Palm Springs only: Interview with Chris Hughes [Updated 6/25]

Posted by: Matthew Trost

Note from TED, 6/25: In light of issues surrounding Chris Hughes’ appearance at TED, we’ve decided to withdraw statements from the text of this interview which are misleading or may have been incorrect. Please see this blog entry for details.

Chris Hughes: My real big Internet claim to fame is the fact that I was first to jailbreak the iPhone. So that was the sort of big, awesome software. I’ve done some very interesting things, but that was the big deal.

I’ve done some things that had societal impact. The iPhone hack stuff changed the dynamic. It forced Apple to release SDKs, to change the path, to think broad. It’s really nice. I really worked hard to get this to work. And now there’s this entire ecosystem developing around it. It’s really satisfying. People say, “But you could make so much money!” But I do OK. It’s not about that.

Comments (29)

  • j lee commented on Jun 26 2009

    TED organizers, it is your responsibility to set the record straight on this issue. You need to state clearly that Chris Hughes tried to take credit for work that he did not do in his TED talk, then lied in his post-talk interview trying to cover up his ass.

    Look at the evidence, it’s 100% clear that Chris Hughes tried to pass himself off as some kind of Flash AR guru, when all he did was modify someone else’s code and then pretended as if he was responsible for the Flash AR technology, including the specialized Papervision3D and FLARToolkit libraries needed to make Flash AR work.

    Until TED makes it crystal clear what Chris Hughes did, this issue will remain contentious and unresolved. This is the least you should do for not carrying out your proper due diligence in the first place and allowing this mess to happen.

    The people at HIT Lab USA and HIT Lab NZ are the real brains behind ARToolkit. You should contact one of the true pioneers like Mark Billinghurst to talk about AR at TED.

  • j lee commented on Jun 26 2009

    Look at this post that Chris Hughes made on January 15, 2009:

    So on January 15 2009, Chris Hughes clearly knew that Papervision3D and FLARToolkit was needed to create Flash-enabled augmented reality.

    So, how is it that in February 2009, on the TED stage, Chris Hughes CONVENIENTLY forgets all about Papervision3D and FLARToolkit, and dishonestly claims to be the brains behind Flash-enabled augmented reality?

    Be a man and tell the truth, Chris Hughes.

  • j lee commented on Jun 26 2009

    Note that Chris Hughes TED talk was recorded in February 2009, but only placed on the TED website a few days ago. This means that Chris Hughes had 4 MONTHS to put things straight and yet he CHOSE TO LIE THROUGH HIS TEETH, including lying on his post-talk interview.

    Chris Hughes says that he “ported the Java version of ARToolkit over to Flash.” AR Flash developers all know CHRIS HUGHES IS LYING. FLARToolkit was ported over from the Java version by Saqoosha (Tomohiko Koyama), an interactive developer based in Japan.

    Chris Hughes claims all this is a mistake and he didn’t mean it. However, if you look at the evidence, it’s clear that everything Chris Hughes did was PREMEDITATED. He planned then carried out his fraudulent scheme: from lying to get on TED, to lying on stage at TED, to lying at his post-talk interview – all on the back of other people’s work, believing he would not get caught. And he hid this lie for 4 MONTHS.

    Chris Hughes, you did get caught. YOU ARE A LIAR AND A FRAUD.

  • j lee commented on Jun 26 2009

    If you want to learn how to use FLARToolkit to make Flash-enabled augmented reality, just read the following tutorials:



    If you download the code that Chris Hughe’s put on his blog for his TED talk, you will realise that he just modified the code from the above tutorials, and then went on TED claiming that he created Flash-enabled augmented reality.

    The bottomline is, Chris Hughes lied to get on TED. Once on the TED stage, he further lied saying that he was responsible for the technology behind Flash-enabled augmented reality, when he knew all along that he had nothing to do with creating the FLARToolkit or Papervision3D software libraries.

    Chris Hughes tried to take credit for work he did not do. And now he is refusing to acknowledge that he lied on stage at TED.

    Just imagine at the next Augmented Reality or Adobe Flash Developer conference: Chris Hughes is going to be a huge laughing stock.

    • cris heir commented on Jun 25 2009

      I think this is exaggerated: the video went down already; you cant chase it off the tubes. Only this interview has to go, because it stands here giving authority to the false claims Chris so arrogantly made.

      Regain your credibility: this interview contains false claims, it has no room on TED.

