Monday, August 9, 2010

Inspiration on the Web – TED Talks 1

One of the wonderful discoveries I made when I first signed on to Twitter in 2008 were the TED talks. These are riveting talks by remarkable people free to the world and available as a long term resource. I happened to catch some Twitter coverage of TED2008 early in my use of Twitter and I have been hooked since. These talks cover a lot of ground and I don’t think I can really do them justice by my descriptions so I am just going to highlight some of my favorite TED talks and hope that some of you may watch. They are as much about deep exploration of the human condition as about awareness, technology, love, passion and social trends in general. Many are truly “ideas worth spreading” and TED also has one of the most successful crowdsourcing translation projects on the web today. Almost 10,000 translations into 75 languages by inspired volunteers. TED is a regular source of inspiration and new ideas for me and I thought it would be cool to share some of my favorite talks. I probably could make a series of blog entries highlighting more and perhaps I will.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk is a prime example of amazing insights presented in a crisp clear way to completely transform one’s view of everyday life while educating and inspiring you. Still moves me deeply.

Hans Rosling has several talks that are all wonderful and it is hard to choose one but I have chosen one where he talks about a Rising Asia. He makes talking about long term socioeconomic trends fun and I love his use of graphics.

Jose Antonia Abreu has transformed young children into an astonishing orchestra and even if you don’t really care about classical music you will realize that what these kids have accomplished is special. If you know something about classical music your reaction will likely be amazement.

Ethan Zuckerman whose essay on the Polyglot Internet has become the manifesto for the Open Translation Tools community and who I have referenced often in my blog. Here he lays out how the internet could actually create closed communities of “sameness” rather than really connect diverse people globally, if we are not vigilant.

This one is for my daughter who is working in the Teach For America (TFA) program . She has made a huge impact on the academic standing of her class of students in an “under privileged” school. For those of you who define your self-worth by the money you make and the stuff you buy, you may find this offensive: Taylor Mali on the huge impact that good teachers have (in 3 minutes flat).

Here is a talk that compares the mythical foundations of East and West and uses them to explain differing attitudes in work and business styles. Useful stuff for you localization (and especially transcreation) people out there.

Finally, this is a short talk by Alisa Miller that shows how limited American news consumption is. In 5 minutes she manages to make a significant point.

I hope that you will try and get to one or two (or maybe all )of these and I would love to hear what TED talks have really struck your fancy. I know I could make a much longer list and maybe I will do an update some time in the future. But in the meantime here is a list of the greatest TED talks made by Fast Company who also describes the growing influence of  TED very nicely as -- "the first new top-prestige education brand in more than 100 years."  And this force with growing momentum is described in this article.  They contrast TED to the old symbol of learning and ideas (the Ivy League Colleges) in this way, "unlike fearful old-school colleges, TED is finding that the more open it is, the more it becomes the global education brand of the 21st century."

We can all learn from this openness and willingness to share.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Kirti, thank you for the article.

    I came to TED following your tweets. I become one of the inspired volunteers since then. For the "Ideas worth spreading," I am willing keep on translating, because the website is not a commercial entity and because it provides insights into human condition to enhance our awareness and thus helps to improve our world.

    - Wenjer