a rhythm in that and it
changes depending on where the earth is
positioned around the Sun it's tilt of
the axis and a light knows about on a good stuff right but that's music to me
not music that I hear but the same wave
propagation that basically resides in another area above where I can hear out
to where I can see that frequency range
so I can see the evidence of it and then
on the other end is that we've got these two senses now the eyes and the ears and
then there's the other end on the subject I basically up to the bottom and
then that other sense of feeling comes through
now you may not get as much feeling tonight is that what what really like
for you to have but just think that it is there when I hit the low notes and
you don't hear them they just sort of do this okay now up here I have you can't
see maybe well maybe later on you'll be able to see I have four keyboards three
of which I play with my hands and for the red shoes they play the keyboard
that resides down here on the floor the pedal keyboard which is normally what we
call the organ kind of a motif for
playing so I might be to going to be busy now the reason I picked the organ
to play is because the organ was I could
have played drums probably but I thought that the organ could make more noise
than the drums and then also a drummer
actually gets to dance a little bit with his feet but actually his feet stay
pretty much in the same place they might patent so forth like this but on this
pedal boy down here I can dance most
musicians can't do that unless they're playing guitar and they dancing around in state but I can sit and I can dance
and that's what I like to do now to test out once in a while I get some these new
keyboards and I always like to see whether the new keyboards can do the
traditional sounds as well as come up with some of the other sounds and so I
always like to test the instrument out to find out whether they can do the traditional sounds you know just to the
point because I may have to use those sounds for a real job
and so when doing so I always like to
test out my one of my favorite composers
is Beethoven anybody ever heard of a pelvis not the dog the composing reason
I like Beethoven is because Beethoven was a rebel
yeah and that's what most of these people in this room happen to be rebels
looking for some way to get it out so
what we're going to do reason he was a rebel I think because he changed the
symphonic form it was a form called symphonic and and and you know and it
had like four movements and stuff and and what happened is that Beethoven
decided that he wanted to have a chorus
sing with the orchestra and people
thought he was he lost it well by the
time he got to that part he did lose his hair but that was that was a whole
different thing but he didn't have to hear he really didn't have to hear
because he already understood the pulse
the time the beat and what I love about
Beethoven is that he had heart and no
matter what he composed he was able to
take his experiences and put those
experiences in a dynamic way just like this beautiful area of Maine where there
were hills and valleys and water and
leaves turning he knew how to do that
and so I want to see what Beethoven
would have done maybe 200 years ago and we'll start out with the fifth of
Beethoven we won't do the ninth that's the one that had the chorus in it
we didn't bring the course tonight at least on that number and then we're
going to do the fifth part of the sister of Beethoven so we are you ready to go
okay let's see if this will work
I have to pretend as though I'm the conductor - and I have to be also the
performers I'm going to be busy
this is going to see how they sober my
to reacted if he has this kind of technology [Music]
from here [Music]
so much [Music]
[Applause] [Music]
I'm not babe [Music]
that's what the kids face when I tell them that it really was real five
henchmen on an a-bomb news Sam stone
thank you
I guess you like they telling us
I told you he was wild oh man I don't
know if we could spin him he came back get out and stuff he would be putting
the real hurt on it sometimes I even
asked how thing thing well that wasn't
the organ baptized but up playing the organ and them it started basically from
an idea that I saw somebody he played
the organ that just completely blew me away I just love the sound and the day I
play and mounting an Missionary Baptist
Church in Dayton Ohio you've never heard it place
we've got got a blackout here from somewhere I can tell they always want to
be identified strange group somebody's
tell me that effect I was a worse listen it but that's okay somebody got it over
here okay really like I used to hear this young
man ulysses rivers play the organ at our
church we had a pipe organ and our church we had to do all kinds of music
we had to sing the hymns we had to sing
the anthems we did the Mozart we did this state so
when we did the Box we did all of that stuff and then we had to slap you in the
face with some gospel and folk says God
did I'll let me check yeah and we loved it but this young man would sit there
and play the organ and well after church
this is when things really starts and
I'm having dinner and right after service and service was ended somewhere
between 1:30 and 2:00 o'clock Sunday afternoon it started somewhere around
10:45 that morning he said how did you stay at church that long well as abuse
and so this and uh somebody was saying
ow you see sister Jackson and that hats
he had on this morning yeah honey I was
sitting right behind it three pills and I still couldn't see anything around
that hat I'm gonna find out what that hat lives
and then somebody would say all the
choirs saying so wellness more Disney Hall they were I just love me and then
sister just can't she sang that's so whore that girl can sing for me anybody can say three blind minds that make me
happy and then there was a silence and somebody would say but did you hear that
boy plate of organs and I used to sit
there sunday after sunday islands to build up nine to ten years old and I
would give this Panther going on back and forth and I said I don't want to him
[Music] and a quiz and the kids choir they could
sing pretty well but but they couldn't
match this the adult choir the youth part and I didn't want to preach like
Reverend because sometimes ever took too long
I said but maybe I can learn to play that organ
I remember being awakened for
half-awakened I guess and a dream and that dream was I was sitting behind that
pipe work and I was playing I don't know what it was I was playing but it is
making it different it just felt good to be there because when I saw Ulysses play
I would sit right behind the organ every
Sunday and watching
and when I saw him play I watched everything he did they pull the shoe off
some 40 players do CL so when I started
to learn to play I put my shoe off to it but my organ teacher told me put it back on for two reasons but I was going with
those right now
how many of you how many of you had a drink how many is head Ewing come on now
some of them turn out to be nightmares once in a while but that just had dream
well there was a song that came out at
the 19 1996 for the lifting it's about a
dream it talks about the power of a
dream and I think John was talking about
Alan as being a dreamer and a doer and
many of us are in that situation of
trying to make those dreams come true and then smek song I'm about to play it
was the most difficult song I had to learn to play and sing not because of
anything fancy but every line of this song seemed to have been something that
I had experienced in my own lifetime and you'll see that and hear that as we
start out of the dream
beep within each heart there lies a
magic spark the lights the fire of our
[Music] and since the bomb of the strength of
task has brought together back you go oh
