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Steven Johnson: The playful wonderland behind great inventions

Steven Johnson: Det lekne eventyrlandet bak store oppfinnelser

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Nødvendighet er oppfinnelsens mor, ikke sant? Vel, ikke alltid. Steven Johnson viser oss at noen av de mest transformative ideene og teknologiene, som datamaskinen, ikke kom av nødvendighet i det hele tatt men i stedet fra den rare gleden av lek. Del denne fengslende, illustrerte utforskningen av oppfinnelsens historie. Det viser seg at du finner fremtiden der folk har det mest moro.

- Writer
Steven Berlin Johnson examines the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. Full bio

(Music)
(Musikk)
00:12
Roughly 43,000 years ago,
For omtrent 43 000 år siden
00:16
a young cave bear
died in the rolling hills
døde en ung hulebjørn i de bølgende åsene
00:19
on the northwest border
of modern day Slovenia.
på den nordvestlige grensen
av dagens Slovenia.
00:22
A thousand years later,
a mammoth died in southern Germany.
Tusen år senere dør
en mammut i Sør-Tyskland.
00:25
A few centuries after that,
a griffon vulture also died
Noen få århundrer senere
dør en gåsegribb også
00:29
in the same vicinity.
i det samme området.
00:33
And we know almost nothing
about how these animals met their deaths,
Og vi vet nesten ingenting
om hvordan disse dyrene møtte sin død,
00:35
but these different creatures
dispersed across both time and space
men disse forskjellige skapningene
spredd over både tid og sted
00:39
did share one remarkable fate.
delte en bemerkelsesverdig skjebne.
00:43
After their deaths,
a bone from each of their skeletons
Etter at de døde ble en knokel
fra hver av deres skjelett
00:46
was crafted by human hands
utformet av menneskehender
00:50
into a flute.
til en fløyte.
00:52
Think about that for a second.
Tenk på det et øyeblikk.
00:54
Imagine you're a caveman,
40,000 years ago.
Tenk at du er en huleboer
for 40 000 år siden.
00:56
You've mastered fire.
Du har mestret ild.
00:59
You've built simple tools for hunting.
Du har bygget enkle jaktverktøy.
01:00
You've learned how to craft
garments from animal skins
Du har lært å lage
klær av dyreskinn
01:02
to keep yourself warm in the winter.
for å holde deg varm om vinteren.
01:05
What would you choose to invent next?
Hva ville du valgt å finne opp nå?
01:07
It seems preposterous
that you would invent the flute,
Det virker absurd at du
ville finne opp fløyten,
01:10
a tool that created
useless vibrations in air molecules.
et redskap som lagde
ubrukelige vibrasjoner i luftmolekyler.
01:13
But that is exactly
what our ancestors did.
Men det er akkurat det
våre forfedre gjorde.
01:17
Now this turns out
to be surprisingly common
Dette viser seg å være
overraskende vanlig
01:21
in the history of innovation.
gjennom innovasjonens historie.
01:24
Sometimes people invent things
Noen ganger blir ting oppfunnet
01:26
because they want to stay alive
or feed their children
fordi de vil holde seg i live
eller mate barna
01:28
or conquer the village next door.
eller erobre landsbyen ved siden av.
01:31
But just as often,
Men like ofte
01:33
new ideas come into the world
kommer nye ideer frem
01:34
simply because they're fun.
simpelthen fordi de er moro.
01:36
And here's the really strange thing:
Og her er det virkelig rare:
01:39
many of those playful
but seemingly frivolous inventions
mange av de lekne men tilsynelatende
betydningsløse oppfinnelsene
01:41
ended up sparking
momentous transformations
endte opp med å starte
betydningsfulle forvandlinger
01:45
in science, in politics and society.
i vitenskap, i politikk og samfunn.
01:47
Take what may be the most
important invention of modern times:
Ta det som kan være den
viktigste oppfinnelsen i moderne tider:
01:51
programmable computers.
programmerbare datamaskiner.
01:54
Now, the standard story is that computers
descend from military technology,
Den vanlige historien er at datamaskiner
stammer fra militær teknologi,
01:56
since many of the early computers
were designed specifically
siden mange av de tidlige datamaskinene
var utformet spesielt
02:01
to crack wartime codes
or calculate rocket trajectories.
for å knekke krigskoder
eller beregne rakettbaner.
02:04
But in fact, the origins
of the modern computer
Men faktisk er opprinnelsen
av den moderne datamaskinen
02:07
are much more playful,
mye mer leken,
02:11
even musical,
til og med musikalsk,
02:12
than you might imagine.
enn du kanskje tenker.
02:14
The idea behind the flute,
Ideen bak fløyten
02:15
of just pushing air through tubes
to make a sound,
om å presse luft gjennom tuber
for å lage lyd,
02:16
was eventually modified
to create the first organ
ble etter hvert modifisert
