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The Best TED Talks


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#1 Aegist

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 03:28 AM


These TED talks are great, so I am going to start watching them all, and post my favourite ones here (and invite everyone else to post their favourites)


Nick Bostrom: Humanity's biggest problems aren't what you think they are
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/44


Ray Kurzweil: How technology's accelerating power will transform us
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/38


Richard Dawkins: The universe is queerer than we can suppose
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/98


Jeff Hawkins: Brain science is about to fundamentally change computing
http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/125


Craig Venter: A voyage of DNA, genes and the sea
http://www.ted.com/i...talks/view/id/6

And there are many more to come I am sure. I will add some of Dan Dennets talks and other Dawkins talks soon too.

#2 Aegist

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 03:35 AM

Wow, I didn't know Aubrey had a talk. Wow these talks are impressive.

Aubrey de Grey: Why we age and how we can avoid it
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/39

#3 Live Forever

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 03:49 AM

I check the site every so often to see the new ones.

Yeah, the Aubrey one is a classic...

Also, you mentioned one of Dawkins' talks, but he has a couple: http://www.ted.com/i...kers/view/id/93

Dennett has a couple as well: http://www.ted.com/i...kers/view/id/92 (one of them in response to the talk by Rick Warren, who went directly after the talk by Michael Shermer; All of which are good ones, too)

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#4 maestro949

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 09:27 AM

Ideas Worth Spreading: Hans Rosling. Very good compilation and visualization of the real trends in the world vs preconceived notions.

http://video.google....=TED talk&hl=en

#5 Aegist

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 10:20 AM

I really enjoyed that one Maestro. Best graphing software ever!

#6 maestro949

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 11:16 AM

Indeed, a really good way to present data. Loved the instant replay, heh.

#7 Live Forever

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:19 PM

Yeah, that is a good one maestro. I had seen the guy do a more detailed presentation on the same thing in a Google Tech Talk before:
http://video.google....617766640098677
and was blown away when I saw it.

(Note: Google Tech Talks also have lots of interesting ones as well to watch, in addition to Ted Talks.)

#8 Live Forever

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:46 PM

Here is Aubrey's Ted Talk from 2006, btw. I hadn't noticed, but the above one Aegist linked to was his 2005 one:
http://video.google....943059984264388

I uploaded it to Google Vids awhile back, but forgot I had done so until I was browsing through my account today. That is a bit strange that they wouldn't have it up on the actual TED website.

#9 Aegist

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 06:31 AM

http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/90
The next digital revolution: Prefabrication. Making computers make things.

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#10 Aegist

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 05:56 AM

Well I've done it. I've actually watched all of the interesting looking videos at ted.com :)

Here's another interesting one:
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/58

not that it is especially interesting compared to many of the others, but i just watched it, and it was also good, so theres a link to it.

One thing I realised from watching all of these videos, is that these videos are more than just 'Cool videos', they really are an opportunity to look into some elite secret society. You watch these videos, and u are literally seeing what the people who 'control the world' are looking at.

The introduction does say 1000 remarkable people gather to share their ideas, and I sort of shrugged that off to some extent until i started to really understand that after watching all of the videos, they really are a community of people who get together to learn about the most innovative things happening in society, the most problematic thigns facing society, the most brilliant things individuals have done etc. And the fact that these videos are now completely free and visible on the web for anyone to watch, it really is such a powerful thing for the world to have available to them. it is like we are being given free access to the most secret "Stonecutters" like club on earth.

"Who rigs every oscars night? We do!"

I'd love to see what Aubrey's experience of TED was like. I find that most of the talks are very maintstream acceptable sort of topics, just people talking about something cool they have created or else talking about saving the children etc. Aubrey's talk was quite different from the rest, he seemed more like he was fighting with the Audience. Not that they demonstrate any fight, but moreso in the way he gave the talk, which I am sure is crafted from experience which states 'People don't believe this yet. You have to convince them'. Probably just a true at TED as anywhere else, but I am curious what his experience were of the rest of the weekend after giving his talk. Whether peopel were receptive to his arguments and ideas or resistent or what?

Because if any audience would be open to extreme ideas, TED audience would be a good starting position i would think....

#11 Aegist

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:17 AM

And here is the "Will we live a lot longer" theme:
http://www.ted.com/themes/view/id/44

So one of their entire conferences was dedicated to this topic.

#12 Live Forever

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:19 AM

I looked into going to one of the TED conferences one time, but it is almost impossible to get in to those things. I am glad they put them up on the web.

#13 maestro949

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 09:07 AM

Who rigs every oscars night? We do!"


Well said. The true leaders in todays world aren't politicians or tribal chieftains but those pushing the boundaries of innovation. Every problem has a solution. It takes courage to challenge the status quo and the ancient memes but many of us instinctively know that we can and will do better. These talks are great for the next generation of up-and-coming problem solvers and innovators. Being able to see and hear about various techniques and concepts across the many disciplines combined with online collaboration and learning tools will drive emergent innovation much more rapidly than the 20th century's scientific journals, exclusive conferences and ass-backwards education system did.

