Peter Weyland at TED2023: I will change the world

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Comments (159)

  • J P commented on Feb 28 2012

    We know it’s from the future, because all the colors are washed out.

  • Torin Essex commented on Feb 28 2012

    (quick writeup of his speech)

    T. E. Lawrence, abominably of arabia but very much an englishman, favoured pinching a burning match between his fingers to put it out.
    When asked by his collegue William Potter to reveal his trick, how is it he so effectively extinguished the flame without hurting himself what-so-ever, Lawerance just smiled and said the trick Potter, is not minding it hurts. (laugh)

    The fire that danced at the end of that match was a gift from the Titan Prometheus a gift that he stole from the gods. When Prometheus was caught and brought to justice for his theft, the gods, well you might say, they over reacted a little.

    Poor man was tied to a rock as an eagle ripped through his belly and at his liver over and over. Day after Day. Ad Infinitum.

    All because he gave us fire. Our first true peice of technology. Fire.
    100,000 BC – Stone tools.
    4,000 BC – The wheel.
    9th Centuary AD – Gun powder. Bit of a game changer that one.
    19th Centuary – Eureka! The light bulb!
    20th Centuary – The Automobile, Television, Nuclear Weapons, Space Craft, Internet.
    21st Centuary – BioTech, NanoTech, Fusion and Fission and M Theory.

    And that was just the first Decade! We are now three months into the year of our lord, 2023. At this moment in our civilization we can create cybernetic individuals. Who, in just a few short years, will be completely indistinguisable from us. Which leads to an obvious conclusion, we, are the gods now.

    For those of you who know me, you will be aware by now that my ambition is unlimited. You know that I will settle for nothing short of greatness. Or I will die trying.
    For those of you who do not yet know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Peter Weyland. And if you’ll indulge me I’d like to change the world.

    Link in the twitter feed on the screen : (thanks to Brian Franklin)

    • Paul Horgan commented on Feb 29 2012

      eponymously not abominably

      • Torin Essex commented on Mar 14 2012

        Thanks Paul, ’twas a rushed writeup, doesn’t seem I can edit it now unfortunately, drat it.

    • David Dorton commented on Feb 29 2012

      Biotech, Nanotech, Fusion, Fission and M Theory in the first decade of the 21st century? I’m not well informed in these areas – did we have breakthroughs in all of these areas between between 2000/2010 and 2001/2011, or is this part of the fiction?

      • Roel Zylstra commented on Mar 25 2012

        No, we had a breakthrough in fission in 1945. ;)

  • ivan cosic commented on Feb 28 2012

    Interesting excursion to the future…

    But wrong on several levels, questioning the very values of TED.

    1) TED is all about sharing the ideas, not promoting personals or organisations or corporations. This video is all about promoting a person and his company. (no matter he wants to change to world.
    2) TED is all about personal touch with the audience, TEDx is limited in number of participants, this video expands the audience in huge arena.
    3) TED talks are about hearing something completely and absolutely new, this talk’s majority is composed out of the known stuff, with the twist at the end…
    – – –
    Questions at the end are if TED becoming part of this movie will lead to great exposure and recognition of TED for movie fans, or will movie get more from aligning its “scientific” parts with TED inspiring ideas, and will this “presentation” of TED inside the movie will set wrong ideas about the TED for people not heard about TED before…

    • Chris Woollcott commented on Feb 29 2012

      My first reaction: you’re overreacting. My second: you are absolutely right. Let us pray that what has happened to everyone from McCain to Alicia Keys doesn’t happen to TED!

    • William Thatis commented on Feb 29 2012

      I think with a few short click and browsing the TED archives, I think they will get the right idea. At least hopefully eventually. I think it is a brilliant collaboration. I think this was the production crews way of presenting at TED. WHy have big conferences anymore? We have the web. I’ve never been to a TED, and Im jealous. SOmeday I hope to go. But having not been there, I have benefited greatly from the videos they made of the talks. Genius! If a stunt like this gets TED promotion, so be it, if it is promoting a movie, so be it. The movie falls right in line with the entertainment mission of TED. The E in TED? I was entertained. Maybe in 2013 they will give a real TED talk about this media campaign they are pulling and everyone’s reaction to it in a big massive study when progressive and innovative ideas are pushed into a very blurry state of imagination and reality through the different entertainment arenas, media and genre.

      I think the totally made a win.

    • Juan Marcos Perez Gulin commented on Feb 29 2012

      Interesting final reflection on where is actually TED going…

    • Eelko de Vos commented on Feb 29 2012

      TED is about Technology, which this is clearly about. It’s about Entertainment, which is also somewhat covered here. And Design. I think I see that too.

