a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


My life list: Perils to survive


My life list: Owning things
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

You know, in terms of things to own, that's a very short list. There's been very few things I've actually wanted to own and most of them I have. And they're things like a theodolite or an amphibious car. But I have always wanted to own a mine. I don't know why. I sort of do. The Long Now Foundation owns a mine, but that's not quite the same. The only thing I've actually got on my list that I really want to own that I haven't is an island. For some reason, that's always appealed to me. And I guess another unfinished one is a good library, but that's probably always unfinished by definition. And then foods, pretty much I've eaten all the foods that were on my list. Things like truffles and fugu and abalone and absinthe and... yes, those are all in the done category.

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: ownership, theodolite, amphibious car, food, library

Duration: 1 minute, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017