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The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation

March 2024
1min read

If Abraham Lincoln Were Communicating Today …

Peter Norvig, director of search quality at Google, knows the virtues of computer technology if anyone does, but he has also sat through too many PowerPoint presentations. Eventually, he says, “I imagined what Abe Lincoln might have done if he had used PowerPoint rather than the power of oratory at Gettysburg.” It was easier than he expected. PowerPoint’s AutoContent Wizard software set up a template and even titled four of the slides. “I thought Pd have to spend some time choosing bad fonts and garish color schemes, but the Wizard did it all for me.”

The result is available on his Web site, at www.norvig.com/Gettysburg/making.html (be sure to capitalize the G), and we reproduce it here. On the site he has Lincoln introduce as follows: “Good morning. Just a second while I get this connection to work. Do I press this button here? Function-F7? No, that’s not right. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll have to reboot. Hold on a minute. Um, my name is Abe Lincoln and I’m your president. While we’re waiting, I want to thank Judge David Wills, chairman of the committee supervising the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. It’s great to be here, Dave, and you and the committee are doing a great job. Gee, sometimes this new technology does have glitches, but we couldn’t live without it, could we? Oh—is it ready? O.K., here we go.”

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