      However, TED is based in the real world, not some imaginary character from an imaginary future. So you do have a point.

      If this is an unset to Ridley Scott telling us the background of this movie, backed up with a handful of very smart scientists, showing us where we are going: I’m hooked.
      If this is a blatant commercial, I’m a bit disappointed. It needs a follow-up in our real world, with a philosophical debate on where these ideas came from and where they may lead us.

      Mind you: I’ve bought myself a napsack and a sleeping bag so I’ll be one of the first to view Prometheus.

    • Romain Nervil commented on Feb 29 2012

      You are making very good points here. However I think the purpose of this “talk” is indeed to play with the rules, and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Should they add a disclaimer at the beginning, or even get rid of the TED logo to abide by every rule? No! The whole point is to create a seamless experience. I actually wish they would include this as a talk on directly, at least for the next couple of years!
      Setting the scene in the future is a great opportunity to:
      1- Cheekily frighten us with what TED could become
      2- Warn us about where the unchecked technological progress can lead
      3- Raise the bar of transmedia storytelling to a whole other level
      4- Remind us the importance to always look for more information. Context, goals, clues, comments… I am glad this talk falls in an area gray enough so people question its legitimacy.

      Overall this talk sparked a great deal of very different conversations spanning from TED’s mission, format, and independence, to marketing, technology, entertainment, all the way to Alien fandom. Way to go, if Weyland is Jobs-like in this talk, that makes the minds behind it Draper-like!

      • Dameion Alston commented on Feb 29 2012

        The do add a disclaimer, under the title, it says that it’s by “Prometheus Director Ridley Scott”.

  • Lincoln Smith commented on Feb 28 2012

    A brilliant method for setting the stage… leave it to Ridley Scott to illustrate to what degree man’s ingenuity & optimism can cloak his hubris.

  • Christian Fowler commented on Feb 28 2012

    Strange this comes only a day or so after the leak of Guy Pearce’s character name in Prometheus… hmmm… strange….

  • Piotr Kubiak commented on Feb 28 2012

    Robots indistinguishable from humans “in a few short years” from 2023 … Yeah right ;)

  • Chris McGeehan commented on Feb 28 2012

    It took me until the Weyland logo at the end to realise that this isnt Ridley Scott envisaging a future TED talk (where did the arena venue come from, the lack of multimedia and somewhat malignant aura of the speaker, TED’s changed a lot in 11 years?) it’s just a marketing scheme for Prometheus. Perhaps that should be explicitly pointed out? Is it? (might not show on my iPhone)

    • Chris McGeehan commented on Feb 28 2012

      Also is the guy supposed to be 23? If he was born at the ‘turn of the millenia’ (in the bio) or is the date not 2023?

      • Dameion Alston commented on Feb 29 2012

        The “turn” doesn’t mean “to the day”.

    • Daniel Figucio commented on Feb 29 2012

      IMHO, this IS Ridley Scott envisaging a future TED talk – as it would exist in his particular vision of the future expressed in Prometheus – no reason why it can’t be both. This represents a very good example of cross channel marketing – after all, you didn’t know until it finished, so it got you hooked – or, it could be taken as a warning – after all, note the audience reactions throughout the talk.

      I am sure that Sir Ridley’s vision of a TED talk as it would exist in say, Blade Runner, would be different again. A lot wetter, for example.

