TED 2012: Ridley Scott Envisions the TED Talk of the Future

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Much like WIRED, the TED conference is about looking into the possibilities of the future. The speakers invited are all working on projects that could shape and change the very nature of what our world will look like in the decades that follow their short 18 minutes on stage. What better idea, then, to imagine what a TED talk will look like twenty years from now?

Acclaimed sci-fi director Ridley Scott did just that. In his short film “Prometheus,” played for the first time at TED on Tuesday, actor Guy Pearce portrays Weyland, a veritable caricature of a TED speaker with his over-the-top, ‘tech will save us all’ outlook. Pearce’s Weyland delivers an epic sermon to a coliseum filled with TED attendees, set in the year 2023.

“At this moment in our civilization, we can create cybernetic individuals who, in just a few short years, will be completely indistinguishable from us,” Weyland shouts, a subtle nod to Scott’s classic film, Blade Runner.

It’s a funky, grey-tinged vision of our future. But at the same time, it’s eerily familiar.

“All sci-fi starts in some kind of grounded reality that seems familiar, and then the tornado comes and take you into Oz,” the short’s writer, Damon Lindelhof, told TED’s Ben Lillie in an interview. “I feel the same way about a TEDTalk.”

Watch the full short embedded above.