[Music] there is something old a dairy in the
living of each day there's a special
part that every one of us the play bill
the same forever burn using classic we
is closer to the power of dream unites
enjoy a piece I would pray that always
it is the power [Music]
your mind will take you far less adjust
your heart you find your face
[Applause] [Music]
we had love [Music]
the world unite to join me and we pray
that always the powers of the trees
so much strengthen all of us every woman
child and man is the pharmacist again
that's the power of the gray
forever [Music]
Oh [Music]
we used to rely
you [Music]
thank you thank you
thank you
thank you
sometimes it is so hard to think about
the simplicity of what life is talking
about Paul thank you for bringing us that to that
sometimes I just want to sing one note
but it is wonderful that we have been given think Oh
music magical about it it is not as
predictable as the Sun coming up this is
the time that we actually have real-time control over wave propagation well sort
of you know and I think that is the
power that we have in music not just
from the hearing but the seeing and the feeling it's kind of hard going to this
next number but it is it I hope that
this technology thinking will be as
light as tall all over the world England
don't worry about the internet it's going to happen it's happening but we
had the internet way before internet
before Benjamin Franklin but it's kite
up there were cultures that were using
the drum as the Internet and we could
get a message across and that's the reason when the Africans came to this
country they were banned from using two
things that we look at as very vital in
our world one is to use your own language and secondly the other language
which could get information overload the
job there I don't know how to say it but
a miracle that has come out of that kind of strife and that type of situation for
all of us and I hope that to music that we will be able to heal ourselves as a
nation and then start to realize the
real fruits of our Labor's but it's only going to happen when we realize what has
been wrong and don't get too upset the
efforts what happens over here because
remember that Egypt happened to be one of the
places in Africa where the drill is in
the same place in there somewhere yeah so if you know that that's that
part of the Bible you know that story
like it was John but in the idea of this
there was the music that kept going the
fields that gave hope when there wasn't
any hope for tomorrow and I want you to
go with me if we can make bed now
there's this sound on a Dueling I think
I can do this now very simple words hold
on just a little
now if you get forget those words just repeat them
hold on just a little while long hold on
just a little while longer
why because everything gonna be all
right somebody's dinners a place
let's see what we can do with that the
tombs gonna go like this and I'm just gonna ask everybody singing in unison
just a little while long just a little
while long
[Music] just a little while longer
watch this cuz everything's gonna be
alright everything's gonna be on yeah
that sounds pretty killer yeah now what I want you to do right now is
think about something that might have happened in your life or somebody close
to you where they needed some hope got
it ha huh maybe a software glitch but
something even more fundamental than that let's talk about a glitch in your
life we'll watch it and then think about
this and when you get to that word hold
I want you right before you say hold I want you to take a gasp of air in so
when the hole comes out it's going to be like this let's go oh
just maybe in that wreck just
[Music] everything's gone beyond now when we get
to that everything I want you to build
it like you building a mountain out of the valley and I want you to think got
it yeah then I just want to hear the
lady sings come on ladies let's shine come on what
we'll be all right watch yourself girl
now I mess with it whoo I like are you ready brother
I won't hear that big crap now in the big room
just Stood Still holy just a little
while long live why everything gone oh
yeah let's try everybody now
Wow [Music]
do it again I just want you to sit there
and think about it I'm gonna run through some stuff cuz I feel like it right now
yeah Josh just hold me down just want to
do this let's go
don't pay no attention to what I'm doing up here here we go
just everything
[Applause] [Music]
it's gonna be
[Applause] [Music]
[Music] [Applause]
I trust that as put all categorical
so I don't have a lot to say here but I
thought I'd throw out a few ideas for the discussion as a musician and we're
all musicians that's why we like it I
think everyone has ever dabbled in music
to any degree realizes that it's really
not the spectrum between pop and
civilization or classical and jazz or any of those things that it's about
ideas and feelings I feel that there's
not a musician on earth that just wouldn't think that what they just heard
is one of the greatest things they've ever heard because it's the real deal
talk about authentic the real thing
I think to me about the access I think
of is between direct ideas and developed
ideas I think of what's sometimes called
of various kind being an incredible reservoir cornucopia of direct ideas it
doesn't matter that lots of them are not very good because that's the fate of all
ideas most ideas or mediocre down to
down to nothing but to have these ideas
they have to speak directiy I can say
that when I'm trying to play seventeenth in it organ is big Don playing this
stuff because that's the way it's got to come out
and what we rigged a little thing on you
here because when I was thinking about this thing I was thinking it would be
really grateful they have Don do his bait hoping singer he starts off in the classical mode then goes into what's
kind of kind of thought of as a pot mode then comes back out do some from the
heart things that we all can respond to directly then have the same starting
with a direct idea of hold on are the
great songs ever and then to develop it
a little bit with you what you're actually doing was singing something
like a bra a pray load because what he did was to take these beautiful simple
melodies that everybody knew and understood and to get people to pay much
more strongly by developing these ideas
so this developed idea exists I think is
an incredibly important one of course if you develop too much you get nothing
just sand and if you don't develop enough you get a lot of stuff that's of
no particular accord thanks peers
mansion I recently just recently saw a
wonderful version of the play love which
is about a young king and his male
friends who have to be now things and
study to obtain philosophical knowledge
for three years soon disturbed by the appearance in her
court all lovely young ladies which they promptly fall in love with
and on either side of this are some of Shakespeare's low character bumpkin type
characters and unusual for Shakespeare too he throws in a couple of academics
if you remember that person cannot
actually get a real sentence out of his mouth without defining every word and
thinking of 15 synonyms and to me the striking thing about that play is not
the extremes which we would all recognize but the fact what's normal
this is a verse play so what he thought was normal dialogue in this play is the
greatest stuff ever written and it's really interesting to think of what
Shakespeare thought of as medium medium discourse so here's here's another idea
that is in a different dimension which
is have to do with technique so when you
develop an idea you're usually it's not quite as spontaneous in one sense in
that you are developing it with technique the technique has been around
the artist has learned some of the technique every artist knows that the
