TEDx Brussels 2010
A few quick notes from this year's edition of TEDx in Brussels.
The Ultimate Future. The universe is a finite state machine. It means it will once be emulated once there is enough processing power. Means we will be resurrected and live all possible lives. There is no evidence that there are any unknown laws in the universe. Theory of everything is there already but we have not admitted it. He can prove it - or so he says. Books: Physics of Immortality, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.
Ambassador of the USA to the EU. Welcoming us to Brussels... WTF?
Predictable Catastrophes. "In science there is only physics - everything else is stamp collecting." The bigger events (e.g. catastrophies) are, the less frequent they are. Straight line. But real extreme events are way out of that line. If everybody knew and acted against such an event, it would not work. Because the behaviour of the people is part of the problem - herd effects, complexity. Worst catastrophies are easiest to predict but never acted against.
Quantum diseases. Prions - kind of proteins. No nucleic acids -- still, they do replicate. Ribbons that fold and have a function. There are trillions of possibilities but they fold into the smallest energy configuration. And they are able to fold that way extremely fast. How do they do it? Appears they depend on quantum-mechanical effects. Instantaneously (in parallel) all options are tried out and the best solution is found. QM has great role in prions because they are so small, but it happens in other biological structures. Even in DNA, which is greater than prions, there are QM effects affecting its structure. So there emerges an internal layer of biology, more primitive, huge computational capacity... so illnesses, evolution, etc. is not just mechanical, but quantum (mechanical)!
Stanford professor. Google. Co-inventor of Street View technology. Congestion, traffic jams. Accidents, death. Solution in driverless, autonomous cars. Major breakthrough came when they changed from programming to training the car. Have it learning rather than having everything pre-defined. Fact: congestion has little to do with the number of cars - but with how the highway is utilized. Currently 92 percent of road is not used because of the way we all drive. Enables car sharing, automatic taxi. We do not need personal cars, most of the time. Hope this guy won't get bumped off by some taxi driver union hired gun :-)
Will quantum biology save the world? Two worlds - one boring, mechanical, the other simultaneous, non-intuitive, quantum. Consciousness - within neurons, quantum.. he wrote this proposal with Roger Penrose.
Anti-intellectualism is spreading. Nerd and geek stereotypes. Say these people are not human; laugh at them. All professors are insane, esp. mathematicians. Clearly bad connotation, it is our mistake towards children. It is a complex stereotype, not a simple one. Children would not pick it up unless it was taught by the wide culture. Nerds do not exist - it is a stereotype, an archetype. With the speed of science and technology development, there are ever bigger gaps between generations and groups. We kind of panic. We apologize for complexity, "boringness"... should stop that. Dreaming is not enough. You do need to have a solid knowledge base before you can actually start speaking about the topic seriously.
Movie and game computer 3D animation. Digital doubles. Always from general to specific, like in other media.
Singularity University. Transhumanism. Ray Kurzweil. Nature does not care. 99 percent species there ever have been are extinct. Questions, answers - and ignorance between them. Anthropocene - the geological era of humans on this planet. Exponential growth. But hitting the resource limits. Information revolution. Tapping the complexity. Sound, video, information, knowledge... things around us become increasingly electronic, digital. Next generation of global network: the Internet of Things. Emerging empathy, autonomy, awareness. Higher efficiency. Less energy needed. Producing anything in the home - only what you need, no need for shipping. Things won't need to be owned - it will be more fun and easy to constantly share. Change of meanings... what is work, what is fun, what is life. "Technomadic" life... vacilando.
Will finance save the world? Innovative financing tools. Tax financial transactions, 5 percent, to create huge funds for development. Need some 30-40 billion euro for that. Do it via G20, to set the momentum. Painless contribution. Education. Bla bla. Thorougly unconvincing. So this is a top adviser to governments. I've got still less trust in any financial system (as we know it) solution for underdevelopment in the world.
Alors on danse?!
How the west was lost. Good intentions that have bad outcomes. Unitended consequences. African governments court and cater donors instead of building their own systems. Capital, labour, productivity = three bases. The last few decades all three are being undermined - through unintended consequences. Capital - everybody should have a house, posessions, etc. financial speculations, everybody indebted to China. Labour - pension funds were good ideas, but it runs out of control, in some countries it will soon exceed 100 percent GDP just to finance that. Productivity - the gains are fantastic, in China. Outcome - while situation has been improving dramatically in many countries, it has not improved much in the west. In the last 30 years the income of westerners has not increased. The west cannot compete anymore with China, India, Brazil. This is the first year that Europe's net (including immigration!) population has decreased. The brain drain from the west to the emerging economy countries has started as well. What, in fact, does the west (still) have to sell to the emerging economies?
