Al Gore in Cambridge, 1992
by Jason Ong
[caption id="attachment459" align="alignright" width="235"]<a href="http://bostonlocaltv.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/gore1.jpg"> Al Gore at Thinking Machines, 1992. Courtesy CCTV[/caption]
Update: As of October 21, 2013 there is video related to this post on our website.
In 1992, Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Al Gore visited the offices of Thinking Machines, which was a Cambridge-based manufacturer of supercomputers. Cambridge Community Television was there to cover his visit, and I recently watched our tape.
Thinking Machines eventually went out of business and closed in 1994.
Meanwhile, Al Gore went on to serve two terms as Vice President, lose his own Presidential election (to a son of the man he'd helped defeat eight years earlier), receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental activism, and, of special interest to those of us who are in media production, co-found Current TV.
But back in 1992 he was just an up-and-coming Vice Presidential candidate whose team would have to unseat the current President, which wasn't quite a foregone conclusion at that time. It was very possible that he would lose, maybe go back to Congress, and retire quietly someday. I don't think anybody then would have predicted the eventual height of his fame. So watching this 19 years later, knowing what would happen, was very interesting.
He spoke briefly about the Internet and the upcoming global environmental crisis, both topics for which he became well-known and that are a huge part of public policy today. But they were just starting to really enter the mainstream back then.
However, one thing he didn't mention was domestic terrorism, which, as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 has reminded us, is a very real threat. But the first World Trade Center attack wouldn't happen until 1993, so the United States had no experience with that kind of thing then.
It just goes to show that sometimes you can predict what's going to be relevant in the next decade, but other times, you can't.