#14 Aegist

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:04 AM

Well said.  The true leaders in todays world aren't politicians or tribal chieftains but those pushing the boundaries of innovation.  Every problem has a solution.  It takes courage to challenge the status quo and the ancient memes but many of us instinctively know that we can and will do better.  These talks are great for the next generation of up-and-coming problem solvers and innovators.  Being able to see and hear about various techniques and concepts across the many disciplines combined with online collaboration and learning tools will drive emergent innovation much more rapidly than the 20th century's scientific journals, exclusive conferences and ass-backwards education system did.

And the fact is, now, more than any other time in history, ANYONE can join this elite by just being creative/innovative/clever. Anyone could have made Google. Anyone could have made wikipedia.... there really is no hard boundary stopping people from entering this circle of elite. In that way, there is nothing 'elite' about it.

Just create something which helps the world... LOL. Easy as that. And that is probably the best thing about it.

#15 Live Forever

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 05:50 PM

There have been some new ones added this month http://www.ted.com/talks that are pretty neat, including:

The one on regenerating the body by Alan Russell:
http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/142

The animation of a cell:
http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/147

#16 modelcadet

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 08:44 PM

Yes, TED talks are the shit. As Maestro949 notes, this really isn't so much about clandestine Stone Cutters deciding to give the public a taste of their crack cocaine. Instead, it really just goes to demonstrate the power of openness.

Although it doesn't exist yet, one of my 'projects' (I have lots of these that I will never follow through with because I am too ADD) is to create a University based off of the idea of open source education. Taking things like Connexions and Wikipedia a step further to assign degree credit for attending (either in person or online or through the metaverse mashup of the two) seminars, individual lectures, etc. Credit is weighted socially, 2.0 style. For technical/professional studies, companies and other schools can create or subscribe to 'lenses' indicating acceptable seminars, lectures, courses, etc. for their personal requirements of applicants.

Case and point: It's ridiculous that mathematics is taught on a 'semester' or year course basis. Clearly, while there are certain subjects that fit well together and empirically build off of others, defining a specific unit of material is severely limiting.

Other reasons for such a system are immediately obvious, such as encouraging cross-disciplinary work, allowing accelerated or limited courseload, providing specialization of pedagogical labor, etc.

Aaaaanyway, TED talks are super-neat! One of the things I've realized by devouring these videos and other conference videos, such as google tech talks or MIT's h2O symposium or lecture videos, is that production quality matters. I've started, recently, giving voice lessons, and one of the first things I've tried to impress upon my students is the Poe literary philosophy: Everything for effect. Edgar A. Poe-t was a powerful writer, and an even more powerful critic, specifically because he knew that attention to detail was crucial to achieving powerful art. Specifically, use everything in your medium to achieve the desired result in your subject (thus is the essence of art!) Education, too, is an art. We are excited by TED talks, in part, because the production quality of the seminar series is phenomenal.

Anyway, I wish google's talks were better produced. They bring in such cool speakers (even if I can't understand what the heck half of them are talking about). In time, this will happen (I've noticed more recent google tech talks have some smoother edges than their older brothers), not just with google but with the entire education movement.

It's just sad to see one of my role models, a rare professor, pushing so hard within traditional academia, probably herself to be completely left in the dust of more adaptive systems ('silicon valley').

#17 lucid

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 09:53 PM

Susan Savage-Rumbaugh: Apes that write, start fires and play Pac-Man

Savage-Rumbaugh asks whether uniquely human traits, and other animals' behaviors, are hardwired by species. Then she rolls a video that makes you think: maybe not. The bonobo apes she works with understand spoken English. One follows her instructions to take a cigarette lighter from her pocket and use it to start a fire. Bonobos are shown making tools, drawing symbols to communicate, and playing Pac-Man -- all tasks learned just by watching. Maybe it's not always biology that causes a species to act as it does, she suggests. Maybe it's cultural exposure to how things are done.

--If you haven't seen it yet, then you should.
http://www.ted.com/i...alks/view/id/76

#18 Mind

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 10:52 PM

The bonobo video is really cool, but I don't think there is anything all that earth shattering about it, and on the surface I have to disagree with the researcher a bit (about the cultural aspect). I guess I would expect a species that seems to be half way between chimp and human to have some human traits...some human capabilities.

Bees have language too. They use "dances" and chemical signals. If we learned how to replicate those signals we could "communicate" with bees. But bees are not on the same level as humans as far as intelligence and consciousness goes. Neither are bonobos. Bonobos are certainly closer to humans, and have the ability absorb human culture, but our culture is not what makes us different and more advanced than bonobos, it is mostly because our brains are different.

