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The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.



Updated: 2018-04-20T18:44:38Z

 



WordPress.comThe world takes us exactly where we should be: 4 questions with Meagan Fallone

2018-04-17T21:37:13Z

Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite […] Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite TED speakers. Leading up to the session, TED talked with entrepreneur, designer and CEO of Barefoot College International, Meagan Fallone. TED: Tell us who you are. Meagan Fallone: I am an entrepreneur, a designer, a passionate mountaineer and a champion of women in the developing world and all women whose voices and potential remain unheard and unrealized. I am a mother and am grounded in the understanding that of all the things I may ever do in my life, it is the only one that truly will define me or endure. I am immovable in my intolerance to injustice in all its forms. TED: What’s a bold move you’ve made in your career? MF: I decided to leave the two for-profit companies I started and grow a nonprofit social enterprise. TED: Tell us about a woman who inspires you. MF: The women in my family who were risk-takers in their own individual ways: they are always with me and inspire me. My female friends who push me always to dig deeper within myself, to use my power and skills for ever bigger and better impact in the world. I am inspired always by every woman who has ever accepted to come to train with us at Barefoot College. They place their trust in us, leave their community and everyone they love to make an unimaginable journey on every level. It is the bravest thing I have ever seen. TED: If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18-year-old self? MF: I would tell myself not to take myself so seriously. I would tell myself to trust that the world takes us exactly where we should be. It took me far too long to learn to laugh at how ridiculous I am sometimes. It took me even longer to accept that the path that was written for me was not exactly the one I envisaged for myself. Within the things I never imagined lay all the beauty and wonder of my journey so far — and the promise of what I have yet to impact. class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='900' height='537' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/ahUsuRanBTc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The private TED session at Cartier takes place April 26 in Singapore. It will feature talks from a diverse range of global leaders, entrepreneurs and change-makers, exploring topics ranging from the changing global workforce to maternal health to data literacy, and it will include a performance from the only female double violinist in the world. [...]



In Case You Missed It: The dawn of “The Age of Amazement” at TED2018

2018-04-18T17:11:59Z

More than 100 speakers — activists, scientists, adventurers, change-makers and more — took the stage to give the talk of their lives this week in Vancouver at TED2018. One blog post could never hope to hold all of the extraordinary wisdom they shared. Here’s a (shamelessly inexhaustive) list of the themes and highlights we heard […]More than 100 speakers — activists, scientists, adventurers, change-makers and more — took the stage to give the talk of their lives this week in Vancouver at TED2018. One blog post could never hope to hold all of the extraordinary wisdom they shared. Here’s a (shamelessly inexhaustive) list of the themes and highlights we heard throughout the week — and be sure to check out full recaps of day 1, day 2, day 3 and day 4. Discomfort is a proxy for progress. If we hope to break out of the filter bubbles that are defining this generation, we have to talk to and connect with people we disagree with. This message resonated across the week at TED, with talks from Zachary R. Wood and Dylan Marron showing us the power of reaching out, even when it’s uncomfortable. As Wood, a college student who books “uncomfortable speakers,” says: “Tuning out opposing viewpoints doesn’t make them go away.” To understand how society can progress forward, he says, “we need to understand the counterforces.” Marron’s podcast “Conversations With People Who Hate Me” showcases him engaging with people who have attacked him on the internet. While it hasn’t led to world peace, it has helped him develop empathy for his bullies. “Empathizing with someone I profoundly disagree with doesn’t suddenly erase my deeply held beliefs and endorse theirs,” he cautions. “I simply am acknowledging the humanity of a person who has been taught to think a certain way, someone who thinks very differently than me.” The Audacious Project, a new initiative for launching big ideas, seeks to create lasting change at scale. (Photo: Ryan Lash / TED) Audacious ideas for big impact. The Audacious Project, TED’s newest initiative, aims to be the nonprofit version of an IPO. Housed at TED, it’s a collaboration among some of the biggest names in philanthropy that asks for nonprofit groups’ most audacious dreams; each year, five will be presented at TED with an invitation for the audience and world to get involved. The inaugural Audacious group includes public defender Robin Steinberg, who’s working to end the injustice of bail; oceanographer Heidi M. Sosik, who wants to explore the ocean’s twilight zone; Caroline Harper from Sight Savers, who’s working to end the scourge of trachoma; conservationist Fred Krupp, who wants to use the power of satellites and data to track methane emissions in unprecedented detail; and T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, who are inspiring a nationwide movement for Black women’s health. Find out more (and how you can get involved) at AudaciousProject.org. Living means acknowledging death. Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine has stage IV lung cancer — but she says there’s no need to “oy” or “ohhh” over her: she’s OK with it. Life and death go hand in hand, she says; you can’t have one without the other. Therein lies the importance of death: it sets limits on life, limits that “demand creativity, positive energy, imagination” and force you to enrich your existence wherever and whenever you can. Jason Rosenthal’s journey of loss and grief began when his wife, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, wrote about their lives in an article read by millions of people: “You May Want to Marry My Husband” — a meditation on dying disguised as a personal ad for her soon-to-be-solitary spouse. By writing their story, Amy made Jason’s grief public — and challenged him to begin anew. He speaks to others who may be grieving: “I would like to offer you what I was given: a blank sheet of paper. What will you do with your intentional empty space, with your fresh start?” “It’s the responsi[...]



