Welcome to your Future – A review of Tomorrow’s World Live

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Tomorrow's World is BBC TV's flagship science series which has been running since July 1965. All UK based h2g2 researchers will be able to tell you who presented it when they were young1. It prophesies the future in all its shapes and forms with new gadgets and inventions that might just change our lives. The programme now attracts a weekly audience of over 6 million viewers in the UK and over 40 million worldwide.

Before a review of the live event based on the show, lets delve back into the h2g2 files and find our more about the connections:

  • April 1999:Information
    We're all about to head off to the recording of Tomorrow's World for our launch.

Here's what happened next:

  • Pastey
    I saw DNA on Tomorrows World, waited a week or two for the inevitable rush to die down and then signed up. I haven't looked back since.

  • Cheerful Dragon
    I was watching Tomorrow's World. When the website was announced, I went and registered straight away.

  • C Hawke
    I saw DNA on Tomorrow's World.

  • Dancing Ermine
    I had heard about it after watching Tomorrow's World and thought it was a good idea.

  • Ginger the Feisty
    If I hadn't been playing a silly computer game that night I would have been watching something on telly that wasn't Tomorrow’s World, so I would never have known about h2g2

  • Ginger's Bloke
    How did you find this place? BBC television programme Tomorrows World.

  • Jim the Wonder Llama
    I watch far too much TV and saw it on TW. I rushed to a computer to try and log on, but just got a busy message instead. So I waited until I got back to Uni to try and apply.

  • Big Mad Mr T and his reliably unreliable sidekick IE5!
    After watching the aptly named 'Tomorrow's World' yesterday, I decided (today) to find out what on Earth (literally) this h2g2 malarky is.

h2g2 On The Move featured on TW in April this year and brought a whole new crop of researchers to the site a year after the launch.

The TW Live event is partly funded by the UK government to encourage standards to be raised in education and also in career aspirations. This means a free annual invite for your POST researcher to see a vision of the future - the science, technology, engineering and innovation. And hey! You can never have too many free promotional pens, frisbees and T shirts.

Last year's show was very much a 'boys and their electronic toys' event. but was very wide ranging in its scope, and stuck firmly to the style of the programme. This year over 50% was devoted to the internet, and this gave it more of a trade show feel rather than anything to do with TW. Poor Peter Snow, the presenter on TV, was to be found languishing in a corner. Last year there was a centre arena with TW presentations.

First stop was a visit to the 'Making Music' stage, where Midge Ure gave a brief performance. This was to demonstrate the application of technology and engineering which is behind today's music. After that, a wander round.
'Planet Internet' took up half the floor space in the arena. It was a specially created portal to the World Wide Web. Popular stands included the ones that gave free access to the internet. Did people surf? No! They read and sent email. Some of the screens were projected large above people's heads so it was possible to read their email jokes - until some kind soul pointed it out to them of course. The POST was very careful to queue for a computer that didn't have this, and, in the interests of research of course, logged on to h2g2 to add a journal entry. It was done to test the BT broadband. Verdict? It's very quick.

A keen young man tried to introduce a web community. You could register, get an identity, and a home page. Even see who was online. Anyone could drop by, see your interests, and join in a conversation. The POST made excuses and left.

'Inventing Tomorrow' was a vision of how today's young view their future. Young visitors were asked to draw an invention, and these were on display. This researcher was particularly taken with the idea of platform shoes with a hidden space that you could keep your money in. No more dancing round your handbag!
The highlight was a quick personal chat to Johnny Ball, who was just observing the maths demonstrations instead of actually doing them, although it's his company. What a lovely man, and a childhood hero of many UK researchers.

Whilst it might be true that no interactive, innovation-themed event would be complete without significant space devoted to the greatest commercial revolution in recent times, in this researchers opinion the internet theme was too dominating for a show based on TW. People want to see innovations too and the 'Inventor's Fair' was given a minor part. The biggest queue at the show was for the 'James Bond: Fact or Fiction' area. which gave a chance to see how real some of those incredible gadgets could be. The POST could not get near it all day! The organisers should learn something from this.

The internet may be the future, but as TW always demonstrates, the future will be more than the internet.

03.07.00. Front Page

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1This researcher admits to Raymond Baxter and James Burke in the days before anyone was setting foot on the moon, let alone researching the galaxy

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