Natasha Tsakos
The Age of Magic
TEDxSanDiego 2015

I was five when I fell down the rabbit hole called theatre. It was extraordinary. It was a make-believe world in which anything was possible. It’s been my laboratory for abstracting, composing, decomposing, dismantling systematic ways of doing anything, and I’m so happy to be here with you today.

That’s how fast I feel everything is moving. It’s as though we’ve zoomed out of our time-space continuum and experiencing life on cosmic proportions. Centuries turn into years, years into minutes. Blink. That’s how long we’ve been here, if we were to put history on a one year scale.

We are a fourth of a second old, and every year goes by faster. The universe is expanding, technology accelerating, content exploding. We are producing and capturing more data everyday than was ever seen by anyone since the beginning of the earth.

So let’s play. Let’s imagine the future no one can predict. Let’s disrupt our imaginations a little bit. We’ve been running on automatic. We were the operators operating, the computers computing. We were the machines of the industrial age. Then came the information age. Now comes the magic age.
The external is being internalized. The material has dematerialized and insinuated itself into the fabric of our lives. Today, the smallest controllable transistor is an atom large.

Scientists have created a physical model of a brain that can educate itself. Robots can learn from watching YouTube videos. Google cars have self-driven over a million miles and NASA is investigating flying air taxis.

We can 3D print homes, brains, lungs, tumors, and with Oculus Rift, Magic Leap, HoloLens, you name it, it’s a race as to who will pop your virtual and augmented reality cherry.
If this then that, and what is next? Hold your breath. Count to three.

2020. Food will become the new social. Send a dish to your mother you’ve concocted digitally. She’s 3D print it to suit her biology. Factories will become everyone’s business. Design will affect everything.
2021. With a trillion sensors and 100 billion connected devices, objects will develop personalities and talk to one another.

Your door will anticipate your departure, miss you when you’re gone, talk to the cocktail maker, and greet you accordingly. Mirrors will even develop consciousness.

2022. We will take breaks and holidays and virtual realities. AI travel agents will become experience jockeys, creating playlists of jubilees. Wake up in Bali, lunch in Paris, concert in Vienna, party in New York City.

This will be the pivotal moment in human history. We will no longer be bound to the third dimension.
2023. Reality will be augmented everywhere we go. Any surface will be the surface for another surface. Everyone will move like a performance artist.

2024. We will tune sound and senses out of thin air, make the sound of the rain a little crisper, enhance the smell of the pine leaves, mute the baby crying, please.

2025. We will vapor print clouds of all shapes and colors and drones will harvest them for water. There will be flying gardens in the sky.

2026. The beginning of biobotics. There will be clones of ourselves around the world, not just as avatars, but in robotic form.

2027. Scientists will revive extinct species that will be kept in zoos, unfortunately.

2028. Terrestrials will remotely make rockets, homes, micro planets in space from space.

2029. We will manicure our nails with video screen polish, augment our physicalities, implant fins, wings. Our skins will grow grass and flowers. We will become self-sustainable biological gardeners.
2030. If sick, we will operate on our own body, travel across trillions of cells, target tumors, deploy nanobots. The ultimate healthy reality virtual game.

2040. Countries, cities, will disappear. Buildings, homes, units, will turn into autonomous mobile bodies and never stop, like a giant assembling/disassembling Lego block.

2045. Scientists will have found a black hole in a nanocell. Everything will be put in question again. Could the universe exist in a grain of sand?

I was five when I fell down the rabbit hole called theatre. It was extraordinary. It was a make-believe world in which anything was possible. It’s shaped my brain’s neuroplasticity. It’s been my laboratory for abstracting, composing, decomposing, dismantling systematic ways of doing anything.

Blink. And theatre is everywhere. It’s transcended its space. The world is a connected, dynamic, interactive, multi-medium, convergent stage. Paul Saffo said, “Innovation is an irrational act.”

It is. Innovation is art, because it takes fiction writers to inspire science. It takes performance artists to evoke emotions and provoke change. It takes athletes to push neuroscience and biology. It takes choreographers to create new patterns and geometry. It takes people who think differently to create a different world.

We’ve been running on automatic. We were the operators operating, computers computing, but the universe is expanding, content exploding, technology accelerating, automating, robotizing our very beings.

We are on the brink of a massive human transformational shift. How do we innovate and adapt? By snapping out of our machine state. By disrupting everything with creativity, and creativity is not a gift. It’s an attitude that you practice.

One, suspend your disbelief. Give yourself permission to think out your craziest dreams. The biggest breakthroughs were once crazy ideas.

Two, surprise yourself. Surprise others. Never fall into a routine. Surprise your own processes. Surprise will make you unpredictable, and that is what we need.

Three, [speaks in Swahili] That was Swahili. Stretch beyond your comfort zone.

Four, immerse yourself in the world you want to be in. This is how your brain will train, how you will fool yourself into believing it is possible. You all have embedded virtual reality headsets called imagination. Use it.

Five, code your reality, or else you’ll become the pixel, the vector, of someone else’s story.
Six, play, play, play. Find playfulness with everything. Linda Naiman said, “When we engage in what we’re naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play, and it is play that stimulates creativity.”

When we are passionate about something, we do not count the minutes, the hours, spent. We will dedicate a decade, a lifetime, to what matters.

We can’t fear the future with a present mindset. We must ask ourselves questions we do not know the answers to, to invent. We should disrupt ourselves to grow.

You, too, have a theatre in your mind. So jump down the rabbit hole and make the future no one can predict.