What matters: Notes from Session 11 of TED2018

2018-04-16T13:00:00Z

What a week. We’ve heard so much, from dystopian warnings to bold visions for change. Our brains are full. Almost. In this session we pull back to the human stories that underpin everything we are, everything we want. From new ways to set goals and move business forward, to unabashed visions for joy and community, […]Reed Hastings, the head of Netflix, listens to a question from Chris Anderson during a sparky onstage Q&A on the final morning of TED2018, April 14, 2018. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED What a week. We’ve heard so much, from dystopian warnings to bold visions for change. Our brains are full. Almost. In this session we pull back to the human stories that underpin everything we are, everything we want. From new ways to set goals and move business forward, to unabashed visions for joy and community, it’s time to explore what matters. The original people of this land. One important thing to know: TED’s conference home of Vancouver is built on un-ceded land that once belonged to First Nations people. So this morning, two DJs from A Tribe Called Red start this session by remembering and honoring them, telling First Nations stories in beats and images in a set that expands on the concept of Halluci Nation, inspired by the poet, musician and activist John Trudell. In Trudell’s words: “We are the Halluci Nation / Our DNA is of earth and sky / Our DNA is of past and future.” The power of why, what and how. Our leaders and our institutions are failing us, and it’s not always because they’re bad or unethical. Sometimes, it’s simply because they’re leading us toward the wrong objectives, says venture capitalist John Doerr. How can we get back on track? The trick may be a system called OKR, developed by legendary management thinker Andy Grove. Doerr explains that OKR stands for ‘objectives and key results’ – and setting the right ones can be the difference between success and failure. However, before you set your objective (your what) and your key results (your how), you need to understand your why. “A compelling sense of why can be the launch pad for our objectives,” he says. He illustrates the power of OKRs by sharing the stories of individuals and organizations who’ve put them into practice, including Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. “OKRs are not a silver bullet. They’re not going to be a substitute for a strong culture or for stronger leadership, but when those fundamentals are in place, they can take you to the mountaintop,” he says. He encourages all of us to take the time to write down our values, our objectives, and our key results – and to do it today. “Let’s fight for what it is that really matters, because we can take OKRs beyond our businesses. We can take them to our families, to our schools, even to our government. We can hold those governments accountable,” he says. “We can get back on the right track if we can and do measure what really matters.” What’s powering China’s tech innovation? The largest mass migration in the world occurs every year around the Chinese Spring Festival. Over 40 days, travelers — including 290 million migrant workers — take 3 billion trips all over China. Few can afford to fly, so railways strained to keep up, with crowding, fraud and drama. So the Chinese technology sector has been building everything from apps to AI to ease not only this process, but other pain points throughout society. But unlike the US, where innovation is often fueled by academia and enterprise, China’s tech innovation is powered by “an overwhelming need economy that is serving an underprivileged populace, which has been separated for 30 years from China’s economic boom.” The CEO of the China Morning Post, Gary Liu has a front-row seat to this transformation. As China’s introduction of a “social credit rating” system suggests, a technology boom in an authoritarian society hides a significant dark side. But the Chinese interne[...]



Screen gems: The art onscreen at TED2018

2018-04-14T17:18:29Z

A monumental part of what brings the TED conference to life is the speakers and the amazing ideas they share on the TED stage. But here’s a riddle: What also shares the spotlight with each person who spends their 3 to 18 minutes speaking on the red dot? The magnificent session art, of course! TED […]A monumental part of what brings the TED conference to life is the speakers and the amazing ideas they share on the TED stage. But here’s a riddle: What also shares the spotlight with each person who spends their 3 to 18 minutes speaking on the red dot? The magnificent session art, of course! TED has collaborated with design firm Colours & Shapes since 2014. They are the minds behind the mesmerizing animated art seen at the start and throughout each session, which is tailored specifically to that session’s theme. We caught up with Colours & Shapes in their hometown of Vancouver, BC, to learn more about the process behind an integral part of what’s brought TED2018: The Age of Amazement to life. A globally changing landscape forms the backdrop for Session 4, the Audacious Project. Over the course of the evening’s session, the light slowly fades onscreen. Q: Tell us about your team and company: Colours & Shapes was founded in 2012 by Gordie Cochran and Anthony Diehl. We actually sort of stumbled into it. We saw an opportunity to leverage our diverse backgrounds in film, events and tech to craft amazing, meaningful experiences. Our passion has really been to architect “moments” that stick with you; moments that resonate with that deep “why” behind any event or experience. Q: Take us through the creative process: from receiving the prompts to fruition … were there technical considerations or concerns you had to troubleshoot? The creative process has been really wonderful. We love how open the TED curation team is to some pretty “out there” visual ideas. Our process was really all about understanding the session themes and curation and finding ways to to unpack “amazement” in each. We started with really rough sketches and motifs. We gave particular consideration to how we could use projection on the stage and the beautiful wood cases. We knew from the start that we wanted to treat the entire stage and screens as one unified canvas for content. We worked really closely with Mina, Mike and Martha to find just the right tone for each session. Our looks moved pretty quickly from sketches and moodboards to illustration and animation. The creative process really followed the development of the sessions. As we learned more about the speakers and topics, there was so much great inspiration to draw on visually. From the unique red laser light in Mary Lou Jepsen’s talk to ocean exploration and intimate storytelling, we wanted each session to feel like the perfect space to hear each TED Talk. Our team worked incredibly hard in the weeks leading up to TED to produce all these diverse session environments. And we worked in a lot of different mediums! Traditional animation, illustration, film, compositing, VFX … At one point we found ourselves smearing around a lot of tea, cream and sugar in macro videography for one session look (Session 5: Space to Dream). Q: What were you most excited about when you heard this year’s theme was Age of Amazement? Love the theme! We were immediately intrigued and drawn in when we starting talking about this year theme. Each session really has its own way that it interacts with the theme in a way that is really fun and interesting. The early creative motifs we developed were all about exploring “amazement” through a variety of lenses: emotions, optical illusions, perspective shifts, shadow play, etc. Q: The art for each session is based on the session title — any secret inspirations? (A little birdy told me about song lyrics inspiring Session 5 … are there others like that?) There were a few sessions that we really wanted to tie into. T[...]



TEDFilms: Four new short films premiered at TED2018

2018-04-17T03:17:03Z

For the TED conference this year, we wanted to entertain attendees between talks — and support and encourage up-and-coming filmmakers. Meet TEDFilms, a new program for promoting the creation of original short films. Executive-produced by Sinéad McDevitt and led up by TED’s director of Production and Video Operations, Mina Sabet, the short films acted as a […]For the TED conference this year, we wanted to entertain attendees between talks — and support and encourage up-and-coming filmmakers. Meet TEDFilms, a new program for promoting the creation of original short films. Executive-produced by Sinéad McDevitt and led up by TED’s director of Production and Video Operations, Mina Sabet, the short films acted as a creative palate-cleanser during the speaker program, a short blast of humor, beauty and awe. Each film is less than two minutes, and genres range from experimental art and documentary to PSA and dark comedy. Enjoy! style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/shane_griffin_chromatic" width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">       Chromatic As light passes through defective glass, beams split into color spectra, causing ‘diffraction grating’. For the first time ever in film, we get up close and personal with this visual phenomenon in a series of beautiful chromatic abstractions. Director: Shane Griffin Music: Gavin Little With special thanks to: Ed Bruce at Screenscene Los York style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/aaron_duffy_lake_buckley_and_jack_foster_illusions_for_a_better_society" width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">       Illusions for a Better Society Could visual illusions be a cure for polarization? Co-Directors: Aaron Duffy Lake Buckley Jack Foster Director of Photography: William Atherton Production Design: Adam Pruitt Creative Partner: SpecialGuest Production Company: 1stAveMachine Producers: Dave Kornfield Andrew Geller Matt Snetzko Music: Bryn Bliska style="position: absolute; left: 0; top: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/duncan_cowles_it_s_not_amazing_enough" width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">       It’s Not Amazing Enough The pressures of having to make an amazing film sent this deadpan deep-voiced award winning filmmaker into a crippling spiral of self-doubt and comic indecision. Director, Writer & Producer: Duncan Cowles Music:Stillhead src="https://embed.ted.com/talks/mother_london_ai_therapy" width="854" height="480" style="position:absolute;left:0;top:0;width:100%;height:100%" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen>       A.I. Therapy After 100 years of progress, AI bots have finally become too human for their own good. Mother London Directors: Emerald Fennell & Chris Vernon Director of Photography: Ben Kracun Production Design: Jessica Sutton VFX: Coffee & TV [...]