technique can take over if you're not careful you want it to be the servant of
the art rather than the master of the art but you can I think you can always
judge a culture large and small by
whether the ethical system of the culture is matched up to the technique
that the culture has I think that's one
that we could think about our culture and other cultures as to how are we
doing on getting power through technique
at various kinds and what do we think is is reasonable for that power
I like I don't know the thought of the
idea someone of that ilk pointed out that every technique every
idea every tool has a front end and a back end as a handle and a blade if it's
a knife you can imagine somebody finding a knife and having never seen one before
and picking it up by the blade and cutting themselves we're always doing that with technology we haven't seen
before the fact immediately brings up a
question which is what is okay and even
more profound about til it's too late is
what have we become as because the every
time we come up we're also defending
ourselves as Brenda mentioned we're also
doing selves you have to become
something else in order to in order to use that
now pack again really helped me out this
is one of the wonderful things about this Casa this conference and going late
because a back of it is lines get said
before you get to them but on the other
ID as you can see Phil and I had an idea
for an ending for my talk and I couldn't
figure anything until Pat pointed out
her one of her great metaphors is that the web is the human brain and she said
a wonderful thing she said pop culture is the inventory of the cabinet in your
head I just love that image and the thing I immediately thought of yeah it's
a flea market you ever been to one of
these big flea markets like the Portobello market and in London just acres and acres of stuff every fact
which some stuff about to sync it up
design it fabricate it destroy and we
think most of it but somebody cared and sometimes in these big flea markets the
law of large numbers obtains and you're able to find that incredible stuff that
doesn't seem as interesting as you as you thought
now somebody once said and I think this
is less true now than it was but when the when the chatroom rage was happening
in the Internet somebody once said the Internet is an ocean of spit so it was
big it was shallow and it was mostly about excretion there's an
anthropologist parties of a name of
child who wrote a book with the title
humans make themselves I think we all have a sense that the large art that is
inventing ourselves we are that's it's
an invention of ours we aren't just the
genes that we're born with we have inventions about how we should live
those inventions on sometimes as though
we were born with them really important
question I think
Wow invention is hard this kind of
invention we call art and we're really
happy I think when an artist comes along and gives us a hint of how to be more
human I because it's the biggest
difficulty with the extreme democratizing of the internet is that it
gives everybody a voice but it might not give everybody a direction so I think
this was a very important thing it's I don't mind film and we could even you
know I hate these definitions we could even think about civilization is kind of about how we go about our art form we're
actually thinking of ourselves as one of our most important products where are we
just randomly tossing around as we use on a on a string is that an extreme
democratization of ideas can really help if you're tough about them
so science for example has a very interesting first-order theory of itself
it tries not to be dogmatic this is hard to explain to high schools the flip side
of the Kansas evolution going on now is
the interesting reaction of the science
that they couldn't teach evolution is fact and getting theory as a G one of
the worst things you can ever do to a child it's a very different kind of
thing and by group of people who have
grudgingly accepted I rather learn about
how the universe works than to find out ourselves while sharing our partial
knowledge with others even though they might get to some interesting thing before we do because we want to know and
because we can't pin down this knowledge in a stronger wave the important part of
science is that there are these other people out there to debug the theory no
human can be as tough on their ideas as
their friends are so you must have these colleagues and I
think this is one of the things can bring balance to this notion is extreme
democratization and voice which devote the voice in the extreme very very
important one but it's actually one of the worst things that we can ever take
upon ourselves unless we can find a way to criticize these voices now the
problem with social systems is the other reason that design to work a little bit
there's a universe out there that works
in that way even past our friends as
critics the universe is there to say no it doesn't would be a really stuff this
way it has a happy ending but it doesn't go this way goes this other way or maybe
it goes in some way that we can't think of yet and so one of the struggles that
has been going on where postmodern is
from is the struggle between the story
meaning to a lot as entirely on how apt
it was for the particular situations we found ourselves and the unpleasant
evidence that the universe might not actually care about what we think at all
and think that the the science started
bringing about in the 19th century to react to the first time the history that
we know up now the artist and this
parted company is one of the worst and this is terrible given that science is
an art so if a cargo cult in knowledge where
the effigies were made of things that were like what science was finding out
that really had very little to do with the sign once got asked to write a
brochure for Science Museum in San Jose
and they had decided to have 75
paintings about science they said so my
essay was it already is art science is
already off there's this wonderful two
people including Frank Zappa that you've
got music is like dance protector and
painting about science is right in that ballgame so a good way of appreciating
course science has this problem is it doesn't actually what you put in museums tends to be technology rather than
science science tends to be written down in in books last couple of ideas here is
that a thing that anthropologists and
people studying development going all
the way back to Maria Montessori great genius and observer of children and
thinking back to them the children in an
indigenous culture traditional culture don't seem to need to learn what the
cultures do they watch the adults and they make up games spontaneously that
are like the adult activities that they see and they play at those games that is
a way of learning what they think the adults are actually doing it works
pretty darn well works really well until you actually start inventing things and
a lot of these inventions are hard to learn all of a sudden they're not actually
open in the traditional marketplace of ideas people have made yeah that if you
take a child to France very early he's born and she was born in France then
this child will grow up to be French and an adult moving to France and living
there for some years will start becoming French this is because one paratus
is there is to learn the environment in
a fluent way that's around not some other one that is around you every
reason why you should be and this says
to me that when we start using technology to create things that are
like environments that are like total environments we are actually hooking in
to this skill people can't help doing
which is to start learning that environment and accommodating to that environment so television to me is a
particularly odious example of people will eat without any thought of it
