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Found Footage: Project 2000 from 1988 on the direction of computing

David Winograd

This video has been around for quite a long time, but my guess is that you haven't seen it. It posits how future computers will used for education and literacy. Watching it you'll be taken by how much they got right and how other concepts got short shrift. One surprising thing is that it focuses almost totally on voice input and doesn't mention the concept of a touch screen interface. Instead it displays a trackball-type device with four buttons that doesn't presage multi-touch devices. A good deal of the footage was taken from 1987's Knowledge Navigator video which got a lot more play at the time.

Project 2000 includes interviews with:
  • Steve Wozniak on the start of computing in education and personal agents
  • Diane Ravitch, the past director of the Encyclopedia Britannica, on using computers to motivate students and the challenges of adult literacy
  • Alan Kay on computer simulation and visualization
  • Alvin Toffler, most known as the author of Future Shock, on text translations
  • Ray Bradbury on a variety of subjects
The most talked about topic is hypermedia, the most integrated concept in modern computing and a major building block of the World Wide Web which was six years old at the time, however the WWW isn't mentioned. Oops my mistake. The World Wide Web starting with the Mosaic browser didn't happen until 1993.

This is illuminative viewing and if you haven't seen it, I'd recommend you do so. The differences between what the speakers saw as the future and how things turned out is quite enlightening.

Thanks Eric for sending this in.

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