More TED2018 conference shorts to amuse and amaze

2018-04-17T03:17:09Z

Even in the Age of Amazement, sometimes you need a break between talks packed with fascinating science, tech, art and so much more. That’s where interstitials come in: short videos that entertain and intrigue, while allowing the brain a moment to reset and ready itself to absorb more information. For this year’s conference, TED commissioned […]Even in the Age of Amazement, sometimes you need a break between talks packed with fascinating science, tech, art and so much more. That’s where interstitials come in: short videos that entertain and intrigue, while allowing the brain a moment to reset and ready itself to absorb more information. For this year’s conference, TED commissioned and premiered four short films made just for the conference. Check out those films here! Mixed in with our originals, curator Anyssa Samari curated a week-long program of even more videos — animations, music, even cool ads — to play throughout the week. Here’s the program of shorts she found, from creative people all around the world: src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/193330065?app_id=122963" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="張靓潁Jane Zhang - Dust My Shoulders Off -MV" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> The short: Jane Zhang: “Dust My Shoulders Off.” A woman having a bad day is transported a world of famous paintings where she has a fantastic adventure. The creator: Outerspace Leo Shown during: Session 2, After the end of history … class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='900' height='537' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/1PwY-Hfspoc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> The short: “zoom(art).” A kaleidoscopic, visually compelling journey of artificial intelligence creating beautiful works of art. The creator: Directed and programmed by Alexander Mordvintsev, Google Research Shown during: Session 2, After the end of history … src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/98417189?app_id=122963" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="20syl - Kodama (official music video)" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> The short: “20syl – Kodama.” A music video of several hands playing multiple instruments (and drawing a picture) simultaneously to create a truly delicious electronic beat. The creators: Mathieu Le Dude & 20syl Shown during: Session 3, Nerdish Delight The short: “If HAL-9000 was Alexa.” 2001: A Space Odyssey seems a lot less sinister (and lot more funny) when Alexa can’t quite figure out what Dave is saying. The creator: ScreenJunkies Shown during: Session 3, Nerdish Delight src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/189789787?app_id=122963" width="586" height="309" frameborder="0" title="Maxine the Fluffy Corgi" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> The short: “Maxine the Fluffy Corgi.” A narrated day in the life of an adorable pup named Maxine who know what she wants. The creator: Bryan Reisberg Shown during: Session 3, Nerdish Delight src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/243208219?app_id=122963" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="RGB FOREST" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> The short: “RGB FOREST.” An imaginative, colorful and geometric jaunt through the woods set to jazzy electronic music. The creator: LOROCROM Shown during: Session 6, What on earth do we do? src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/199513562?app_id=122963" width="586" height="330" frameborder="0" title="High Speed Hummingbirds" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen> The short: “High Speed Hummingbirds.” Here’s your chance to watch the beauty and grace of hummingbirds in breathtaking slow motion. The creator: Anand Varma Shown during: Session 6, What on earth do we do? src="https://player.[...]



In Case You Missed It: Bold visions for humanity at day 4 of TED2018

2018-04-16T13:20:07Z

Three sessions of memorable TED Talks covering life, death and the future of humanity made the penultimate day of TED2018 a remarkable space for tech breakthroughs and dispatches from the edges of culture. Here are some of the themes we heard echoing through the opening day, as well as some highlights from around the conference […]Three sessions of memorable TED Talks covering life, death and the future of humanity made the penultimate day of TED2018 a remarkable space for tech breakthroughs and dispatches from the edges of culture. Here are some of the themes we heard echoing through the opening day, as well as some highlights from around the conference venue in Vancouver. The future built on genetic code. DNA is built on four letters: G, C, A, T. These letters determine the sequences of the 20 amino acids in our cells that build the proteins that make life possible. But what if that “alphabet” got bigger? Synthetic biologist and chemist Floyd Romesberg suggests that the four letters of the genetic alphabet are not all that unique. He and his colleagues constructed the first “semi-synthetic” life forms based on a 6-letter DNA. With these extra building blocks, cells can construct hitherto unseen proteins. Someday, we could tailor these cells to fulfill all sorts of functions — building new, hyper-targeted medicines, seeking out and destroying cancer, or “eating” toxic materials. And maybe soon, we’ll be able to use that expanded DNA alphabet to teleport. That’s right, you read it here first: teleportation is real. Biologist and engineer Dan Gibson reports from the front lines of science fact that we are now able to transmit the most fundamental parts of who we are: our DNA. It’s called biological teleportation, and the idea is that biological entities including viruses and living cells can be reconstructed in a distant location if we can read and write the sequence of that DNA code. The machines that perform this fantastic feat, the BioXP and the DBC, stitch together both long and short forms of genetic code that can be downloaded from the internet. That means that in the future, with an at-home version of these machines (or even one worlds away, say like, Mars), we may be able to download and print personalized therapeutic medications, prescriptions and even vaccines. “If we want to create meaningful technology to counter radicalization, we have to start with the human journey at its core,” says technologist Yasmin Green at Session 8 at TED2018: The Age of Amazement, April 13, Vancouver. (Photo: Jason Redmond / TED) Dispatches from the fight against hate online. At Jigsaw (a division of Alphabet), Yasmin Green and her colleagues were given the mandate to build technology that could help make the world safer from extremism and persecution. In 2016, Green collaborated with Moonshot CVE to pilot a new approach, the “Redirect Method.” She and a team interviewed dozens of former members of violent extremist groups, and used what they learned to create targeted advertising aimed at people susceptible to ISIS’s recruiting — and counter those messages. In English and Arabic, the eight-week pilot program reached more than 300,000 people. “If technology has any hope of overcoming today’s challenges,” Green says, “we must throw our entire selves into understanding these issues and create solutions that are as human as the problems they aim to solve.” Dylan Marron is taking a different approach to the problem of hate on the internet. His video series, such as “Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People,” have racked up millions of views, and they’ve also sent a slew of internet poison in his direction. He developed a coping mechanism: he calls up the people who leave hateful remarks, opening their chats with a simple question: “Why did you write that?” These exchanges have been captured on Marron’s podc[...]