something like a total fire that's it's
not I don't think a good idea to bash television unless you also look at books
Madame Bovary was about a woman who
created a total NamUs novels this was
what she learned about how her actions should come from so when you start
messing with the meta system you have to
be very very careful with the
transactions messing with a symbol system there or more importantly when we
start dealing with some deep drives that
humans have that I think don't think can turn to be turned aside so the thing
that worries me about the Internet is about this all the crap
same thing with television doesn't matter to me whether television is
trying to show good stuff or bad stuff the thing that worries me about television that f is as a Total
Environment it can't carry the full range of discourse that humans have
invented it makes a mockery of things like the political process and that to
me is something that we should pay an enormous amount of attention to and the
internet I think is about to be overrun in a big feeding frenzy fortunately
there it has an uncountable number of channels so it's not going to want to
put the content on the internet but it
is very likely that one of the things that we're going to rue the day 20 years
from now if we don't do something about it is to have done something about Total
Environment of this wonderful thing it
was invented so we want to weight one of
ways of thinking about this is that
if for instance boza AOL got larger me
don't have any sense of the internet beyond what AOL brings them many people
don't have any sense that the internet and the web are not the same thing the
web is a really badly facto standard on top Windows 98 is a really bad operating
system unsought type of something neat called the computer it's really
important to keep those distinctions I just I want to be as I said it same
thing with television it doesn't quite matter whether people are trying to do
good things or bad things that's what's interesting is how the total environment
makes this makes it very difficult to think about things that aren't in front
of this the other analogy which is much more dire one I think it's incredibly
important to take as an early warning which is the difference between the
response to aids in various parts of the world so when was found to be contagious
deadly and incurable the scientists
started beating on the government to do something about it because that no
matter what the time constant is and it's a long time constant you always get
and the good thing about the long time constant on ages it gives a chance to
actually do something about it and some things have been done but unfortunately
this right now more than 30 million
people are infected with AIDS just in sub-saharan Africa and most of these
people are going to die so this is three Holocaust of people we're going to be
used up if you will common sense didn't
look that bad didn't look that bad didn't look that bad didn't look that bad now it's looking bad and I believe
the only way to take action on these slow changes that are inexorable and eventually exponentially have to muster
the now to understand what the benefit
or the disaster is going to be of these technologies what else said civilization
it's between Eddie and you to discuss
and the question of answer and the answers who you think is in the lead
thank [Applause]
that's not fair to end on that note
even though that's the note I wanted to end on and so it just happens that of
the many there are many many wonderful
pieces of music that done
this development and I was like one more
time to do one of the most beautiful
renditions of a direct idea developed so
we can really grab on to it it's gone [Applause]
I'd like to take his time to to thank Alan for the invitation to come here
oh the let's see a em and then I was
back in Japan and uh all these
luminaries going to the park this
conference and to be here well that I
know have a great effect when I filled
wonderful but we are still happening
building and along with that freedom
that we have so forth that reality is
really in our hands we do with it this
next song that I am which is directly
genre you just sang to go
the Negro spiritual
and it's song that maybe who are old
older than you want to admit my and
because of recordings you can hear things that you were up to here
there was a lady by the name of Mahalia Jackson
who sang the song that I remember as a kid it was a song we said it's called a
city called heaven I heard a mystery and
I like to play that song for you and I want to couple it with selection and
we'll see what what this ends up to be they should be fine
[Music] [Laughter] [Music]
[Music] I am lost out in this flight
bye-bye [Music] ah
you [Music]
this world harmony
there are
whoa what a beautiful city University oh
yeah [Music]
thank you thank you thank you thank you so very
much thank you
free John thanks so much this next bar to be pretty interactive
I'm going to ask out on a few questions have a conversation with him and ask you
to ask questions and let's take advantage of kind of drawing them out on
a few things maybe we'll just see like
anyone have a question Alan yes
um I've also found in my experience that the further you get some civilization
the more civil people get and I was wondering seeing technology and the
computer we are a cool I a highly
civilized society what do you see is the possibility for people being able to use
the internet to become more civil and have a civil experience and we're
talking a lot about democratization and ethics and I was curious how you felt
about that number of discussion your
John's I was interested in the one about whether the technology is easy or hard I
was just thinking a question so yes
years ago my violin help me keep time
better such a such a hard thing why
didn't somebody make it user-friendly and so the the nice thing about the
violin is it doesn't have any gratuitous difficulties so I think about that also
you can sort of tell when you're in a good place if Tony was something to us
because you're on the threshold of actually changing how your mind works in
something then you might not learn anything if they don't already and so
the trick on violin is they have a start
up transient where you have to
be in a supportive I killed Renard for
other kinds of things it's rare to have a parent scold a child for falling down
when they're trying to walk and so the
so part of the deal I think is to scaffold the things that are really so
that the difficulties are chosen by the learner and figures in both so the
civility thing the one of the things I
almost did for this I'm glad I did
there's a movie which nobody's ever
heard of but maybe some people here have which is called walkabout so this is one
of these incredible this is just an incredible movie is one of these nothing
happens until Athens is shaft but it's
about working girl and her younger
brother cast adrift on the Australian desert about to perish when they trick you
teenage boy Aboriginal och about as I
say nothing happens but you badly start noticing that the teenage boy is
treating this desert like it's a need
what was where it is and can dig under the sand to get it and need some food he
does this and they're always amazing things that happen and but is that in
the in the end of the thing he wills himself to death
because the inappropriate use of hunting
animals by the white settlers it's very
difficult in it but it's incredibly thing and it's a party anyway to watch
this movie without asking well who civilized it came up with this balanced
idea that the this particular culture
the aborigine culture is perfectly in balance its ethics and its techniques were perfectly in balance and would be
very difficult to think of anything
demeaning to say about them they were
