For eons, our planet has drifted as a spaceship through the universe. And for a brief moment, we have been its passengers. Yet in that time, we’ve made tremendous progress in our ability to record and share knowledge. So let’s journey back 40,000 years to the dawn of recorded history. We’ll trace the path of communications from its earliest beginnings to the promise of the future.
We have reached the dawn of recorded time, an age when mammoth creatures roam the land. But with spoken language, the ancient hunters learn to work together and meet the challenges of this hostile world.
In primal tribes, the skills of survival are passed on to new generations through the art of storytelling. Not trusting this knowledge to memory alone, our ancestors create a lasting reminder with cave paintings.
Ages later, stories and knowledge are transcribed in complex pictures and symbols. Hieroglyphics mark the rise of written language and soon with papyrus scrolls, the written word begins to travel out across the land.
The value of writing for accurate record keeping appeals to Phoenician merchants. They create an alphabet. Simple enough for any to learn, and share this new tool at ports along the Mediterranean.
In classic Greece, the alphabet grows and flowers with new expression and a new stage of storytelling emerges; a stage on which we examine our world and ourselves. The theater is born.
The Romans build a mighty system of roads, a long distance network to carry laws and tidings over a far reaching empire.
Glorious Rome falls victim to the flames of excess. Ages of knowledge are lost or forgotten in the ashes.
But all is not lost, for Islamic and Jewish scholars continue to preserve ancient wisdom in noble libraries. In their travels, they record knowledge, and share their findings with cultures east and west.
In western abbeys, monks toil endlessly transcribing ancient writings into hand penned books of revelation.
The dawn of the Renaissance brings a wondrous new machine, the printing press. Now books and authors flourish as never before.
The Renaissance, a time of renewed interest in the worlds of poetry and music, science, philosophy and art. Behold, the majesty of the Sistine ceiling.
On this wave of inspiration, we sail into a bold, new era. An age of astounding inventions and ever increasing progress in communications.
With electronic communications we can send messages instantly over long distances. Signals and voices criss-cross the nation. Radio and movies inform and entertain millions. Then television brings the world into our homes profoundly changing our perceptions of life itself.
Instant communications create an ever-increasing flow of facts and figures. To manage this growing storehouse of information, we invent the computer. A revolutionary tool made practical by the tiny transistor.
Today, we’re merging the technologies of communications and computers to store, process and share information. And we’re creating a vast electronic network stretching from our homes to the reaches of space.
We have entered a wondrous new age, the age of information. A time of new promise and new hope for ourselves and Spaceship Earth.
Today, our search for understanding is unbounded by space and time. Centuries of information stand ready to reach us in an instant. Our link with the past, our hope for the future.
In the information age, our knowledge and tools of communication will continue to grow and improve. We’ll discover new ways to share our ideas and dreams, to create a better world for today, tomorrow and Tomorrow’s Child.
Yes, Tomorrow’s Child, embodying our hopes and dreams for the future. A future made possible by the information age. The technologies of this new era will extend our reach, expand the capabilities of the human mind and help us shape a better tomorrow.
Ours is a time of unprecedented choice and opportunity; so let us explore and question and understand. Let us learn from our past and meet the challenges of the future, let us go forth and fulfill our destiny on Spaceship Earth.