Posts Tagged ‘ted talks’

James Geary On Metaphor – TED Talk

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I love metaphor. Whenever I meet someone who does not understand metaphor I am always astonished, dismayed and incredulous. To have a mind incapable of grasping metaphor is to be a lump of brute existence. Empathy derives from metaphor. Being human is itself a metaphor. I’ll shut up now and let you listen to James Geary.


Clay Shirky – Why SOPA Is A Bad Idea – TED Talk

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

As per the description on the TED site:

What does a bill like PIPA/SOPA mean to our shareable world? At the TED offices, Clay Shirky delivers a proper manifesto — a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.

Take it away, Clay:

Social Media Revolution 2 (Refresh)

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Regardless of the old Disraeli saw: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” it’s always wonderful to see stats in action. This is a refreshed version of the Social Media Revolution video, with updated numbers showing the continued growth and impact of social media on the world. It’s not as profound or deep as some of Hans Rosling’s TED Talks but it sure wakes you up to the new age we’re all wandering through with a thunderstruck expression on our mugs.

The video was put together by Erik Qualman in support of his book Socialnomics.


Adora Svitak – TED Talk – What Adults Can Learn From Kids

Monday, April 5th, 2010

12 year old Adora Svitak has been described as a child prodigy and with good reason. She’s frickin’ brilliant.

Her best line from the talk:

The traits the word childish addresses are seen so often in adults that we should abolish this age discriminatory word when it comes to criticizing behavior associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking.

Svitak possesses something that not many people of her intelligence, let alone age, ever manage to grasp within their lifetimes: wisdom.

Having worked in the world of children’s television I have more than had my fill of clever, wisecracking kids. It’s a bogus fallacy that feeds Roald Dahl’s addage that to reach a young audience one must first conspire with them against the adults. Fair enough but some jerkweed midget version of Pauly Shore is not what the world needs more of.

We need more Adora’s.

Her insights into the need for children and adults to communicate more effectively and for adults to listen and take heed of what children see and know is vitally important to everyone’s future. Listen to this kid. And then go listen to your own.


Rebecca Saxe – TED Talk – Understanding Other Minds

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Rebecca Saxe is a neuroscientist at MIT’s Saxelab and she is making remarkable discoveries about how our brains function when regarding other minds. While still an undergrad at MIT, Saxe identified a very specific portion of the brain which is wholly devoted to thinking about other people’s minds and thought processes. Her subsequent research has been focusing on the development of this brain region, how humans form moral judgements and how to influence this process.

Be sure to watch the whole thing. Around the 11 minute mark Saxe starts discussing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation where a magnetic pulse is used to disrupt the functions of that part of the brain, causing it to reorganize itself – sort of like rebooting a computer. To her credit she shows herself first testing the butterfly coil apparatus on her own remarkable cranium.

It’s funny and spooky all at the same time.

As with all things that have the potential to change how people think and behave the Pentagon has expressed interest in her work. I love her at the 14 minute mark where she says: “They’re calling – but I’m not taking the call.” Pentagon wankers will still find a way to play with this shit but it’s important we all pay attention to developments like this and not just from a tin foil hat conspiracy perspective – although one has to wonder if a chapeau d’aluminium would thwart such a device.

Tech like this is worthy of our attention because it affects us directly – for good and for bad – and it behooves us to be aware of the consequences of applying technologies which affect our thinking. The light bulb, automobiles, radio, telephone and television are but a few examples of ubiquitous technologies which have profoundly affected our society, our culture, our economy, our politics and our minds. We’re still discovering all the ways movies and televised information have changed us and continue to shape our world even as we pick up speed with our use of the internet and absorb those media as content within the disruptive frontier of the world wide web.

I wrote earlier about the emerging tech and culture of Augmented Reality and how it will likely change how we see the world, change how we think and change how we behave. Discoveries like those of Rebecca Saxe will also play a role in this merging world of humanity and technology. As we explore ways to extend our senses through our tech we will also find ways to implement these embellishments more directly with our bodies and our minds.

Setting aside thoughts of mind control by some uber-authority (political or corporate) – which is not beyond contemplation and certainly something to be watchful for – it’s just really fucking cool to consider how deep inside our individual minds we will be able to reach as we simultaneously reach out with our minds to each other.

Kevin Kelly’s A New Kind Of Mind seems downright tangible now – and it makes this Nokia promo video, which I found over on Bruce Sterling’s blog seem positively quaint by comparison.

I think the future is coming to us – and out of us – faster and faster and that it will be extremely cool.

What do you think?


WiTricity – Cable Free Electrical power

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Eric Giler from MIT gives a TED Talk showing off an innovation called WiTricity.

It’s the wireless transmission of electrical power using magnetic resonance, meaning there is no harmful radiation that will fry your junk when you walk through the field.

It is really frickin’ cool.

Upon seeing this I could not help but think of Nikola Tesla and his vision of using the Earth’s magnetic field as a source of limitless – and free- electrical power.

Makes you wonder.


ReBooting The Future – Juan Enriques – TED Talk

Monday, April 6th, 2009

I’ve been having a series of email discussions with my friend Bryan that has become a wide-ranging exploration of how humanity is likely to evolve alongside our rapid technological advancements. I do intend to distill those emails into a one big fat ass blog post but I’m a bit too busy at the moment to get that done for you.

Instead, I found this fascinating talk by Juan Enriquez at this year’s TED conference where he touches on some of the same territory Bryan and I have been treading; and I thought I’d share it with you.

This kind of stuff has been consuming me lately because I think it is really fucking cool and pant peeingly scary. I’m not a technophobe by any stretch of the imagination and have no problems envisioning a future where we and our machines are one. The idea of the Borg makes for good storytelling but it’s not a frightening future in my eyes.

Bryan and I are not profound scholars when it comes to this shit – we just like to think up the most fucked up possibilities and then extrapolate them further to see if we can glean a sense of where the human race is heading – or maybe just scare ourselves like kids telling ghost stories around the campfire. Each time a new article or news report is published we start kicking it around like a big blob of silly putty just to see if it’ll bounce off the walls or leave dents in the ceiling – metaphorically, of course. I do have large quantities of silly putty – I know where to buy it in bulk – and when you drop five pounds of that shit you better protect your kidneys ‘cuz it comes hurtling back at you like a motherfucker.

But I digress.

I’ll come back some other day with all our notes and pimp it up with pretty pictures and links to all the crap that was inspiring us. In the meantime, enjoy Enriques and don’t be afraid of the future. Just keep your eyes on the assholes in charge right now.


TED Talk – Evan Williams on Twitter

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter speaks at TED about how the users of Twitter are finding unexpected ways of using their ability to tweet which, in turn, is driving the explosive growth of what many are discovering to be a highly addictive, dynamic and (I suspect) life changing way of communicating with our fellow human beings.

Neat stuff.

After a full day of disheartening and frustrating effort, I’m not holding out much hope now for being able to reconstruct the old pages of this blog. That’s a shame but I can’t dwell on trying to rebuild it – there’s new stuff I have to concentrate on completing. If anyone wants to search for specific posts feel free to visit and use their Wayback Machine and see what you can find.