16 Mar

The extremely distinguished and extremely dramatic talk can be viewed here:

Time: 3 Minutes, 8 seconds

Now I’ll have to be honest and say that I did not see this talk by going to the TED site.  Instead, I was watching the trailer for Promethius (the movie this TED talk is based on) and trying to learn what that movie was about.  Needless to say, the surprise went a little like this.

What the deuce!?  A movie tie in with TED Talks!?  This is awesome!  I didn’t realize TED was such a forward thinking / willing to be made meta / could this go viral sort of thing.  And the production on it is really solid making it a very enjoyable clip.

There are so many things to enjoy from the clip despite the fact it is so brief.  The possibility of what a future TED talk might look like, the huge screens and flying cameras (both of which are within reach today already, and could easily be used) and the simple fact Peter Weyland is so obviously the kind of movie jerk we love to hate.  Please forgive the slang but he is easily the first TED speaker I would ever call a douchebag, that is, if he was real.

And because it’s more fun this way, let’s treat this entire thing like it was real.

One Sentence Summary

“Peter Weyland wants to change the world via technology.”

This is about the closest thing I can get to because the teaser doesn’t actually go anywhere.  It establishes a few things off the mark, that he has an idea or is important/famous enough that many people wish to hear him speak.  He is a very confident speaker and exudes the kind of qualities one would expect from an overzealous entrepreneur with a god complex.

What caught me off guard

Skipping back to knowing that this is a movie named Promethius, his initial mention of Promethius and the advent of mankind receiving the gift of fire must be related to the movie.  I don’t know very much about the movie so I could easily be wildly off however this is my initial reaction.  Promethius = fire = mankind starts its new found love of technology.  This movie must be looking at some kind of Ancient Aliens concept where early mankind was given ‘fire’ and the movie is about finding ‘Promethius’ and the early aliens that are still torturing Promethius.  Or this could be similar to the Lord of the Rings where certain technology or too much technology is so unnatural that it ends up becoming its own downfall.  (As it is unlikely the movie will be about scientists inventing things, chances are it will be explorers unveiling scientists who invented something that destroyed themselves)

What also really caught me off guard was the list of inventions he remarked upon.  Specifically those after the twenty first century, biotech, nanotech, fusion, fission, and M theory.  This leads me to the questions that I ended up having.


Is this an alternate universe?  Did the things he mentioned being invented in the first decade of the 21st century actually invented?  Will, in 2023, which is only eleven years away, will we be creating cybernetic individuals?

Now most of these questions can be answered pretty easily.

This must be an alternate universe, because its a freaking movie, although it looks like it is trying its best to be ‘close as possible’ to our reality.  In other words, if I asked Peter Weyland who became the President of the United States in 2008 he’d probably say it was Barack Obama.

What about the inventions he listed?  Sure, I’ve heard of every single one of them but I seriously do not believe that they’ve invented cold fusion.

Wait a second.. He didn’t mention ‘cold’ fusion, just fusion / fission.  Ah hell, he’s just wrong and is naming stuff in the wrong century because we already knew about these things A LOT earlier than the 21st century.  He might as well have listed “Biotech, nanotech, the airplane, how to boil water, eating poison is bad, all in the first decade”.

No wonder the audience stayed quiet during this rousing sentence.  They were confused.

What about the others?

Biotech – Bio Technology, which is also relatively widespread today, is described as “Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use.”  The Wikipedia Link about Bio Technology can be found here:

Nanotech – anyone who has seen Star Trek the Next Generation will know all about Nano Technology.  And in case you happen to not have seen it, then its simply about manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular scale.  (Star Trek had a huge thing about molecule sized robots, which is an oxymoron I guess)

Fusion – I assumed nuclear fusion, but Mr. Weyland could have been referring to Fusion cuisine, the combination of elements of various culinary traditions.  I believe this IS a 21st century thing.

Fission – Wow, I didn’t know this but Fission is also a Swedish melodic death metal band.

M Theory – this is probably my favorite.  I wrote a script for a Youtube performance group about multiple dimensions and about a girl coming into our universe (She was called Em and it was named Em Theory.   Yes, I am subtle like truck to face is subtle).  They never used it but it was still damn cool to me.  In any case, M-Theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified.

Will we be creating cybernetic individuals in 2023?  I could argue that we’re making these right now so hopefully it will only be ‘better’ in 2023.  At the barebones level, we could say a doll with automative parts is a cybernetic.. aw crap I’m like way off..

Ok, based upon Wikipedia, this is a whole mess of complicated stuff.  Sneaky how I instinctively thought cybernetics meant robots or automated parts, obviously I’ve been trained wrong through media.  (Damn, I knew this too, why did I.. weird)

And, finally, my last question..  The video ends with the big “Weyland Corp / WeylandIndustries” logo.  Is there a company today, that could be this company in the future?  And the answer is yes, and there are many.  For one, we have many technology based companies out there and two, thanks to things like Occupy Wallstreet, we know that ALL of them are evil.  (KIDDING!  Just kidding, please don’t hate me)

So I could probably just name a random company.  Well, he implied making robots so I’ll select a company that also makes robots and seeks advances in that technology.

Toyota.  Sure I could have named a whole mess of others, and with even cooler robots,  but I have this video trapped in my mind.

Seriously, just look at the little guy run.  AWESOME.  (I also think its funny that its not even a recent video)

So now that its been discussed, what can I/we do?

I think in this case the instructions are pretty clear, go see this movie.

– Updated Every Thursday

Peter Weyland at TED2023: I will change the world

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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in TED Talks


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