#19 modelcadet

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 01:39 PM

I just watched the Bonobos video. Mind, of course there are vast biological differences between humans and bonobos that contribute to human culture. But to what extent, also, does culture affect biology. Say as a species bonobos learn to use stone tools or create fire. Their biology begins to change reciprocally.

What's truly exciting to me is the fact that, in reality, the 'intellectual elites' have just as great a difference with the average human as the average human does with bonobos. That our two species' cultures can communicate and learn from one another is deeply encouraging. Remember how biologists are starting to bridge the disconnect between sociology and biology: memetics. Although the analogy isn't 100 percent accurate, what we're essentially doing with these bonobos is altering their 'DNA.' I know this is confusing, but I hope you know what I mean.

#20 JonesGuy

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 02:21 PM

I can't access the page right now. There's one about a guy who does deep cave exploring that's really, really worth watching.

The worldchanging.org speech is excellent too. There are a host of good ideas.

On Jeff Hawkins. I've seen his TED and Almaden talks. What's the opinion on him in the actually neuroscience community?

#21 Aegist

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 02:24 PM

On Jeff Hawkins.  I've seen his TED and Almaden talks.  What's the opinion on him in the actually neuroscience community?

Interesting question. Cat is trying to find some info on him and what he is doing because what he says has a lot to do with her masters topic but I don't think she has found anything much yet. I'll get her to reply though. Do you have a link to that Almaden talk?

#22 Liquidus

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 03:01 PM

What a goldmine!

Now between the slow updates that take forever to process here at work, I can enjoy some very insightful and educational video.

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#23 JonesGuy

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 11:24 PM

http://video.google....earch&plindex=0

Here's the Almaden talks. Hawkins has also started the Redwood Institute, which is about AI development according to his plan. They've got videos online too, but they're not too good quality.

#24 Zarrka

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 01:25 AM

Hey Qjones..

i am trying to research Hawkins atm, its proving to be a little difficult. i think the reason fir that is that hes made his money and his fame through the technology industry, and he really is not well known in the neuro side of things. everythingi sech for comes up with his technologies lol.

However i am reading through his papers, and studying exacly what his redwood centre is trying to achieve, once i have enough info ill post what i have found. at the moment im just reading his papers about various neurological functions. they are interesting, i cant see why the neurologists would have issue with him. As he said theres a lot of data out there someone needs to make a theory, i dont think anyone is going to have a problem with that.

#25 Aegist

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 02:10 AM

I really enjoyed this talk: http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/162
Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures


and then Steven Pinkers talk on Violence was really really really good. Just because it is something I have known for a long time and it consistently annoys me when people think that we live in violent times....

http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/163
Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence

#26 lucid

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 05:16 AM

I really enjoyed this talk: http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/162
Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures


and then Steven Pinkers talk on Violence was really really really good. Just because it is something I have known for a long time and it consistently annoys me when people think that we live in violent times....

http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/163
Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence

Yup that was great, thanks.

#27 caston

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 06:13 AM

Dan Dennett: Ants, terrorism, and the awesome power of memes

http://www.ted.com/i...lks/view/id/116

#28 Mind

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 01:22 PM

Super presentation by Steven Pinker!

I have always been one of the people who views the glass as half full. Despite all the doom and gloom in the media, poverty is on the decline, hunger is on the decline, violence is on the decilne, etc... However, that talk got me to thinking that maybe we should use the media's penchant for reporting only the bad news as a tool to forward our mission. In a world of less violence and death, each instance of death becomes more significant. This applies to death by violence but also by aging and disease. Each time a new and better disease treatment is developed it makes it seem like the last victim of that disease was a great tragedy. Maybe it will be easier to convince people to live as healthy as possible and support anti-agin research because better treatments are 'very near'. Just a thought.

And....I can't help but emphasize the political message from the Pinker video. FREE TRADE=LESS VIOLENCE. Pinker thanks Bill Clinton for the decline of violence during the 1990s. He could've also thanked Bill Clinton for signing NAFTA and other free trade agreements. It is very disconcerting to hear all the current (mainly democrat, but some republican) candidates for President (U.S.) pandering to union members and ripping free trade agreements. There is NO long term advantage to protectionism. It only creates divisions and animosity.

#29 Live Forever

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 08:33 PM

There is NO long term advantage to protectionism. It only creates divisions and animosity.

I totally agree, Mind, and I wish more people were aware of this. Anyone who has studied this at all (Note: mainly economists) will say the exact same thing.

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#30 Aegist

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 12:58 AM

Having just had APEC close our city down, I agree completely. I can sort of understand all of the people protesting against it, but I really think that they don't understand the true value that will come out of global free trade. Sure there will be costs, but the benefits are overwhelming.

One thing Pinker said which did ring true to my mind, was his comment about how the value of life has increased. We used to readily torture people for amusement, and now we look on that as despicable. How could the people back then have possibly thought that torturing people was a good idea? Well, it's easier to do when life has no value...




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