The talk after the talk

This evening I gave a talk about the future to a really interesting group of scientists, students and animators in Paris. The talk went well, but even better was the talk after the talk.

A group of us headed out to a local bar and discussed all of the larger topics, the cultural threads that connected with what I had talked about in my presentation. As you might expect, the conversation was far freer and more far reaching than what had come up in the seminar room.

There is something about sitting in a bar and having a beer that gives people permission to speak freely, to bring up their craziest and most interesting theories. It’s not something that can ever happen in a formal setting.

At one point somebody asked me what I would have predicted in 1996 about where media technology would be in 2016. It was a very good question.

After some thought, I told him that I probably would have predicted that we would end up with something like the world we have now — people using their phones to surf the Web and do pretty much everything else. The only thing I think I might not have predicted was the commoditization of graphics processors, because that didn’t really start to happen until the end of the 1990s.

But I might well have predicted that too. After all, my first rule of thumb when thinking about this kind of thing is to assume that Moore’s Law will continue, and then, from that, look at what will become affordable.

Definitely a good sort of conversation to have over a beer in Paris.

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