just there they had the whole thing going there are human beings they could do and all of these things and it was us
with our ability to shoot bullets whenever that we're just surfing the
back of the thing was because the hunters weren't hunting for food they're
hunting for fun that's what caused this young kids will himself to death so I
think that they say I think the ethical problem is really difficult because like
Sciences place where we can go any
longer if there ever was where we can prove what the ethic should be it's more
like math or like designing a constitution of the country where you
have to to agree on some premises and try and make a system that is our
creation about how we should live I don't think we do right yeah I think
it's a good thing that any child should learn Allen you're a busy fellow and
struck five Disney probably as much as
any corporation in the world has defined a lot of the the contemporary icons of our culture
and society and yet when you think of Disney you think of a company to be role
to the finest detail yeah how do you
come different experience
how do you align yourself with that and
is there something there that we don't see well I'm sure there is the data I
think it's simplest way of explaining it just it's a show business company and
show business companies make deals so I made before I went there I got invited
there by them I thought about it for more than a year and then I negotiated for another to come up with something
that would be mutually beneficial for instance in our work the work of my and
other people I've been associated in the passes oh but all the work that I've
done in the years are so with children
in mind try and find better more interesting more challenging more
constructive environments for children the deals I've made with the companies
then John knows this because I made one with Apple when I went there was hey
don't don't ask where the golden eggs are coming from here if the golden eggs
are coming be satisfied with that let us do our research the way we want to the
other thing that's critical isn't I think for people simple
opinions about Disney is negotiation in
what was did in fact had made our software that we had started at Apple
open-source before going to Disney and so Disney on the part of what we're
doing is I'm just like Linux is and that
and even better most of the educational stuff in fact
all of the educational stuff we're doing right now is being put out on the Disney
free websites Disney has the philanthropic all the Disney learning
part and this is a free website for mostly for teachers and a bit for
parents that we're putting out a bunch of stuff also for free so last year you
were telling us about squeak some of the things that deal with it can you give us
an update a I
well first squeak is open source so for people who are of a kind of a hacker
mentality the open source site is kind of made for people who are kind of rough
and ready it's called squeaked org and every every fundamental thing that we've
done is on that site no Disney content
is there Disney owned by the way the license permits Disney to own the
content as though they have done it in Java or in director fundamental
authoring tools and everything else that stuff is part of this the open source
[Music] we're not too many months off from the
first Disney unveiling of some of its content as currently planned it's a free
website because never add Disney maybe a large company but they're interested in
learning as well and the open source
stuff stuck in their craw until I started thinking about the advantages of
open source for instance we do not have to pay for the 250 people around thee on
the Internet our ports for free for us and debugging our code for us and doing
a million things so this is milli literally millions of dollars
of free work by taught people that we're getting and Disney in a way is allowed
to take more risk with us because our budget is tiny compared to the amount of
cost for this project the other thing that they realized after a while is that
any kind of authoring tool of large scope is likely to be less accepted if
it's owned by a big company because the big company there are big companies that
own software that you'd hate to put on
your critical path because who knows what they might do so the advantage of
open source here is that anybody who wishes to control their own destiny can
split off a pathway from ours and not even worry about what we do or they can
follow us along and the open source thing that in fact they're not committing what we used to members Bob
at Parc Lee has musical arrow 33 putting
somebody else's work on your critical path very bad idea
our motto is what we is hugs but there
are bugs power that is a huge thing how
long though when you at Apple you've had the ovarian scene maybe you could
describe the moment what the goal of that team was actually whatever house it
is now I first met Don and the vivarium
was an idea about a whole bunch of things but was seeing whether we could
get kids to learn important ideas about complex systems organization by recreate
on the computer of simulated animals and
the image of this was to be clipped with
me people are interested so I could go
to that shows a thing we did on in Evans and cell phone flight simulator 15 of
what the same like and
so in the mid going to teach children math better restore the arts programs
that the state legislatures and the school boards have taken away so first
thing we did thanks to John actually John bankrolled this thing really
handsomely when we got started I'm not sure he knew exactly what he was getting
started with it was a plus he could
learn many things by making mistakes and
I right away kids weren't nearly as curious as we were hoping they would be
they tended to be very categorically so the first thing we did was to instead of
dealing with the computers with a noticing curriculum for these kids and I
ran across Don when we were getting some synthesizer equipment and Don was
demoing for a Yamaha in those days and you know to to meet Don and to know Don
is to become his brother and we just became brothers and we
started doing things with the kids to
getting them to pay more attention to what's going on - not just dismiss it by
putting a name to it and many other things happen too many things to talk
about tonight but these are the kinds of curriculum where to be totally
goal-oriented and curriculum is to kill the child you must do something that's
much more like gardening let's just let's it let the plant do its work help
plants grow to things that can come back
from the work with preserve and our creative team has been
finding out as we've been developing between the lions and Chris show you a
little bit of the other day that were not surprising and one thing that was a
surprise to us but to think that we're not surprising was that kids love humor
and kids love games and we've seen that with Tess I think Alice was the
incredible impact of music and and Chris
whether you're aware of this but he actually wrote most of the music for
between the Lions and when we went out and did the testing light started it
yeah why we did then we got much higher
response rate understanding engagement
than we had ever expected that our advisors my team Shaw and their own
Adams and others had anticipated and we
can trace a lot of that back to a very
security point of view us as well is to
do you think we could make some radical changes in our curriculum by introducing
you know the concepts of music or music itself into education or is that
yes but I I look at it from a different
vantage point last year in my home in my
town that I live Pleasanton California
the school board was about to shut off
the arts funding for our school district
and not in school now they were their
old people now do so long as one is 26 years old but they
