Steven Johnson began his speech by introducing different eras of animals, and the traits that they all had in common. This was mainly the fact, that all the animals that he mentioned, were used in the forms of their bones to create musical instruments.
Johnson goes on to inform the audience, that the concept of the invention, is stereotypically believed to be for the greater good of mankind. However, he states what the majority of people don’t realize, is back in the day, a lot of inventions were made for fun.
Examples of inventions that were made for fun with a large impact on society
To try to explain his concept to the audience, Johnson begins with the most popular and well-known invention of all times, computers. He explains how many assume that the first programmable computers were based on war, made for war, and only useful for war. However, he goes on to explain that the ideology behind ‘programmable computers’ was nothing more than a fun invention.
Johnson then explained the first signs of the programmable computer, and how it was related to music. He illustrated a programmable musical instrument, of sorts, and how it worked to the audience.
The progression of a simple invention to what we have today
Johnson then explained how these ‘fun’ inventions, often are the cause for major breakthroughs In our technology platform. In order to supply a firm confirmation of this, he explains how the flute evolved to an organ, and then a programmable organ, constructed out of metal, and lastly, a programmable organ based on paper punched cards.
Ironically, Johnson also pointed out, that the use of these paper punch cards inspired an inventor, Charles Babbage, to create his analytical engine. This was the first true programmable computer, which led to countless other breakthroughs in science, and computing.
To conclude his speech, Johnson states the future lies where people are having the most fun, although it may be impossible to predict, he believes firmly that what kids are taught in school, should encourage innovation In the workplace.