Steelcase at TED2018: Here’s what a desk chair inspired by a TED Talk looks like

2018-04-15T01:43:39Z

It’s only fitting that the chair which serves as the focal point of the Steelcase exhibit space at TED2018 was inspired, in part, by a TED Talk. Back at TED2009, Steelcase VP of Global Design and Product Engineering James Ludwig saw athlete and Paralympian Aimee Mullins speak about her different prostheses (TED Talk: My 12 […]But would it be a dream to sit on? Steelcase showed off its SILQ Chair at TED2018: The Age of Amazement, April 10 – 14, 2018, Vancouver. Photo: Jason Redmond / TEDs It’s only fitting that the chair which serves as the focal point of the Steelcase exhibit space at TED2018 was inspired, in part, by a TED Talk. Back at TED2009, Steelcase VP of Global Design and Product Engineering James Ludwig saw athlete and Paralympian Aimee Mullins speak about her different prostheses (TED Talk: My 12 pairs of legs). He was especially intrigued by her carbon-fiber “cheetah feet” and how they could store and release energy. He wondered: Could this wondrously light yet stiff yet flexible material — revolutionizing airplane, car and bicycle manufacturing — be used in a desk chair? Carbon fiber hadn’t been used in mainstream furniture, but Ludwig was also bent on following a vision he’d had the previous year. The standard high-tech office chair had become what he calls “an exquisite machine” — consisting of up to 250 parts — but he’d tired of these contraptions. “I didn’t want to feel like I was sitting on a mechanical bull,” says Ludwig (can we get an amen?). He wanted to make a chair that was far simpler, so he sketched one that sat on “four leaf-like tendrils.” He had no idea how he’d build it, but that’s the task of industrial designers: envisioning what doesn’t exist — and then making it happen. Mullins’s feet lingered in his mind, and he thought back to his dream seating and realized he might have found a solution. His next step was to see if a chair could even been made from carbon fiber. The result, which took him and his team several years to design and execute, was the LessThanFive, named because it weighs less than five pounds. The game was on. In the Steelcase Innovation Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ludwig found a corner space, papered the windows, gathered a handful of colleagues, and set to realizing the chair that he’d seen only in his mind. Six months later, he had a prototype. It was everything he wanted — responsive and streamlined — except for its price: it would be prohibitively expensive to produce. “Carbon fiber is a handicraft; it needs to be finished by hand,” explains Ludwig. He told his engineers that they needed to figure out how to do it more cheaply. After some grumbling and sighing, they returned to work and created what Ludwig evasively refers to as a “proprietary fiber and material composition” — in other words, a patent-pending substance that was made from a high-performance polymer. Upholstery, molding and operations teams were called in, and 18 months later, Ludwig’s creation was released in January 2018: the SILQ chair. He had a lofty mission: “I wanted it to look like Isamu Noguchi had an aerospace degree.” And with its soft curves and sculptural lines, it kind of does. It also drastically reduced the number of parts: just 30. The special polymer replaced many of the springs and hinges that provide flex and support in the typical desk chair. And in a welcome development to anyone who’s hit the wrong switch and made their chair plummet ridiculously during a meeting, it has only one lever that raises and lowers the seat. But how does it feel? Well, when I sat in the SILQ, it felt like it was made for someone my size. In some sort of industrial-design wizardry, the back crad[...]



Personally speaking: Notes from Session 10 of TED2018

2018-04-16T02:10:40Z

​Sketches that speak volumes. When illustrator Christoph Niemann wakes up after falling asleep on an airplane, he says, “I have the most terrible taste in my mouth that cannot be described with words … But it can be drawn.” Then he shows a spot-on sketch of an outstretched tongue with a dead-fish-rat-hybrid creature on it. […]What does an illustrator’s life look like? Well, says Christoph Niemann, most of the time: this. He spoke at TED2018 on April 13, 2018, in Vancouver. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED ​Sketches that speak volumes. When illustrator Christoph Niemann wakes up after falling asleep on an airplane, he says, “I have the most terrible taste in my mouth that cannot be described with words … But it can be drawn.” Then he shows a spot-on sketch of an outstretched tongue with a dead-fish-rat-hybrid creature on it. Trying to recap his intensely visual talk in words resembles his struggle, because this talk speaks largely through witty, whimsical drawings. Niemann believes all people are bilingual, “fluent in the language of reading images,” and most of our fluency comes organically. For example, while you might remember learning to read the words “men” and “women,” can you recall anyone explaining to you what the symbols on the doors of the bathroom meant? You just figured it out. People share a rich and common visual vocabulary, so Niemann likes to take “images from remote cultural areas and bring them together” — hence his putting the words “ceci n’est pas une pipe” in cursive above white iPhone earbuds. Using this collective lexicon, Niemann and other artists can communicate information, satirize people and ideas, express empathy, and make us laugh — all without words. In that way, he says, as deft as his drawings are, they’d be nothing without an audience. He says, “The real magic happens in the mind of the viewer.” “Once your appliances can talk, who else will they talk to?” Gizmodo writers Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu survey the world of “smart devices” — the gadgets that “sit in the middle of our home with a microphone on, constantly listening,” and gathering data — to discover just what they’re up to. To do this, Kashmir turned her San Francisco apartment into a full-fledged smart home, loading up on 18 different internet-connected appliances — including a “smart bed” that calculated her nightly “sleep score” to let her know if she was well-rested or not. Her colleague Surya built a special router to figure out how often the devices connected, who they were transmitting to, what they were transmitting — and what of that data could be sold. The results were surprising — and a little creepy. By poring over Kashmir’s family’s data, Surya could decipher their sleep schedules, TV binges,  tooth-brushing habits. And while many appliances connected only for updates, the Amazon Echo connected shockingly often — every three minutes. All of this data can tell companies how rich or poor you are, whether or not you’re an insurance risk, and — perhaps worst of all — the state of your sex life. (A digital vibrator company was caught “data-mining their customers’ orgasms.”) All this may lead you to ask, as Surya does, “Who is the true beneficiary of your smart home? You, or the company mining you?” Embrace the diversity within. Rebeca Hwang has spent a lifetime juggling identities (Korean heritage, Argentinian upbringing, educated in the United States), and for a long time she had difficulty finding a place in the world to call home. Instead, one day, she had a pivotal realization: it was fruitless to search for total commonality with the people around her. Instead, she decided, she would embrace all the possib[...]