came through that system and I knew that they came through that system and I knew
that both benefited because of the music
that was there so I went to the school board and maybe this will we have to
look at this from a different perspective I told them I said first
let's get our definitions about what we're teaching children about we have an
emphasis on math science and communications in school yeah that's
well funded extracurricular activity I
said first let's look at what math and science are to do basically they are to
help us to understand or some kind of way and some type of language - in fact
examine analyze and so forth our whole
life in this universe or the universe
itself I said first what is the universe
and the only thing that I could come up with is that it is a living interactive
art form [Music]
if anybody wants to argue with me about that fine but if you can find me a
better definition of what this universe is I want to know the truth so if we
have this art form and then we are going
to tell the children we're going to teach you how to do math and how to do
science but we're not going to teach you anything about the art form the art form
falls into these categories of what I said music the eyes the art all of this
stuff the stuff that we play with and you're not going to teach them about the
basic thing that they're to really try and examine because that's all we're
doing is gathering data about it and hopefully we can come up with some ideas
of how it works [Music]
critical this is interesting conversation I've had it
Disney one of the ones I had before I decided to go there was to see if
they're interested in doing some hard fun for children hard fun is that stuff
where you have to learn how to do something and keep on learning how to do stuff the more you learn the more you've
got to pay off soft fun is where somebody makes a vehicle for you so soft
coin is watching baseball on television and hard funner is learning to hit a hard ball and the typical entertainment
that has happened in the last 30 or 40
years has tended to be soft fun you're in various kinds of ride vehicles which
might be theatrical of some kind of might be musical of some kind and to me
that I think if you go into schools it tends to be soft fun so I think the most
difficult thing now is to convince kids
who who are basically looking at experience and this was actually and Chris Cerf knows that I have some doubts
about Sesame Street Neil postman made a good point about Sesame Street he said
he said whatever Sesame Street taught kids on television but she was perhaps
somewhat dubious about but he says whatever it did it made it almost
impossible for a kid to go to school without looking for superior production values and so if you think about the the
ability to transmit Evo Keable experiences to people which is amazing
we just saw Don get it all out over the
footlights it's an incredible thing when you are in the presence of that but in
fact one of the reasons he always does and we want to do in this thing is to get you involved in this thing is that
it it isn't soft fun so that it's extremely important for
people to realize that where you get self-esteem from is by learning how to do hard fun not by being put into
situations where you're automatically
successful it's the worst thing you can ever do for a child because if at some
point they realize very quickly that they're being put into a completely bogus setup and their children are
awfully good bullshit detectors let's take another question from the audience
yes [Music]
we're looking at you yeah okay here
comes a Mike first a comment and then a
question just continuing on the arts theme I've spent a lot of time photographing in Waldorf it's Waldorf
classrooms and I can recall being in a sixth grade class on fire and the kids
listen to the Firebird suite they've studied the Greek cosmology of earth air
fire and water they looked at fire in the inner cone and the outer cone and
the chemistry of oxidation and no one told them which is the real fire or that
one is science and one is art or one is more important or one is not they were
learning about fire and they're learning how to experience at an understanding
and and I think we put art off on the
side and then debate whether it's a luxury or a necessity it's not off on
the side I do want to ask question as I
as I reflected on this conference we have a remarkable set of propositions
that seem to be taken for granted here and I wonder if they're really a stable
said that the Internet is a bunch of plumbing that's morally neutral that on
that internet we can put all the structures of corporate power as they
exist so Microsoft has its big site and GM has its big site and Disney has its
site all the corporate power is there and at the same time it's a
decentralized networking force on which we can originate content agglutinate
come together groups that have been marginalized can find their identity and
these will coexist and will feel an
identity and freedom at the same time that this technology is being used to
develop very sophisticated marketing profiles that as John Sculley told us
are are of considerable economic value and are being sold
and I just asked all of you is this an
accurate reflection of what we've said and is it a stable set of beliefs or are
we deluding ourselves I don't think we want to nail it down why or at least I
wouldn't nail it down quite like that I think this e again I wish Neil
I this is this is a wonderful conference it's one of the few pretty much the only
conference that I go to that I actually stay for all of the days because the and
it's partly because of the speakers but the audiences is neat and when you go to
various conferences the tendency is to judge them on how neat the audience is
it was the neat audience I think that
the a better maybe you want to say
better but I think everybody has
remarked at one time or another how powerful a single person with a little
machine in their closet can be on the Internet
especially since the world wide web is so paltry you can hardly do anything
with it anyway and so it actually has a democratizing effect right there anybody
can sling what HTML can do and so I
think that individuals can compete fairly well until they get popular and
then they have to have some other recourse I wish that this conference
would do one more thing when they convene next year in the succeeding
years which is to invite some critics so one of my favorite critics is Neil
postman who wrote a book called amusing ourselves to death
the subtitle of it is serious discourse
in the age of show business and it's and
the important thing about Neal is you don't have to agree with everything he says because he is actually raising
points that are worth while discussing and thinking about and one of his his
notions is that along with the three or four R's should be a extensive course
and crap detection because he says look look at it this way since the printing
press came along and in fact before that with the Holy Roman Empire every culture
is competing for mindshare with its ideas and every cultures had I think
most people here realized that the great paintings of the Renaissance were funded by the church they were advertising
that's what all of these great ceilings they were they were there to enhance the
feeling that you're supposed to have when you're in a church and ten
generally speaking advertising is always funded by the people who have the most
money right that's the kind of way it works so I don't feel bad about that
what I feel bad about is the level of credulity that most people have today
another one of Neal's great points is that he he says people are now accept
most people have to accept more on faith than they ever did in the Middle Ages he
says they have to accept what they did in the Middle Ages most of them plus they have to accept all the science they