til å lage det første orgelet
02:19
more than 2,000 years ago.
for mer enn 2000 år siden.
02:22
Someone came up with the brilliant idea
of triggering sounds
Noen fikk den strålende ideen
om å utløse lyder
02:24
by pressing small levers with our fingers,
ved å trykke på små spaker med fingrene,
02:27
inventing the first musical keyboard.
og fant dermed opp det første
musikalske tastaturet.
02:30
Now, keyboards evolved
from organs to clavichords to harpsichords
Keyboard har utviklet seg
fra orgel til klavikord til cembalo
02:33
to the piano,
til pianoet,
02:37
until the middle of the 19th century,
frem til midten av det 19. århundret
02:38
when a bunch of inventors
finally hit on the idea
da en gruppe oppfinnere
endelig kom på ideen
02:41
of using a keyboard
to trigger not sounds but letters.
om å bruke tastaturet for å utløse
bokstaver i stedet for lyd.
02:44
In fact, the very first typewriter
Den aller første skrivemaskinen
02:48
was originally called
"the writing harpsichord."
var faktisk opprinnelig kalt
"den skrivende cembalo."
02:50
Flutes and music led
to even more powerful breakthroughs.
Fløyter og musikk ledet
til enda kraftigere gjennombrudd.
02:55
About a thousand years ago,
For omtrent tusen år siden,
02:59
at the height of the Islamic Renaissance,
på høyden av den islamske renessansen,
03:01
three brothers in Baghdad
designed a device
utformet tre brødre i Baghdad
en innretning
03:03
that was an automated organ.
som var et automatisk orgel.
03:05
They called it "the instrument
that plays itself."
De kalte det "instrumentet
som spiller seg selv."
03:08
Now, the instrument
was basically a giant music box.
Instrumentet var i grunnen
en gigangtisk musikkboks.
03:11
The organ could be trained to play
various songs by using instructions
Orgelet kunne læres å spille
diverse sanger gjennom instruksjoner
03:15
encoded by placing pins
on a rotating cylinder.
kodet ved å plassere pinner
på en roterende sylinder.
03:19
And if you wanted the machine
to play a different song,
Og hvis du ville at maskinen
spilte en annen sang,
03:23
you just swapped a new cylinder in
with a different code on it.
byttet du til en ny sylinder
med en annen kode.
03:26
This instrument was the first of its kind.
Dette instrumentet var
det første av sitt slag.
03:29
It was programmable.
Det var programmerbart.
03:33
Now, conceptually,
this was a massive leap forward.
Konseptuelt var dette
et massivt steg fremover.
03:35
The whole idea of hardware and software
Hele ideen om maskinvare og programvare
03:38
becomes thinkable for the first time
with this invention.
blir tenkelig for første gang
med denne oppfinnelsen.
03:41
And that incredibly powerful concept
Og det utrolig sterke konseptet
03:44
didn't come to us as an instrument
of war or of conquest,
kom ikke som et instrument
av krig eller erobring,
03:47
or necessity at all.
eller nødvendighet i det hele tatt.
03:50
It came from the strange delight
of watching a machine play music.
Det kom fra den rare gleden
av å se en maskin spille musikk.
03:52
In fact, the idea of programmable machines
Ideen om programmerbare
maskiner ble faktisk
03:57
was exclusively kept alive by music
for about 700 years.
holdt i live utelukkende
av musikk i omtrent 700 år.
04:00
In the 1700s, music-making machines
På 1700-tallet ble maskiner
som laget musikm
04:05
became the playthings
of the Parisian elite.
til leketøy for eliten i Paris.
04:07
Showmen used the same coded cylinders
Underholdere brukte
de samme kodede syliderne
04:11
to control the physical movements
of what were called automata,
for å kontrollere de fysiske bevegelsene
på hva de kalte automata,
04:14
an early kind of robot.
en tidlig type robot.
04:18
One of the most famous of those robots
En av de mest kjente av disse robotene
04:20
was, you guessed it,
an automated flute player
var, du gjettet det,
en automatisk fløytespiller
04:22
designed by a brilliant French inventor
designet av en
briljant fransk oppfinner
04:25
named Jacques de Vaucanson.
kalt Jacques de Vaucanson.
04:27
And as de Vaucanson
was designing his robot musician,
Og mens de Vaucanson
designet robot-musikeren sin,
04:30
he had another idea.
fikk han en annen idé.
04:33
If you could program a machine
to make pleasing sounds,
Hvis du kunne programmere en maskin
til å lage behagelige lyder,
04:35
why not program it to weave
delightful patterns of color out of cloth?
hvorfor ikke programmere den til å veve
vakre fargemønstre av stoff?
04:39
Instead of using the pins of the cylinder
to represent musical notes,
I stedet for å bruke pinnene på sylinderen
til å representere musikknoter,
04:44
they would represent
threads with different colors.
representerte de tråder
i forskjellige farger.
04:49
If you wanted a new pattern