      • j lee commented on Jun 26 2009

        It is TED and Chris Hughes’ responsibility to ensure that this shameful video is removed from the net completely, or at least include a disclaimer that says that the video contains falsehoods. Otherwise, they are both responsible for spreading lies on the net.

  • j lee commented on Jun 24 2009

    At least the TED organizers are humble enough to admit their mistake and apologize.

    Meanwhile, look at Chris Hughes’ blog posting, boasting about how he cornered TED organizers into letting him talk at the conference, and how he achieved his dream of speaking at TED. Enjoy it Chris, because it’s unlikely you will EVER AGAIN be invited to speak at ANY conference after this moronic fiasco.

    It’s a good thing that Ralph Hauwert called Chris Hughes out on this con, otherwise who knows how much more damage this egomaniac would have caused. If I was Chris Hughes’ boss, I would sack him for bringing my company’s reputation into disrepute.

    People like Chris Hughes are the poster childs for the ills of modern day America: love of celebrity without any CHARACTER. American Idol contestants are more important than the millions of people who dedicate their lives to real useful and valuable contributions to society.

    Grow up, Chris. Grow a pair of cojones.

  • Ralph Hauwert commented on Jun 24 2009

    I still think a rectification should be placed for the following two things :

    1) This demo is not “based” off FLARToolkit & Papervision3D. It’s a modified tutorial (which Chris didn’t build) for using FLARToolkit & Papervision3D. What Chris shows is exactly what the two pieces of software do out of the box : Marker detection and 3D graphics in Flash.

    2) The statement Chris made in this interview : “And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash. ” is false. This is exactly what FLARToolkit is used for, and he had no hand in this. It’s a very open claim to doing something he proves himself not doing, by posting the source code to the modified tutorial code.

  • j lee commented on Jun 24 2009

    TED organizers, where is your due diligence? Shame on you and shame on Chris Hughes.

    The really sad part is that Chris Hughes didn’t even bother to change the AR marker image he used in his TED talk, he is using Saqoosha’s original “hiro” marker. Furthermore, if you look at the code he put up on his blog, it’s a straight copy and paste of Saqoosha’s and Miko H.’s code! Makes me sick, this. Chris Hughes is not even really apologetic, he’s just trying to cover his ass!

    TED should remove Chris Hughes video on their site, it’s just a mockery of everything the open source and FLARToolkit community stands for. It’s people like Chris who cause the real innovators like Saqoosha to have second thoughts on sharing their work via open source, which would be a great loss to the open source community.

    A tale of two fools this: Chris Hughes and TED organizers. Chris Hughes, a fool for trying to con the world, and TED organizers for allowing TED to be the platform for the con.

  • r r commented on Jun 24 2009

    btw Chris …..
    I have to say good job on diggin’ your own hole. :)
    Am very excited to see what you “port” next.

  • r r commented on Jun 24 2009

    Sorry to say this Chris but its just pathetic you try to fix your FAIL! with comments here…
    Using some opensource frameworks and juggle them together DOES NOT mean you create cutting edge technoligy. What you did was just a simple cut and paste. So imo you should not even be up there in the first place! ( but i think thats a bigtime TED FAIL! )….
    Well i wish you good luck in your future of copying and pasting other peoples codes………….

    ahumFAIL! :)

  • cris heir commented on Jun 24 2009

    I wonder how he dared state that he ported ARToolkit, and then posted his sources …. in a strange world, it would be possible that he had made his own port, ignoring saqoosha’s work … but he posted those sources, proving himself a liar.

    Chris, what were you thinking when you gave this interview? Really.

    We all see that you see yourself as a great researcher, but where is your research here? Where exactly is your contribution?

    Finally, this interview contains a few (intentionally) false statements. It doesn’t even correspond to the updated summary anymore (the ARToolkit porting claims and the FLARToolkit mention are an oxymoron). I think it would be a rather responsible move on the part of TED to remove this interview from the website, for it serves self-promotional purposes, abusing this noble platform and mocking its ideals.

  • Dmitry Fedorov commented on Jun 24 2009

    The following statement: “And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash.” – is just a blatant lie. I do believe Chris should not only to get credits to original authors, but to apologize to the TED and AS communities for lying so shamelessly.

    • r r commented on Jun 24 2009

      Absolutely agree with dimitry on this one.

