Recently I had the dubious dishonor of giving a TED talk. Technically, it was a "TEDx" talk, which is where a group of people listen to any absolute random jackass spout off at the mouth until they're done. TEDx talks are different than TED talks in that the people who deliver them are less famous.
TED stands for... something. I think it's Talking Equivalent of Dysentery, so I was prepared to delivery my cutting edge speech on "how not to drink river water even when you fall into the river" which is 4 hours long, but covers all the basic information.
However, while I watched the event, I was becoming increasingly drunk on the bottles of Johnnie Walker I'd snuck past the eagle-eyed bartender. On the issue of how I got so drunk, I can assign no blame on anyone's part, but the fact of the matter is that I listened to engineers go on about social change for 17 hours while putting away enough liquor to kill a horse.
Or maybe that's just what it felt like. I'm fairly certain there was a lawyer up there at some point, because they always make me feel like throwing up, and there was one point where I'm fairly certain Richard Garriott only kept me from vomiting through the use of magic.
"I'm a big fan." I told him. "I'm giving the next talk."
"You already gave your talk, and followed me to my mystic sanctum." He told me. "I need you to leave."
"Before I go, I need to see that TEDx talk." I told him. He sighed and pushed a button, bringing down a 20 foot tall television screen that linked to his mind. Or a smart phone. I'm not sure.
So here I am, sweating profusely both on and off camera, watching myself address a crowd of hundreds with a speech I do not remember giving. I do remember the bartender telling me "they go in big for tech bullshit," and that, dear reader, is apparently what I went with.
"What can we tell about the future?" I was saying on the giant screen. The crowd was already enthralled.
"It'll be hot. And people will have smart phones." I paused. Everyone was in tacit agreement, nodding and resting heavy chins in the cups of fingers. They leaned closer, undivided attention all focusing on the sweaty rant ahead.
"So if it's hot, and in the developing world, people will need fewer bridges. Probably so many fewer bridges that they won't build as many bridges. Then, when a rainy season comes - because water is important - someone will need to build a bridge."
I paused. I had this in the bag. The bartender had told me, and I'd gathered from the listening, that these jokers loved global warming, smart phones, the developing world, and... one other thing. I visibly paused, trying to think of what it was.
"With a 3D printer." I said, remembering. Assent rumbled through the crowed. Tech visionaries envisioned a brighter future. Seven billion dollars were pushed on unsubstantiated rumors that Meg Whitman was pumping money into a startup that printed bridges. A Kennedy had to be excused from the room.
There was one other thing I was missing. I saw my mind racing - probably due to the giant, impossibly high-def screen in Garriott's house. I blathered onward, pressing on in true TED style, with no regard whatsoever for detail or externality.
Suddenly, I recovered! "So, to sum it up - Social networking. Twitter phone 3D printing for global warming river problems." I said.
I received a standing ovation.