for your fabric,
Hvis du ønsket et nytt mønster
på stoffet ditt,
04:52
you just programmed a new cylinder.
programmerte du bare
en ny sylinder.
04:54
This was the first programmable loom.
Dette var den første programmerbare veven.
04:57
Now, the cylinders were too expensive
and time-consuming to make,
Sylindrene var for kostbare
og tidkrevende å lage,
05:00
but a half century later,
men et halvt århundre senere
05:04
another French inventor named Jacquard
fikk en annen fransk oppfinner kalt Jacquard
05:06
hit upon the brilliant idea
of using paper-punched cards
den strålende ideen om
å bruke stemplingskort av papir
05:08
instead of metal cylinders.
i stedet for metall-sylindre.
05:13
Paper turned out to be
much cheaper and more flexible
Papir viste seg å være
mye billigere og mer fleksibelt
05:15
as a way of programming the device.
for å programmere innretningen.
05:18
That punch card system inspired
Victorian inventor Charles Babbage
Dette stemplingkortsystemet inspirerte den
viktorianske oppfinneren Charles Babbage
05:20
to create his analytical engine,
til å lage sin analytiske motor,
05:25
the first true programmable computer
den første ekte
programmerbare datamaskinen
05:27
ever designed.
noensinne laget.
05:30
And punch cards were used
by computer programmers
Og stemplingskort ble brukt
av programmerere
05:31
as late as the 1970s.
så sent som på 1970-tallet.
05:34
So ask yourself this question:
Så still deg selv dette spørsmålet:
05:37
what really made
the modern computer possible?
Hva var det som virkelig muliggjorde
den moderne datamaskinen?
05:39
Yes, the military involvement
is an important part of the story,
Ja, militært engasjement
er en viktig del av historien,
05:43
but inventing a computer
also required other building blocks:
men oppfinnelsen av datamaskinen
trengte også andre byggesteiner:
05:47
music boxes,
musikkbokser,
05:51
toy robot flute players,
leke-robotfløytespillere,
05:52
harpsichord keyboards,
cembalo-tastaturer,
05:54
colorful patterns woven into fabric,
fargerike mønstre vevd inn i stoff,
05:55
and that's just a small part of the story.
og det er bare en liten del av historien.
05:58
There's a long list of world-changing
ideas and technologies
Det fins en lang liste med
verdensomveltende ideer og teknologier
06:01
that came out of play:
som fant sitt opphav i leken:
06:04
public museums, rubber,
offentlige museer, gummi,
06:06
probability theory, the insurance business
sannsynlighetsteorien,
forsikringsvirksomheten
06:08
and many more.
og mange fler.
06:10
Necessity isn't always
the mother of invention.
Nødvendighet er ikke alltid
oppfinnelsens mor.
06:11
The playful state of mind
is fundamentally exploratory,
Den lekne sinnstilstanden
er fundamentalt utforskende,
06:15
seeking out new possibilities
in the world around us.
på søken etter nye muligheter
i verden rundt oss.
06:19
And that seeking
is why so many experiences
Og den søken er grunnen
til at så mange opplevelser
06:22
that started with simple
delight and amusement
som begynte med enkel
hygge og fornøyelse
06:26
eventually led us
to profound breakthroughs.
etter hvert ledet oss
til store gjennombrudd.
06:29
Now, I think this has implications
for how we teach kids in school
Jeg tror dette påvirker
hvordan vi underviser skolebarn
06:33
and how we encourage innovation
in our workspaces,
og hvordan vi oppmuntrer
innovasjon på jobb.
06:37
but thinking about play
and delight this way
Men å tenke på lek
og hygge på denne måten
06:40
also helps us detect what's coming next.
hjelper oss også med å oppdage
hva som blir neste.
06:43
Think about it: if you were
sitting there in 1750
Tenk på det: Hvis du
satt der i 1750
06:47
trying to figure out
the big changes coming to society
og prøvde å finne ut
de store forandringene i samfunnet
06:49
in the 19th, the 20th centuries,
i det 19. og 20. århundre,
06:53
automated machines, computers,
automatiske maskiner, datamaskiner,
06:55
artificial intelligence,
kunstig intelligens,
06:57
a programmable flute
en programmerbar fløyte
06:59
entertaining the Parisian elite
som underholdte eliten i Paris
07:00
would have been as powerful a clue
as anything else at the time.
ville vært et like sterkt hint
som noe annet på den tiden.
07:03
It seemed like an amusement at best,
Det virket som fornøyelse i beste fall,
07:07
not useful in any serious way,
ikke nyttig på noen seriøs måte,
07:10
but it turned out to be
the beginning of a tech revolution
men det viste seg å være
begynnelsen på en teknisk revolusjon
07:13
that would change the world.
som ville endre verden.
07:17
You'll find the future
Du vil finne fremtiden
07:18
wherever people are having the most fun.
der folk har det mest moro.
07:20
Translated by Ronja Dahl
Reviewed by Marleen Laschet