Announced at TED2018: TED’s Hindi-language Star Plus TV series “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch” renewed for three seasons

2018-04-14T01:26:31Z

New York, NY (April 13, 2018)—TED announced today that its highly acclaimed Star Plus TV prime-time series TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, a Hindi-language TV and digital series hosted by Shah Rukh Khan which premiered last fall, has been renewed for three more seasons. The first season, which featured speakers delivering inspiring and informative talks […]Shah Rukh Khan hosts Season 1 of TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, which was just renewed for three more seasons on Star Plus. Photo: Amit Madheshiya / TED New York, NY (April 13, 2018)—TED announced today that its highly acclaimed Star Plus TV prime-time series TED Talks India: Nayi Soch, a Hindi-language TV and digital series hosted by Shah Rukh Khan which premiered last fall, has been renewed for three more seasons. The first season, which featured speakers delivering inspiring and informative talks in TED’s signature style of 18 minutes or less, drew an astounding 96 million viewers over its first season in fall 2017. TED Talks India: Nayi Soch speakers deliver TED Talks in Hindi on topics as varied as science and social justice before a live studio audience, with professional subtitles in Hindi and in English provided for viewers at home. Almost every talk features a short Q&A between the speaker and Khan that dives deeper into the ideas shared onstage. TED Talks India: Nayi Soch host and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan said: “I believe passionately that India is brimming with brave and brilliant ideas—and that those ideas have never mattered more. This program features India’s finest storytellers in a surprising blend of entertainment, inspiration and intellectualism, and I‘m more committed than ever to spreading their ideas to my country and the rest of the world.” TED’s Head of Television Juliet Blake, who executive-produced the series, said: “We’re incredibly proud of this show’s accomplishments breaking barriers to reach new audiences, and look forward to spending the next several seasons inspiring a nation to embrace ideas and curiosity.” Star TV CEO and Chairman Uday Shankar said: “Star TV is committed to developing programming that goes beyond pure entertainment to inspire and educate our massive audience. Both the critical response and the tremendous viewer love for this series were key factors in our decision to bring Ted Talks India: Nayi Soch back for at least three more seasons.” Head of TED Chris Anderson said: “Ultimately TED’s goal is to develop compelling new content formats that can make ideas available and relevant to billions of people we haven’t reached yet. This journey with Star TV and Shah Rukh Khan has allowed us to make significant progress spreading ideas.” Here’s what audiences have had to say: “Amidst all the ruckus of daily soaps fighting for TRPs we’ve finally got a TV show that’s absolutely worth watching.” – Neeraj Chavan (via Quora) “#TEDTalksIndiaNayiSoch is one of the best initiatives ever, I loved watching @TEDTalks and now that idea and platform have been brought to India I am amazed to see that how much potential India has! –@Umangkelani (via Twitter) “This action-packed one hour show airing on Star Plus is definitely a great way to explore revolutionary ideas from Indians.” – Anuj Shikarkhane (via Quora) “It is clear from today’s scenario of world that number of problems are way more than the problem solvers and we need crowd support to solve them. This is where TED Talks India helps. It makes people aware about the issues and ways to address it. This is the need of the hour.” – Aayush Wadhwa (via Quora) “This show shows us that there are great undiscovered minds in our country and a [number] of unsung heroes. TED is like a light bulb in the dark field of the daily soaps which we experiencing[...]



Announced at TED2018: Google’s new TalkToBooks search

2018-04-13T22:32:38Z

Here onstage at TED2018, futurist Ray Kurzweil has just formally announced a new way to query the text inside books using something called semantic search — which is a search on ideas and concepts, rather than specific words. Called TalkToBooks, the beta-stage product uses an experimental AI to query a database of 120,000 books in […] Here onstage at TED2018, futurist Ray Kurzweil has just formally announced a new way to query the text inside books using something called semantic search — which is a search on ideas and concepts, rather than specific words. Called TalkToBooks, the beta-stage product uses an experimental AI to query a database of 120,000 books in about a half a second. (As Kurzweil jokes: “It takes me hours to read a hundred thousand books.”) Jump in and play with TalkToBooks » Kurzweil suggests some questions to ask it: How can I stop thinking and fall asleep? What is the meaning of life? How does eating fiber help you lose weight? Why is the Turing test important? Some answers are relevant, and others, while maybe not quite correct, intriguingly reveal the way the machine “thinks,” the kinds of connections it wants to make. If you want to dig further, read this blog post from Google’s Semantic Experiences group, and this detailed coverage from The Verge. [...]



How to rebuild trust … Frances Frei speaks at TED2018

2018-04-13T22:44:13Z

“It’s my belief that trust is the foundation for everything we do,” says Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei, “and that if we can learn to trust on another more, we can have unprecedented human progress.” What to do, then, when trust is broken? In companies, there are many reasons that a rupture can happen. […]Authenticity is critical to trust, but “if those of us who are different give in to the temptation to hold back our authentic selves, then the most interesting thing about us — our difference — is muted,” says Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei at TED2018: The Age of Amazement on April 13, Vancouver. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED “It’s my belief that trust is the foundation for everything we do,” says Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei, “and that if we can learn to trust on another more, we can have unprecedented human progress.” What to do, then, when trust is broken? In companies, there are many reasons that a rupture can happen. Things like data breaches, a culture of bias and discrimination, a CEO caught disparaging an employee, even a technological error that costs human life. And all those things were happening at Uber. Which is why, in 2017, Frei embedded as a full-time employee at Uber to help them figure out how to rebuild trust after the company had so completely lost it. The sheer scale of the hole that Uber had fallen into is what attracted her. “My favorite trait is redemption,” she says, “I believe that there is a better version of us around every corner, and I have seen firsthand how organizations and communities and individuals change at breathtaking speed.” A loss of trust is no different than most problems — before you can solve it, first you have to understand how it works. Trust has three components, say Frei: authenticity, logic and empathy.  “When all three of these things are working, we have great trust,” she says, “but if any one of these three gets shaky, if any one of these three wobbles, trust is threatened.” Frei believes the way to rebuild trust is to understand where you wobble — whether it’s authenticity, empathy or logic that generally gets in the way of someone trusting you — and learn strategies to correct that wobble. “The most common wobble is empathy,” she says, because “people just don’t believe that we’re mostly in it for them, and they believe that we’re too self-distracted.” Due to the constant demands and distractions of daily life, it can be hard to create the time and space that empathy needs. The fix is pretty easy: “Identify where, when and to whom you are likely to offer your distraction,” says Frei. “That should trace pretty perfectly to when, where and to whom you are likely to withhold your empathy.” If you can truly listen to the people you’re with, you have a chance to fix the wobble. Logic is a wobble either because your reasoning itself is shaky (in which case, Frei says, “I can’t really help you”) or your ability to communicate it is weak. If your tendency is the latter, consider changing the way you structure your communication. Instead of starting with a story and ending with your point, begin with your point in a crisp half sentence and then support your conclusion — rather than the other way around. Bonus to this approach: If you’re interrupted, you’ve already made your point! The toughest of the three wobbles to correct is authenticity. While Frei’s prescription is simple — just be you — being your true self isn’t always easy, especially if you are different from the majority in any way. But remember this: Not being authentic damages trust, which can lead to [...]



