The present is the future of the past

“Today’s robot is controlled by computer, rather than magician. It is an attempt to realize one of man’s most sophisticated ideas: the embodiment in a machine of that which we call themind.”

That commentary is part of a 1968 video touting an robot from MIT. Nearly 50 years later, robots are becoming commonplace and scientists, researchers, policymakers and businesses are using artificial intelligence in education, healthcare, urban planning and more.

Early video captured a lot of futuristic plans: 1990s New York, imagined in 1930; elevated city airports; and even “day to night” fashion (now a staple of the wardrobes of professional women.) Society needs measurable targets to work toward, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

But innovation and advancement often emerge from crazy and creative fantasies that don’t subscribe to benchmarks and timelines.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: MIT/TIME

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