  • Ralph Hauwert commented on Jun 23 2009

    Something which should be clarified is that Chris his presentation wasn’t “based” upon Papervision3D & FLARToolkit, it was a demo of Papervision3D & FLARToolkit, using a modified tutorial. I think there’s a difference of basing your work on something and demoing it, and factually that makes the first paragraph of this interview incorrect.

    This combined with the claim “And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash.” is blatant plagiarism.

  • Matthew Trost commented on Jun 23 2009

    An update on Chris Hughes’ TEDTalk:


    • Blake Callens commented on Jun 23 2009

      Could you also please resolve the following line from this article:

      “Folks ported it from C, which is what it’s written on, onto Java. And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash.”

      It is simply not true, since Saqoosha made the port from Java.

      • makc3d says commented on Jun 23 2009

        do not delete anything. this would be needless cover-up and only confuse people further.

        • Blake Callens commented on Jun 23 2009

          I didn’t mean to cover up the statement, just a retraction at the end of the article.

  • Martin Heidegger commented on Jun 23 2009

    In the code Hughes posted I don’t see a single line of code stating he actually wrote anything(source by Mikko Haapoja, PV3D, ascollada and Libspark). What did Hughes actually write again?

    There is furthermore no license statement in the code or on his website which means its not opensource (whatever his part was). In fact the code from Mikko actually doesn’t state that its open source. Did he get allowance from Mikko?

    It shows what few respect Hughes has for TED. Putting so little effort and taking the work of others without even mentioning is a assault on everything the work of those people stands for.

    It was great that he was able to speak at TED but he certainly abused the time that was given to him.

  • Gijsbert dos Santos commented on Jun 23 2009

    I’ve actually written a small paper on the usage of augmented reality for designing. The program I wrote as a proof-of-concept could make a 3d interpretation of racing tracks drawn within a square marker. If anyone is interested, both the paper and the code are available at http://grandmaster.student.utwente.nl/?page_id=24

  • Meinaart van Straalen commented on Jun 23 2009

    You really should have mentioned Papervision3D and FLARToolKit in both your presentation and interview. Not cool how you presented work of other people as your own (really wrong choice of words imho). Your reply makes up for it only a little.

  • Tyler Egeto commented on Jun 23 2009

    The fact that you’re using the FLARToolkit and Papervision3D really should have been made clear in the presentation and the interview posted here, I’m glad you clarified that in this comment. Thanks for that, as some of the phrasing implies otherwise. Things like “we took the Java port and made it work in Flash” really should have been “Saqoosha took the Java port and made it work in Flash” (Who’s a really cool dude by the way.)

    • Chris Hughes commented on Jun 23 2009

      You’re absolutely right and I’ve made it a point to say that FLARTookit and Papervision are the magic behind this demo in all subsequent mentions. The stuff I wrote (stacked video texture) source was included in the sourcecode zip.

  • Chris Hughes commented on Feb 5 2009

    Sourcecode for this demonstration will be posted very soon, it’ll be. One point that I wanted to make sure was conveyed was that I stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to software that I demoed. This project is based on FLARToolkit which was ported from Jartoolkit and ARToolkit before that, The 3D engine is the popular PaperVision3D used in flash with an opensource 3d collada model.

    Another point I didnt get a chance say in my limited time was that, if you happen to have a compelling idea about a use for what I’ve shown please post them here. Start the dialog!

    Chris Hughes – @chews

    • Carlos Ulloa commented on Jun 23 2009

      Wow Chris, how many lines did you actually write? Well done speaking at TED!

      • Christian Giordano commented on Jun 23 2009

        C’mon, I think he just confused the meaning of the word “port” with “copy and paste” and skipped a step, that can happen to anyone under high stress! :)

    • Michael Latzoni commented on Jun 23 2009

      Chris, you are totally misrepresenting the effort you put into these demos, which by the way, are pretty average examples of what can be done. Your comment states “This project is based on FLARToolkit”. Your project isn’t based on it; your project uses it completely. All you did was add the spaceship model and the video to a cube. In fact, it seems like all you did was just grabbed source code from a tutorial and add in your “media”.

      You should give full credit where it’s due. The fact that you added this comment to tack on the credit seems like a last minute attempt (and a pretty fail one at that). If you are such a big supporter of open software (as you say you are in your interview), giving credit to the open source community on which you “built” your project should have been one of the major points in your short talk and your interview.

      Also, giving credit to the guy who wrote the tutorial on which you based your entire project seems like the right thing to do as well.