Jaron Lanier – Talk TRANSCRIPT
Back in the 1980s, actually, I gave my first talk at TED, and I brought some of the very, very first public demonstrations of virtual reality ever to the TED stage. And at that time, we knew that we were facing a knife-edge future where the technology we needed, the technology we loved, could also be our undoing.
We knew that if we thought of our technology as a means to ever more power, if it was just a power trip, we’d eventually destroy ourselves. That’s what happens when you’re on a power trip and nothing else.
So the idealism of digital culture back then was all about starting with that recognition of the possible darkness and trying to imagine a way to transcend it with beauty and creativity.
I always used to end my early TED Talks with a rather horrifying line, which is, “We have a challenge. We have to create a culture around technology that is so beautiful, so meaningful, so deep, so endlessly creative, so filled with infinite potential that it draws us away from committing mass suicide.”
So we talked about extinction as being one and the same as the need to create an alluring, infinitely creative future. And I still believe that that alternative of creativity as an alternative to death is very real and true, maybe the most true thing there is.