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About the speaker:

Steven Johnson - Writer
Steven Berlin Johnson examines the intersection of science, technology and personal experience.

Why you should listen

A dynamic writer and speaker, Johnson crafts captivating theories that draw on a dizzying array of disciplines, without ever leaving his audience behind. Author Kurt Anderson described Johnson's book Emergence as "thoughtful and lucid and charming and staggeringly smart." The same could be said for Johnson himself. His big-brained, multi-disciplinary theories make him one of his generation's more intriguing thinkers. His books take the reader on a journey -- following the twists and turns his own mind makes as he connects seemingly disparate ideas: ants and cities, interface design and Victorian novels.

Johnson's breakout 2005 title, Everything Bad Is Good for You , took the provocative stance that our fear and loathing of popular culture is misplaced; video games and TV shows, he argues, are actually making us smarter. His appearances on The Daily Show and Charlie Rose cemented his reputation as a cogent thinker who could also pull more than his share of laughs. His most recent work, The Ghost Map, goes in another direction entirely: It tells the story of a cholera outbreak in 1854 London, from the perspective of the city residents, the doctors chasing the disease, and the pathogen itself. The book shows how the epidemic brought about profound changes in science, cities and modern society. His upcoming work, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, tells the fascinating stories of great ideas and great thinkers across disciplines. 

No mere chronicler of technology, Johnson is himself a longtime innovator in the web world: He was founder and Editor in Chief of FEED, one of the earliest and most interesting online magazines. He cofounded Patch, an intriguing website that maps online conversations to real-world neighborhoods, and outside.in -- and is an advisor to many other startups, including Medium and Jelly. He is the host and co-creator of the new PBS and BBC television series How We Got to Now, airing in the fall of 2014.

More profile about the speaker
Steven Johnson | Speaker | TED.com