Prometheus’ phony TED Talk can not anticipate just how we really feel concerning technology billionaires

A close-up shot of Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) in a tan suit and tie pinching his forefinger and thumb together while surrounded by an auditorium of people in a fake TED talk produced for the 2012 film Prometheus.

Image: 20th Century Studios

On Feb. 28, 2012, a video clip qualified “TED Conference, 2023” showed up on the site for the eponymous American-Canadian not-for-profit company. The fabricated, advanced discussion was the start of a viral advocate Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s then-upcoming effort at renewing the sci-fi scaries of the Alien franchise business with a high-minded innovator. But the video clip ended up being an odd feeling by itself.

Written by Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof and also routed by Ridley’s kid Luke Scott, the video clip starred Guy Pearce as a more youthful variation of his personality Peter Weyland, the plausible villain of the movie, providing a bold speech to a huge target market loaded right into Wembley Stadium, with drifting cams and also real-time responses scrolling throughout a huge estimate display. Prior to Prometheus, Weyland was the formerly undetected (and also long-deceased) owner of Weyland Industries, which would at some point end up being the dishonest mega-corporation Weyland-Yutani (also known as “The Company”) very first glimpsed in the initial 1979 Alien. But in “TED Conference, 2023,” Weyland lives and also well, a 32-year-old technology magnate and also genuine titan of market up his mixed riches, young people, and also power with clear ideas on the future.

Prometheus takes place in the future, but it’s a movie about ideas, and I just felt like it would be really cool to have one of the characters from the movie give a TED Talk,” Lindelof claimed in a Q&A interview released on TED’s blog site along with the Peter Weyland video clip. “Obviously, since the movie is set in the distant future, it would have to be a little more contemporary. But wouldn’t it be cool if it was a TED talk from a decade in the future? And what is a TED Talk going to look like in 10 years? And what would this guy have to say?”

Peter Weyland’s TED Talk is simply one instance of just how the inexorable march of time has actually overshadowed the wildest prognostications of speculative fiction. In 2023, one of the most fascinating feature of the video clip, however, is not its thematic or narrative connection to Prometheus, however just how it stands as an unintentional time pill of a minute in our cumulative society when technology Chief executive officers were, all at once, kept in a much greater respect.

To state that 2012 was a various time than 2023 really feels parallel to stating the moon is a various area than the Earth. The initially Black head of state of the United States was reelected; catastrophes and also situations both all-natural and also manmade, such as Hurricane Sandy and also the Sandy Hook Elementary School capturing, shook the country; and also The Avengers turned into one of the highest-grossing movies in background — a document that would certainly be overshadowed several times by Marvel itself over the following years.

Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) grabs a snack while Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) stops for a chat with Elon Musk in Iron Man 2

Remember when Iron Man satisfied Elon Musk?
Image: Marvel Studios

The most relevant turning point of that year though, as it connects to the Prometheus TED Talk video clip, is the ascendant appeal of Elon Musk, that debuted on Forbes’ checklist of the globe’s billionaires in March 2012 with a total assets of roughly $2 billion. In the late aughts to very early 2010s, Musk was the gold young boy of Silicon Valley, the “cool” billionaire that loved video games and also Rick and Morty and also influenced Robert Downey Jr.’s representation of Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man. He was the male that desired to take humanity to Mars by 2021, and also the topic of numerous radiant accounts and also op-eds penciled by the similarity Esquire, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and also much more proselytizing the “triumph of his will” and also his standing as technology’s most eligible bachelor.

In 2023, Elon Musk is Silicon Valley’s richest pariah, a guy that was booed onstage at a funny program and also ultimately required to his bully pulpit atop the social networks system he acquired to crowdsource his self-confidence, specifying, “Technically, it was 90% cheers & 10% boos.” A guy presumed to be among the motivations behind Edward Norton’s personality in Rian Johnson’s 2022 murder secret Glass Onion, a peacocking technology billionaire with deceptions of magnificence (and also a feasible fondness for murder). A guy that publishes cringe-inducing daddy memes and also dogwhistle conspiracy theory concepts when he’s not active banning and ducking from journalists, boosting his own tweets, or livestreaming fart noises at 2 a.m.

Old Weyland (Guy Pearce in old age makeup) in a spacesuit bowing to an offscreen presence in an alien spaceship in Prometheus

Weyland attempting to run away fatality by challenging his maker in Prometheus
Image: 20th Century Studios

In 2012, Damon Lindelof visualized a personality that was among the globe’s richest and also most effective males, a billionaire a number of times over that, in the then-futuristic year of 2023, arised from a self-imposed three-year media power outage to rapturous praise prior to continuing to wax obtusely around Greek folklore, the background of human innovation, and also the recklessness of institutional policy. In the truth of 2023, we’re at the factor where we’re virtually pleading among the globe’s wealthiest males to please turn off and also close the screw up.

Musk, as my coworker Susana Polo would put it, is a guy that “wants to do whatever he wants, and, crucially […] wants to be adored for being the guy who can do whatever he wants.” Both he and also the imaginary Peter Weyland share that a lot alike. As exposed in the last act of Prometheus, Peter Weyland moneyed Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and also Charlie Holloway’s (Logan Marshall-Green) exploration to the far-off moon of LV-223 to ensure that he can ask the Engineers — the innovative unusual varieties thought to have actually developed mankind and also the Xenomorphs — for a remedy for fatality to ensure that he can live for life. No looters, however… Well, you can presume just how well that strategy ended up.

History (speculative or otherwise) apart, the Prometheus viral advertising project continues to be a remarkable example of sci-fi pop culture and also Hollywood ephemera, with the project’s most risky aspect being the Peter Weyland TED Talk. It’s greater than worth taking another look at, otherwise to take into plain alleviation the methods which our cumulative society’s representation of technology Chief executive officers has actually or has not developed, after that simply to see Guy Pearce hamming it up as Weyland in all his arrogant magnificence.

Prometheus is offered to stream on Hulu.


Source: Polygon

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