The god helmet. Wetware. Our brains. Human-computer interaction, but not just by clicking, by command, but by two-way observation and reaction to subtler clues. Estimated 100 billion neurons in a brain. Brain is very much folded, and it is folded individually, much like a fingerprint. So it is very difficult to find any consistency in the head surface signals. They had to find a translation mechanism for getting from the individual folds to comparable surface. Then they needed to pick the signals. Wireless multi-chanel helmet, like a cheap EEG. Hi-tech stuff, interaction with the brain... but her laptop did not work! OK... very easy, simple training and you have an interface between the brain and a computer - or any other enabled device. Not only for disabled. Not only for switching on the lights by a thought. Hey, anything!
One laptop per child. Schools without schools. If anything can be done using the market forces, then let them do it... and focus on the rest. Not just teaching children, but learning from them. Over 2 million OLPC laptops are out there already. You can throw it to the ground - try to do it with an Intel laptop :-) Put 10,000 books on a laptop and send it to Africa. Multiply. This scale of information delivery would never be possible without it, at least not in the developing world. The poorer parts of the world will be much more used to using digital information than we in the west are. All children in Uruguay have a laptop since one year. To be rural is to be a bit primitive, but not poor. Poverty is something striking in cities. Children in rural areas should get education, laptops. This happens in Peru, where the rural children get a laptop first. In India alone there are 24 percent of world's children. With China, it's over 40 percent. China does not want the laptops, claiming that their "education is teacher-centric, not child-centric". But he claims: If you need to measure the impact, then it is not big enough. Children love the school now that they have laptops. Classes are less formal. More collaborative. Bla bla. Not bad, but Negroponte seems to be losing the innovative edge - this is the same "old" stuff. What if only he moved from laptops to tablets. From e-books to interactivity. If only he mentioned it. Wish he continued innovating.
Mary Lou Jepsen
DIY displays for the masses. Worked for One Laptop Per Child as well. The most expensive part of devices, the most power-hungry. And it uses the most powerful channel of communication with humans -- the visual one. 7 billion people, 5 billion mobile phones, 2 billion computers. All made in Asia. OLPC laptop lasts a week on one charge.
Sugar on a stick. Computation power, processing power should be the thing on the lower shelf, the place that a child can reach and use. We cannot solve world problems, but we can provide the computer thinking power to work on that. Operating system = sugar. Free, open source. And there is no double-click. Double-click is a conspiracy against the older to using the computers :-)
Finally a Belgian. Flown from Boston. Movember. Out of control. About 1.5 percent of the web is powered by Drupal today. Talk about changing the world.
The intention experiment. Life is only in relationship. Nature's drive for wholeness. Like subatomic particles - they are also just relationships rather than anything concrete. Thoughts extend put of our brains. Make plants grow with thought power. Changing the pH of water towards that of wine... sending thoughts of love, peace. WTF. Woooo. Bla bla.
How the bottom billion can harness the resource boom. Oxford University professor. Untapped naturaa resources. Find them. Harness them for development. That will dwarf the development aid as we know it. But how to avoid the usual plunder of natural resources? Please help. This is the biggest opportunity for poor countries to get on their feet.
Building spaceship Icarus - son of the old British project Daedalus! Left NASA to build starships. Interstellar flight. Look for pioneers, individual innovators, not huge organizations like NASA. Tau Zero Foundation. Way too cool to say more!
Marc Luyckx Ghisi
Living 3 lives. Priest in the Vatican. "That finished when I married." Talking about paradigm shifting! Knowledge society, networked brains, innovation, women, youth... "not dinosaurs like myself". Standing ovation!?
Catwalk - fashion for development.
Who is going to save the world. A professor in canon law, Leuven University. Try to be brilliant. But if we are all brilliant, we have to disperse - otherwise we are no longer brilliant. Everybody talks about living in exceptional times, this is it... well, is it? Our ancestors lived those boring lives. Are we living a turning point? Or swimming in circles? Future historians will tell once whether we did live exciting times. Nice to talk about future -- in history you have less room for visions. Futures thinking cannot be wrong. Good showman. Profoundly light!
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