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Who's in the Video

David Gelernter

David Gelernter is professor of computer science at Yale, chief scientist at Mirror Worlds Technologies, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, and member of the National Council of the Arts.[…]

What excites the legendary computer scientist about the future? In a word: graphics.

Question: What makes yournoptimistic about the century ahead?

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David Gelernter:rnWe’re looking at—in one word maybe I should say, graphics. rn Not only computer graphics orrnanimation, but the enormously increased scope for pictures; for showingrnpictures, for seeing pictures, for seeing things.  Seeingrn is a source of wisdom and pleasure in a lot ofrnways.  Mankind really has nornvocabulary to discuss color because if you look at art history, until rntworngenerations ago, nobody knew what paintings looked like, they could bernreproduced in black and white going back to the 19th century, before rnthen theyrncouldn’t be reproduced in any way at all, but until, say the 1930’s, rn‘40’s,rn‘50’s in the 20th century, there was no way to, you could say Titian is arn greatrncolorist, or Velazquez has extraordinary subtle browns, or the reason rnthe 13thrncentury glass at Chartres is unique is because of the blue.  The special blue.  But you couldrn see it.  You had to travel to France or to yournknow, Venice to see—wherever.  Andrnnot only that, once you were there, unless you stayed, you’re not going rnto stayrnplanted in front of a picture in a museum and nor are you going to camp rnout inrna cathedral.  But computers havernnot only made printing—has not only made displaying on their screens, rnbut theyrnmade printing on paper—color printing—vastly better and inexpensive.

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The possibility that we have now of seeing what rnmankind hasrndone, the art that has been done, the cities that have been built, thernlandscapes that have drawn on people is a tremendously exciting—and to rnsee eachrnother, because ultimately that is what people want to see most of all isrn otherrnpeople.  That’s exciting.  Itrn opens up a new world that mankindrnhas longed for ever since he’s seen... "Colors are good, and I want to rnmake my worldrncolorful, and I want to see my fellow human beings and I want to build rnthingsrnand I want the horizons to be further than what I can see from my front rndoor."

Recorded on April 1, 2010.