Culminating with a demonstration of a real-live hoverboard, the Smithsonian magazine's “Future Is Here” festival featured a series of visionary talks on what's on the horizon in an array of fields before an avid crowd of researchers, industry experts and tech and science enthusiasts.

Speakers at the festival included Walter Isaacson, Oliver Sacks, Celine Cousteau, Craig Venter and scientists from the Smithsonian Institution. They discussed the latest findings on the human mind, the “Internet of Things, genomics and geoengineering, among dozens of other topics. Many of the presentations seemed to be the stuff of science fiction, complete with references to super-bots and the power of human minds to control objects, illustrating the incredible advances that have been made in recent years. So maybe it's appropriate that the festival also included screenings of two science fiction movies: Back to the Future (the series that first imagined the hoverboard) and 2001: A Space Odyssey, with an appearnance by Keir Dullea.

Highlights of the festival included a sneak preview of Ric Burns' new documentary about Oliver Sacks; Nancy Knowlton's surprisingly optimistic report on the future of oceans; Columbia University scientist Nina Tandon's work on growing human bones in the lab; IBM executive Marc Teerlink describing the power of the Watson super computing system to help people harness data and Harvard physicist David Keith introducing a groundbreaking, moon-shot approach to fighting climate change.

Amidst the talk of cutting-edge tech, there was also a focus on the need to balance such innovation with the power of the human spirit. As author Walter Isaacson, the final presenter noted, “There’s a crucial and fundamental difference between machine processing and human creativity.” The “Future is Here” offered a platform to highlight that difference.

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Day 1: Scheduled Speakers

Day 2: Nerd Nite’s Global Fest

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In collaboration with Nerd Nite, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Smithsonian Grand Challenges Consortia, and the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.