Body electric: Notes from Session 9 of TED2018

2018-04-14T01:11:06Z

During the week of TED, it’s tempting to feel like a brain in a jar — to think on a highly abstracted, intellectual, hypertechnical level about every single human issue. But the speakers in this session remind us that we’re still just made of meat. And that our carbon-based life forms aren’t problems to be […]Mary Lou Jepsen demonstrates the ability of red light to scatter when it hits our bodies. Can we leverage this property to see inside ourselves? She speaks at TED2018 on April 13, 2018. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED During the week of TED, it’s tempting to feel like a brain in a jar — to think on a highly abstracted, intellectual, hypertechnical level about every single human issue. But the speakers in this session remind us that we’re still just made of meat. And that our carbon-based life forms aren’t problems to be transcended but, if you will, platforms. Let’s build on them, explore them, and above all feel at home in them. When red light means go. The last time Mary Lou Jepsen took the TED stage, she shared the science of knowing what’s inside another person’s mind. This time, the celebrated optical engineer shares an exciting new tool for reading what’s inside our bodies. It exploits the properties of red light, which behaves differently in different body materials. Our bones and flesh scatter red light (as she demonstrates on a piece of raw chicken breast), while our red blood absorbs it. By measuring how light scatters, or doesn’t, inside our bodies, and using a technique called holography to study the resulting patterns as the light comes through the other side, Jepsen believe we can gain a new way to spot tumors and other anomalies, and eventually to create a smaller, more efficient replacement for the bulky MRI. Her demo doubles as a crash course in optics, with red and green lasers and all kinds of cool gear (some of which juuuuust squeaked through customs in time). And it’s a wildly inspiring look at a bold effort to solve an old problem in a new way. Floyd E. Romesberg imagines a couple new letters in DNA that might allow us to create … who knows what. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED What if DNA had more letters to work with? DNA is built on only four letters: G, C, A, T. These letters determine the sequences of the 20 amino acids in our cells that build the proteins that make life possible. But what if that “alphabet” got bigger? Synthetic biologist and chemist Floyd Romesberg suggests that the letters of the genetic alphabet are not all that unique. For the problem of life, perhaps, “maybe we’re not the only solution, maybe not even the best solution — just a solution.” And maybe new parts can be built to work alongside the natural parts. Inspired by these insights, Romesberg and his colleagues constructed the first “semi-synthetic” life forms based on a 6-letter DNA. With these extra building blocks, cells can construct hitherto unseen proteins. Someday, we could tailor these cells to fulfill all sorts of functions — building new, hyper-targeted medicines, seeking out and destroying cancer, or “eating” toxic materials. Worried about unintended consequences? Romesberg says that his augmented 6-letter DNA cannot be replenished within the body. As the unnatural genetic materials are depleted, the semi-synthetic cells die off, protecting us against nightmarish sci-fi scenarios of rogue microorganisms. On the slide behind Dan Gibson: a teleportation machine, more or less. It’s a “printer” that can convert digital information into biological material, and it holds the promise of sending things like vaccines and medicines over the internet. Photo: Ryan[...]



Announced at TED2018: Explore satellite images with Planet Stories

2018-04-13T19:53:08Z

Back in 2014, Will Marshall took the TED stage to introduce us to his company, Planet, and their proposed fleet of tiny satellites. The goal: to image the planet every day, showing us how Earth changes in near-real time. In 2018, that vision has come good: Every day, a fleet of about 200 small satellites […]Will Marshall and his company, Planet, has launched a fleet of small satellites to image the Earth every day, watching over changes both natural and human-made. At TED this week, he announced a way for all of us to play with this rich data set — 500 or so images of every location on Earth over time. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED Back in 2014, Will Marshall took the TED stage to introduce us to his company, Planet, and their proposed fleet of tiny satellites. The goal: to image the planet every day, showing us how Earth changes in near-real time. In 2018, that vision has come good: Every day, a fleet of about 200 small satellites pictures every inch of the planet, taking 1.5 million 29mp images every day (about 6T of data daily), gathering data on changes both natural and human-made. The images are used by businesses, academics and other professionals to monitor our lovely planet. This week at TED, Marshall announced a consumer version of Planet, called Planet Stories, to let ordinary people play with these images too. You can compare satellite images over time, at any location you choose, and produce time-lapse images that show change and movement. Watch a new neighborhood rise, see slow but dramatic changes in the environment, or watch the tides in a before-and-after comparison of seasonal change. It’s just a little bit addictive. Two simple tutorials will get you started for two weeks of exploring this data set. Create an account on Planet Stories and start playing >> class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='900' height='537' src='https://www.youtube.com/embed/Walu5p8oLws?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'>   [...]



Insanity. Humanity. Notes from Session 8 at TED2018

2018-04-14T02:22:33Z

The seven speakers lived up to the two words in the title of the session. Their talks showcased both our collective insanity — the algorithmically-assembled extremes of the Internet — and our humanity — the values and desires that extremists astutely tap into — along with some speakers combining the two into a glorious salad. […]“If we want to create meaningful technology to counter radicalization, we have to start with the human journey at its core,” says technologist Yasmin Green at Session 8 at TED2018: The Age of Amazement, April 13, Vancouver. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED The seven speakers lived up to the two words in the title of the session. Their talks showcased both our collective insanity — the algorithmically-assembled extremes of the Internet — and our humanity — the values and desires that extremists astutely tap into — along with some speakers combining the two into a glorious salad. Let’s dig in. Artificial Intelligence = artificial stupidity. How does a sweetly-narrated video of hands unwrapping Kinder eggs garner 30 million views and spawn more than 10 million imitators? Welcome to the weird world of YouTube children’s videos, where an army of content creators use YouTube “to hack the brains of very small children, in return for advertising revenue,” as artist and technology critic James Bridle describes. Marketing ethics aside, this world seems innocuous on the surface but go a few clicks deeper and you’ll find a surreal and sinister landscape of algorithmically-assembled cartoons, nursery rhymes built from keyword combos, and animated characters and human actors being tortured, assaulted and killed. Automated copycats mimic trusted content providers “using the same mechanisms that power Facebook and Google to create ‘fake news’ for kids,” says Bridle. He adds that feeding the situation is the fact “we’re training them from birth to click on the very first link that comes along, regardless of where the source is.” As technology companies ignore these problems in their quest for ad dollars, the rest of us are stuck in a system in which children are sent down auto-playing rabbit holes where they see disturbing videos filled with very real violence and very real trauma — and get traumatized as a result. Algorithms are touted as the fix, but Bridle declares, “Machine learning, as any expert on it will tell you, is what we call software that does stuff we don’t really understand, and I think we have enough of that already,” he says. Instead, “we need to think of technology not as a solution to all our problems but as a guide to what they are.” After his talk, TED Head of Curation Helen Walters has a blunt question for Bridle: “So are we doomed?” His realistic but ungrim answer: “We’ve got a hell of a long way to go, but talking is the beginning of that process.” Technology that fights extremism and online abuse. Over the last few years, we’ve seen geopolitical forces wreak havoc with their use of the Internet. At Jigsaw (a division of Alphabet), Yasmin Green and her colleagues were given the mandate to build technology that could help make the world safer from extremism and persecution. “Radicalization isn’t a yes or no choice,” she says. “It’s a process, during which people have questions about ideology, religion — and they’re searching online for answers which is an opportunity to reach them.” In 2016, Green collaborated with Moonshot CVE to pilot a new approach called the “Redirect Method.” She and a team interviewed dozens of former members of violen[...]