don't understand which is a whole nother set of things which they haven't learned
so basically they're on the outs from most of the knowledge that's going on
and it's very difficult for them to decide whether somebody is simply
telling them a good story and here's the other thing I'll just add one other
point to it is it would be really ridiculous if you came into this place
tonight and weren't willing to become children
with dot right because once we give up theater we might as well give up
humanity that's us so we're going so we have to
give over to the gig we have to allow
ourselves to be influenced to have feelings of vocht in all of these things but you could just as easily have walked
into a place with the same great music and John here is running for mayor
political rally is just like theater good-looking people well-spoken telling
stories you want to hear great music should you have the same attitude in
America at a political rally as you have in the theater no way but just think
about that both in the flash and on
television you're put into exactly the same media environment for the Evoque
ation of feelings willingly and one in which you should be super critical of
anything anybody is saying to you it's the ability to make those choices that
is the number one thing for learning to live in the late 20th century that's the
huge thing that we have to peek many
people said John F Kennedy was the first television president are we going to have a first internet president well I
think John Perry is running here we
haven't quite got here opera darkonians thing really down yeah okay or who yes
Richard in education and learning and music
synthesis and so forth where is Ray Kurzweil and since he's not here to
defend himself although the evolution of some of his
products have been available at the conference but you have much to say
about well his his view of a little tiny package the next 10 k9k sorry my
favorite the thing I was quite surprised when I turned 50 10 years ago to
discover that the fondest and sharpest memories I had we're of people that I've
met and worked with and I've always considered myself a lone wolf and the in
a way the the ability of people to be
interestingly different from each other while still being human I think it's a
really important thing and so you know if I were to be harsh about Ray which I
have no such feelings I would call him a bit of a mystic mystic is a person who
tends to see unity in the strongest possible way even when it may not be a
good idea and I think that his the
general intellectual course his life has taken has been to alternate between
trying to find unity in interesting
things and he is an interesting guy versus trying to start businesses from
these various insights Suzanne please he's an interesting guy should he should
be invited here sometime
oh well it should be back in 1985 Alan I
remember you and I were walking along a
sidewalk in Cupertino in Apple's campus and and you turn to me and you said John
next time Apple doesn't have Xerox PARC and I said what do you mean it now let
me and you said well this time Apple's got on Bennett's own stuff and he was
looking at me do this so I said well how
do we do it and Alan said well actually every idea whether it's simple like a
mouse or complex like you know software
programming system like small talk takes about fifteen years from the time that
it's concede and fill it those who gestation and comes out if it is going
to come out as a commercial product and I thought about it for a few minutes
sensible if that's true Alan then that means that there are technologies that
are already you know in English in somewhere and you know if we could go
and recognize what they're going to turn into you know maybe that would give us a
clue what direction to go in so this really began my education in things from
a technology standpoint not so much of how the technology works
I don't even claim to understand that now but really in terms of what the
implications are of the of the technologies and we developed something
Alan's ideas I named it called of knowledge and navigator and then I asked
Alan esand isn't there some way that we could visualize this thing so that if
people saw it they could recognize it and see whether it was something they would like I remembered a few years
earlier that I had the privilege to be
with Steve Jobs in doctor land founder Polaroid inner-city in his
research laboratory in Cambridge Massachusetts and he's left Polaroid at
that point and he and Steve were talking and dr. land said he said he said no one
really invent anything he said things are just waiting there and they're kind
of invisible sitting out there waiting to be discovered and Steve said yeah he
said we've gone out and done research on the Macintosh and asked people what the
perfect commercial computer was they couldn't have told us because they had
no reference point for it so we had to go and tell him you know Steve had very
strong ideas of what that should be but
with the knowledge navigator he said why
can't we build a simulation of it on film a special effect long before we
could actually build the product and a simulation wasn't back put together and
was Alan's wife Bonnie and Q EE and he
Doris Mitch interesting we didn't work you know Michael Markman interesting
enough a couple of those people he was utterly few others who work in that
project went off to a startup company a few years later called Netscape and
develop something called navigator
and I was like a win sentence I'm sure I thought it would be fun to show you the
knowledge navigators that Bonnie and her
team with Allen put together this was actually done I think in late 87 early
88 that about right Bonnie do remember somewhere around late
87 yeah so it isn't quite 15 years yet Allen but let's take a look at it and
it'd be kind of interesting to have you mention one thing about one of the most
amazing things about this was that there are some very funny anachronism zand see
if you can spot them of certain things that Apple was already doing that we
couldn't put in the video because of spilling the beans so there's one that
is quite glaring and I'll leave it up to you to see if you can spot how odd it
actually is okay so we could just run that about a four minute video and then
be funded here Allen fatique
undergraduate research team in Guatemala just checking in Robert Jordan a second
semester junior requesting a second extension on his term paper and her
mother reminding you about your father surprise birthday party next Sunday
today you have a faculty lunch of 12 o'clock you need to take Kaffee to the
airport by 2:00 you have a lecture at 4:15 on
deforestation in the Amazon rainforest right let them see the lecture notes
from last semester
no that's not enough I need to review more recent literature pull all the new
articles I haven't read yet journal articles only fine your friend Jill
Gilbert has published an article about deforestation in the Amazon and the
defects on rainfall in the sub-sahara it also covers droughts effect on food
production in Africa and increasing imports of food contact kill I'm sorry
she's not available right now I left a message that you would call
okay let's see where's an article about
five years ago dr. Plimpton or something he really disagreed with the direction
of Jill's research John Fleming about Sula University he published in the
Journal of earth science of July 20 of 2006 that's it he was challenging Joe's
projection of the amount of carbon dioxide being released to the atmosphere through before stations I'd like to
recheck his figures here is the rate of deforestation he predicted no what
happened yeah he was really off
give me the University Research Network
show only universities with geography nodes
to Brazil