    • William Thatis commented on Feb 29 2012

      Are you kidding me!? You obviously missed the talk where the guy tried to distill all of the TED talks to just six words. Outsourced it, did all this great research, for nothing but to find something that was already done. TED talks in six words, “Technology, Entertainment and Design: Ideas Worth Spreading.” I would say this video, or clever “trailer”, fell square within the Entertainment category. I question your familiarity with the Alien franchise. You saw how well the movies did right? Legends! Have you read any of the books, read any of the comics? So many of these stories are whole universes, right here within our own. This movie is going to run away with our imaginations right smack dab into reality! And when a bad ass artists, writers, actors and production crew, pop up like the ones who made this video, present their work in a way you’re not used to, leaves you intrigued and searching for information, that is the brilliance of this talk. Proxy character building through vague parameters of our conscious effort to keep our imagination in check and our reality in checker… This will be better than when the War of the Worlds was played on radio and everyone thought it was real. The scary thing about this new Prometheus movie is the eerie similarity to what our own world is becoming. I think that is the beauty of this subtle “publicity stunt” as people may lean to call it. That is the genius of TED. The whole point of TED is to demonstrate that we’ve overcome great obstacles, we’re pushing further and further the bounds of our knowledge, while at the same time trying to grip with the speed of “progress” and wondering if we should be “progressing” so fast. A portrait of the liberal and conservative “war” in a nutshell right there! I think this is a beautiful example of someone presenting at TED in ways that average people can hardly anticipate. They want you to look it up! Everyone is capable of finding the information they need, that is the great thing about the web, it is alive with HUMAN activity beyond what anything people thought they could in the past. A few saw it coming, tried to teach us, to warn us, to guide us and chide us, but a few has always been many to few. Even if it is a make believe scenario, a shameless commercial promotion, nothing he said ISN’T true! Everything he is talking about is on our horizon! Haven’t you been paying attention!? Everything TED stands for, technology, entertainment and design, has made this alternate universe that Ridley Scott wishes to entertain us with into what it is. This is an intro to Ridley Scott’s intention with this movie. This will be on par with ‘Aliens’. Well, one can only hope, but my confidence is strong if this video and the actual trailer is any indication. And if Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t in it, well then it is a pile of donkey excrement. But it will be a hellagood pile of donkey excrement. Kudos team!

  • derry wyatt commented on Feb 28 2012

    When the montsers become gods, new monsters must be found to fill the void.

  • Brian Franklin commented on Feb 28 2012

    If anyone is curious, there is what seems like a twitter stream around 0:54, which contains a link that goes to the Prometheus trailer on

  • David Evans commented on Feb 28 2012

    Nice change up by TED, sort of reminds me of the videos of talks that our new CEO at General Instruments- Donald Rumsfeld use to send up to New York branch. This was in 1991 and some later years. Inspiring, but in sort of an Orwellian ominous way. Selling every thing from satellite technology to hand held bet-mates betting devices would be used to promote the General Instruments agendas. “We were like gods!!”

  • Wojciech Woźniak commented on Feb 28 2012

    Very nice :D

  • David Thomson commented on Feb 28 2012

    Great stuff! It will make a great teaching aid for my course, “Applied Megalomania.”

  • Cindy Gallop commented on Feb 28 2012

    Open challenge – fill in the blank, brands/companies/corporations watching this at TED: ‘_____. Why 2023 won’t be like 2023.’ Which one of you will it be, to change the world in the right kind of way?

  • Addel Perdomo commented on Feb 28 2012


  • Aash Bhandari commented on Feb 28 2012

    …I don’t think most of the people watching this realized that this is the first bit of the viral campaign for Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, which now clearly ties into the world from “Alien” and “Aliens”

  • Sam Who commented on Feb 28 2012


    When I was in high school I would have really enjoyed this. But now that I’m a bit older and have seen this sort of thing (the Great Man, the English accent, the literary allusion, the Big Speech, the huge adoring audience, the Future, blah blah blah…) a million times, it’s pretty damned boring. It’s at once amazing and also unsurprising that something so unoriginal and cliché can wow supposedly sophisticated people over and over.

    • Asad Quraishi commented on Feb 28 2012

      Sam, maybe you don’t mean it but your are such a downer.

      On another note, we’d expect nothing less than a sleek add from Ridley Scott – which he delivered. Weyland makes me think of Jobs.

    • J P commented on Feb 28 2012

      Completely agree. There’s nothing new in Hollywood anymore.

    • C B commented on Mar 26 2012

      Agreed. Where is Al Pacino when we need him?

    • Michael Lawrence commented on Apr 14 2012

      Sam, you need a hobby to depart from you misery … gosh, it’s just a movie, why so much negativity? I have to disagree that you have seen this a “million times” as you so eloquently put it; you did not, we did not … I think Ridley Scott is an exceptional director and Guy Pearce “nailed it;” the speech was brilliant.

  • Markus Pansegrau commented on Feb 28 2012

    So the father of the ALIEN is speaking. Finally!

  • William Ryan commented on Feb 28 2012

    Some of this in the next decade or two won’t be science fiction anymore… chills

    • karey gochoel commented on Mar 2 2012

      tx for your brilliant synopsis

  • Under The Hill commented on Feb 28 2012

    Boo. Not captioned or subtitled for the deaf. :(

    • Tom Rielly commented on Feb 28 2012

      TED’s history is to subtitle everything. We did not receive the final piece until the last minute. I will ask the team if it is possible.

      • Under The Hill commented on Jun 6 2012

        Still not captioned/subtitled. :(

  • peter dooley commented on Feb 28 2012