Scenes from the Tech Playground at TED2018

2018-04-13T18:39:47Z

Assembled by our tech curator Alex Moura, six exhibits around the theater explore the hands-on, playful and human side of tech. Every exhibit is in some way touchable, relatable — not a piece of shiny gear in a plexiglas box but instead something to step into and be part of and play with. Meet our […]Assembled by our tech curator Alex Moura, six exhibits around the theater explore the hands-on, playful and human side of tech. Every exhibit is in some way touchable, relatable — not a piece of shiny gear in a plexiglas box but instead something to step into and be part of and play with. Meet our Tech Playground: What are Victoria and M doing here? Well, if you could see what Victoria sees, she is interacting with a piece of sculpture with height, depth and a space to crawl into. As sculptor M Eifler describes it: “Their act of looking will reveal the size and position of the sculpture to the rest of us.” Learn more about Invisible Sculpture. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED Have a minute for magic? How about 3 minutes, or 5? If you press one of these buttons, the Short Edition machine at TED2018 will print you a short story or a poem. It’s a small reminder to make and take art every day. Bonus: You can enter a short story contest this week, and maybe see your own short story in these printers as they roll out across North America this year. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED Each of these scrolls contains a short story to read and share. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED Spatial AR is a computing platform based on AR; imagine a 3D interface that turns your computer into a collaborative creative canvas. It’s being developed by interface gurus Jinha Lee and Anand Agarawala, whom you may know from their previous TED Talks about making smarter, better user interfaces. Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED Root Robotics is on a mission to help people explore the amazing things you can do with your imagination and a little bit of code. Root’s app is designed for all ages, and uses music, art and adventure to teach coding in simple, colorful ways. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED In the Mira Prism experience, attendees can collaborate to solve a series of challenges assisted by holographic work instructions, all powered by a smartphone and seen through the transparent lenses of the Mira Prism headset. Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED This is Kuri, the autonomous robot designed with personality, awareness, and mobility. Kuri’s job is to capture life’s little moments while learning the rhythm of your household. She can wake you up in time for work and greet you when you come home at night. Her expressive eyes and robot language add to her uniquely adorable personality. Photo: Jason Redmond / TED     [...]



What can your phone do in the next mobile economy? A workshop with Samsung

2018-04-18T13:09:39Z

What do you imagine your phone doing for you in the future? Sure, you can take calls, send texts, use apps and surf the internet. But according to Samsung, the next corner for mobile engagement could turn your cell phone into a superhero (of sorts) in industries like public safety and healthcare. 5G technology will […]An attendee plays with an interface for exploring the possibilities of the mobile phone at the Samsung Social Space during TED2018: The Age of Amazement, in Vancouver. Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED What do you imagine your phone doing for you in the future? Sure, you can take calls, send texts, use apps and surf the internet. But according to Samsung, the next corner for mobile engagement could turn your cell phone into a superhero (of sorts) in industries like public safety and healthcare. 5G technology will not only improve a company’s ability to deliver faster, higher quality services, but the “greater connectivity paves the way for data-intensive solutions like self-driving vehicles, Hi-Res streaming VR, and rich real-time communications.” Imagine a world where your Facetime or Skype call doesn’t drop mid-conversation, you never have to wait for a video to buffer, and connecting to Wi-Fi becomes the slower option compared to staying on data. At their afternoon worksop during TED2018, Samsung provided a short list of real-world issues to guide thoughtful discussion among workshop groups on how the mobile economy can be a part of the big solutions. Scenarios included: data security in the an evolving retail world; hurricane preparedness; urban traffic management; and overburdened emergency rooms. These breakout out sessions lead to fascinating conversation between those with different perspectives, background and skill sets. Architects and scientists weighed in with writers and business development professionals to dream up a vision of the future where everything works seamlessly and interacts like a well-conducted symphony. After intense discussion, swapping ideas and possibilities, groups were encouraged to synthesize the conversation and share to the larger room. They didn’t just offer solutions, but posed fascinating questions on how we may unlock answers to the endless possibilities the next mobile economy will bring in the age of amazement. A view of Samsung’s social space at TED2018, which featured mobile phone activities for exploring the next mobile economy (as well as delicious coffee). Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED [...]



Altair at TED2018: In the “Age of Amazement,” simulation drives innovation

2018-04-16T13:20:35Z

In a corner of the Vancouver Convention Center — set against a beautiful backdrop of Vancouver Harbour and the mountains of the North Shore, and right between a comfy simulcast lounge and a pop-up coffee and espresso shop — it’s hard to miss an eye-catching vintage red car. It’s the anchor of Altair’s exhibit gallery, showing […]Altair’s exhibit gallery at TED2018 features a vintage car with 3D-printed insides, a helmet designed to reduce football-related head injuries and a Wilson golf driver challenge, among much more. (Photo: Jason Redmond / TED) In a corner of the Vancouver Convention Center — set against a beautiful backdrop of Vancouver Harbour and the mountains of the North Shore, and right between a comfy simulcast lounge and a pop-up coffee and espresso shop — it’s hard to miss an eye-catching vintage red car. It’s the anchor of Altair’s exhibit gallery, showing off the possibilities of simulation-driven innovation. Altair is a leading provider of enterprise-class engineering software enabling innovation from concept design to operation. Their simulation-driven approach is powered by a suite of software that optimizes performance while providing data analytics and true-to-life visualization and rendering. Altair products range from biomimicry software that unlocks the potential of industrial 3D-printing to personalized healthcare with machine learning enabled by the Internet of Things. At TED2018, they invited TEDsters to explore the intersection of human creativity and technology — and the extraordinary impact it has on shaping the world around us. On display at their gallery: an IoT-enabled bodysuit from BioSerenity that records seizures to help diagnose epilepsy; a helmet designed to reduce football-related head injuries created in partnership VICIS, which is set to be used by Notre Dame in NCAA games this coming season; an advanced arm prosthetic … and a vintage car made up of a vintage frame with aluminum 3D-printed insides, created by Altair, APWORKS, csi entwicklungstechnik, EOS, GERG and Heraeus. Altair is also hosting an interactive design experience where attendees can use their simulation software to design a custom Wilson golf driver. The person with the leading design — the one that hits the ball furthest (and yes, thanks to machine learning and Altair HyperWorks’ Virtual Wind Tunnel, there is a right answer to this) by the end of TED2018 will receive a golf driver as a prize. In the “Age of Amazement” — TED’s theme in 2018 — simulation and machine learning will drive innovation. [...]