copy the last 30 years at this location at one month intervals excuse me Jill
Gilbert is calling back great put her through hi Mike what's up Jill
thanks for getting back to me well I guess that new grant of yours hasn't dampened your literary abilities
rumor has it that you just put out the definitive article on deforestation ha
ha is this one of your typical last-minute panics for lecture material
no no no that's not until um 4:15 it's
about the effects that reducing the size of Amazon rainforest can have outside of
Brazil I was wondering them it's not really necessary but yeah you would be great if
you were available to make a few comments nothing formal after my talk
you would come up on a big screen discuss your article and then answer
some questions from the class and bail you out again
well are there I could squeeze that in you know I have a simulation that shows
the spread of the Sahara over the last 20 years here let me show you
nice very nice I've got some maps of the
Amazon area during the same time let's put these together
great I'd like to have a copy of that for myself what happens if we bring down
the logging rate to a hundred thousand acres per year
hmm interesting I can definitely use it
thanks for your time Jill I've really appreciated no problem
but next time I'm in Berkeley you're buying the dinner dinner right see ya
4:15 okay
while you were busy your mother called again to remind you to pick up the
birthday cake and clintus article 2.0
now printing okay I'm going to lunch
down it's a default hello I'll be there at 2:00 your class also find out if I
can set up a meeting tomorrow morning with some family enjoy your lunch
hello professor Bradford is away at the moment would you like to leave a message
Michael this is your mother I know that you're there I'm just calling to remind
so a couple of it the actor is really a stick that was one of the one of the
interesting problems with it the there's an interesting difference of opinion by
the couple of Negro panties ideas in this as well one of the one of the
things I argued against was how large the knowledge navigator was made because
it's and it was much more since notice he didn't take it with him when he went
off to lunch that that means it's not really portable something you can say
about laptops today so who spotted one
of the weirdest anachronism is on this
well definitely the icons are odd but did you notice anything that just you
couldn't imagine for a second doing as
far in the future why would anybody stick something like a flash memory card
in to record something how many who has who has nine gigs on
their disk right now right so that was
one that was out of the that was out of the sequence one of the things that we
tried to do was to have the agent be an
expert at extremely limited things we're thinking that the first kinds of things
that AIS can actually help for our
extremely limited narrow tasks like being the calendar agent we're not too
far away from having a calendar agent you could one of the problems in the movie was which we showed a little bit
and then it broke down because they didn't want to force people to try and
read from the screen but did you notice that the knowledge navigator had a
camera that was looking at the person okay and the idea there was that the
agent would only read when it could see that the person wasn't looking at the screen the first software to do that by
the way is now out on the Sony Vaio the
small Sony Vaio that has the built-in camera actually watches to see whether
you're actually looking at the screen and this answer is one of Nagar pontes
oldest complaints that he had which it used to say used to say an infrared
urinal knows more about what you're doing then your computer does so they're
a bunch of bunch of different things in there but the in each of the the media
things that Bonnie and I did with John we always try to have a real problem it
involves some kind of simulation because our belief was that the real computer
literacy has something to do of going into a dynamic model of something you're
trying to understand and thinking up these little problems that could fit
into a couple of minutes of video and be comprehensible is probably the biggest task in doing these really big insights
that you had was that the C is about communications not about just
computation and that knowledge navigator is really as much about people
communicating with people yeah well I got that from the ARPA what I call the
ARPA dream and especially a guy by the name of Bob Barton he was one of the
world's greatest computer designers and he was very into McLuhan he didn't like
graduate students at all and I wanted to
talk to him about computer design and so I spent one summer laborious ly reading
McLuhan until I understood what McLuhan was trying to say I thought but I
certainly did it enough to have an extended conversation with this guy and he was right on because his whole notion
was its it's a media game understand the
difference between the technology and the media and it will tell you what to do [Music]
Silicon Valley who just did not trust a
marketing guy in charge of a computer company and so to me to go out and start
showing the knowledge navigator video around was evidence that this was purely
he needs to call Apple a vertically integrated advertising agency at that
point the interesting thing was that it
created a tremendous debate and you remember the Stanford University
engineering school actually held a symposium of people who came from all
over the world to argue on the issue of whether the knowledge navigator was
correct in its anthropomorphic interpretation of the Asian or whether
oughta be a proteases as an extension of the human being and I certainly might in
fact the answer for morphic agent stuff is a little bit over my dead body
but there was a really good this is the
medium is the message because the cinematography really wanted to have an
answer morphic agent there but the great idea of this is one of the oldest ideas
that has to do with networks which is McCarthy's advice taker which goes back
to the late 50s and it was in one of
those early papers with McCarthy wrote that the term information utility was
first used and John was thinking he's
advocating time sharing back then he was thinking about what it would be like to have a worldwide information utility and
he started thinking about it he realized wow we better start having programs with
common sense this was one of the terms that he used because the idea that
people would communicate with the computers algorithmically he thought was unreasonable but he thought that you
should be able to build an expert at some narrow domain like your calendar or
how to get to the airport and stuff like that and those experts and in fact there
are experts right now how many people here use travel planning
the Internet those are the a Iook it's a
kind of a bad rap because as soon as the problem solved it's no longer AI so hey
I as always all that stuff we don't know how to do yet so a person some years ago
said AI is a promising technology and always will be navigator which was
actually from my vantage point extremely helpful I remember Allen you came into
my office one day and you said Bill Atkinson is in tears and Bill accident
for those who don't know was was Apple's first software engineer ever and he was
also a person who created a lot of the
software that went into the original Mac and Bill was like Alan in Apple fellow
and he was off working on a project called wild card and he had shown it to
the Apple engineers and they had totally laughed at what he was doing
still I wasn't here themselves yeah he
was going to quit so Alan said you've got to get over and talk to him so I went over and talked to Bill and he
really was in tears and wild card I
agreed to sponsor it out of my office and wild card became a product called