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The wonderful vineyard in Napa


What happened to the giant robot dinosaur?
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
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It's actually interesting what happened to the large dinosaur, which is they... when I left, I asked if I could borrow it. And they said, 'Okay, you can borrow it for a year.' And then I asked them if they wanted it back and they didn't have any place to put it. So... then years and years later they asked for it back, but I was like, 'Well, I tried to give it back to you before and you wouldn't take it.' And they were, like, 'Well, we want it back now' and I was, like, 'I'm not sure I can find it. So, don't know. I do have a dinosaur around, it might be the same one, but I think that one got lost.'

W Daniel Hillis (b. 1956) is an American inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While doing his doctoral work at MIT under artificial intelligence pioneer, Marvin Minsky, he invented the concept of parallel computers, that is now the basis for most supercomputers. He also co-founded the famous parallel computing company, Thinking Machines, in 1983 which marked a new era in computing. In 1996, Hillis left MIT for California, where he spent time leading Disney’s Imagineers. He developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer product businesses. More recently, Hillis co-founded an engineering and design company, Applied Minds, and several start-ups, among them Applied Proteomics in San Diego, MetaWeb Technologies (acquired by Google) in San Francisco, and his current passion, Applied Invention in Cambridge, MA, which 'partners with clients to create innovative products and services'. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices (including a 10,000-year mechanical clock), and has recently moved into working on problems in medicine. In recognition of his work Hillis has won many awards, including the Dan David Prize.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes George Dyson

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: robot, dinosaur, Disneyland

Duration: 52 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017