BMW at TED2018: Putting its self-driving car to the reading, mascara and ramen test

2018-04-14T02:16:05Z

“The ultimate sitting machine.” Please be kind — this is only my first attempt at a tagline for the BMW autonomous vehicle which I just went for a test drive, er, test ride in. Yes, I can proudly say that I’ve gone for a ride in the future — and it’s smooth enough to eat […]“Driving” this autonomous vehicle is as easy as using a microwave, discovered TED Ideas Editor Daryl Chen at the BMW Personal CoPilot Experience at TED2018: The Age of Amazement, April 10. Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED “The ultimate sitting machine.” Please be kind — this is only my first attempt at a tagline for the BMW autonomous vehicle which I just went for a test drive, er, test ride in. Yes, I can proudly say that I’ve gone for a ride in the future — and it’s smooth enough to eat ramen in. Wait, let me back up (just like a car, get it?). At TED2018, BMW has been treating attendees to rides in its i3 cars that have been kitted out with level 5 autonomous vehicle capability. It’s not exaggerating for me to call this vehicle the future. “You will not be able to buy this in the next three years, but today BMW is working on this technology,” says BMW’s US Technology Office Vice President Simon Euringer. “Normally, we don’t do that but because of all the noise about the autonomous vehicles, we think it makes sense to give people a preview.” Even though BMW has been relatively quiet about its self-driving plans compared to some of its rivals, there’s plenty of action happening behind the scenes. In fact, the company just opened an Autonomous Driving Campus near Munich that brings together 80 teams that are working on this effort. The number of people at BMW focused on self-driving cars is estimated by Euringer to be “way north of 1,000.” He adds, “This is one of the biggest investments in car industry; this is probably a bigger investment than electro-mobility. Level 5 means there is no driver in the vehicle, no person behind the wheel. In fact, speculates Euringer, “the car would probably not have even a steering wheel.” BMW, like the other auto companies, foresees driverless cars being used by children and other people who don’t have driver’s licenses. Before my ride, I decided to put the car to a series of tests; I wanted to see if I was able to accomplish three common activities that are challenging in a moving car. My first activity: reading a book. I am an avid reader, but I’m unable to do so in a traditional car because I get carsick. Novel in hand, I got into the backseat of the BMW in the basement of the Vancouver Convention Center. Then, I started the car. “Driving” this autonomous vehicle was like watching a video or using a microwave — I used a touchscreen to enter a destination, hit the “start here” button, and the car began moving. That’s it. Whenever I wanted to stop, I hit the “pause” button and it slowed to a halt. The vehicle glided right through my reading test — the ride was smooth enough that it felt like I was enjoying my book in a comfy leather armchair. I dove into my novel and didn’t emerge until it came time for my next challenge. TED Ideas Editor Daryl Chen puts the vehicle to the all-important mascara test at the BMW Personal CoPilot Experience at TED2018: The Age of Amazement, April 10, Vancouver. Photo: Lawrence Sumulong / TED My second activity was applying mascara. As anyone who has ever put on[...]



In Case You Missed It: Finding space to dream at day 3 at TED2018

2018-04-16T13:20:51Z

TED2018 hit its stride on day 3, with talks from explorers of space and oceans, builders of cities and bridges, engineers of the future and many more. Here are some of the themes we heard echoing through the opening day, as well as some highlights from around the conference venue in Vancouver. Are we alone […]TED2018 hit its stride on day 3, with talks from explorers of space and oceans, builders of cities and bridges, engineers of the future and many more. Here are some of the themes we heard echoing through the opening day, as well as some highlights from around the conference venue in Vancouver. Are we alone in the cosmos? The universe is 13.8 billion years old and contains billions of galaxies — in fact, there are probably a trillion planets in our galaxy alone. People have long thought a civilization like ours must exist or should have existed somewhere out there, but British astronomer Stephen Webb sees another possibility: we’re alone. Thinkers have speculated about all the barriers that a planet would need to house an alien civilization: it would need to be habitable; life would have to develop there; such life forms would need a certain technological intelligence to reach out; and they’d have to be able to communicate across space. Rather than viewing the situation with sorrow and the cosmos as a lonely place, “the silence of the universe is shouting: we’re the creatures who got lucky,” says Webb. One cosmic visitor we just recently met can confirm something else is definitely out there — ‘Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System. University of Hawaii astrobiologist Karen Meech introduces us to the mysterious object, which she says is a package from the nearest star system 4.4 light years away, having traveled on a journey of more than 50,000 years. She believes it could be a chunk of rocky debris from a new star system; other researchers believe it may be something else altogether — evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations, or material cast off in the death throes of a star. “This unexpected gift has generated more questions than answers,” says Meech, “but we were the first to say hello to this visitor from our distant past.” Penny Chisholm explains how an ancient, ocean-dwelling cyanobacterium — Prochlorococcus — could inspire us to break our dependency on fossil fuels. (Photo: Bret Hartman / TED) Ocean explorers. Prochlorococcus is an ancient ocean-dwelling cyanobacterium that Penny Chisholm, a biological oceanographer at MIT, discovered in the mid-1980s. It’s the most abundant photosynthetic cell on the planet and Chisholm believes that it could hold clues for sustainable energy in its genetic architecture. With a gene pool four times the size of the human genome but 1/100th the width of a human hair, this engineering masterpiece might inspire solutions to break our dependency on fossil fuel. If we hope to unlock the wonders of Prochlorococcus in the Age of Amazement, we’re going to need to protect the world’s waters first. Enric Sala, a marine ecologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, proposes the creation of a giant high seas reserve. Falling outside of any single country’s jurisdiction, the high seas are the “Wild West” of the ocean and until recently, it was difficult to know who was fishing (and how much). Satellite technology and machine learning now enable the tracking of boats and revenue, revealing that practically the entire high seas fishing p[...]