Maria Bezaitis: The surprising need for strangeness
In our digital world, social relations have become mediated by data. Without even realizing it, we’re barricading ourselves against strangeness — people and ideas that don’t fit the patterns of who we already know, what we already like and where we’ve already been. A call for technology to deliver us to what and who we need, even if it’s unfamiliar.
A principal engineer at Intel, Maria Bezaitis focuses on how constellations of personal data can form new business models.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER?
Maria Bezaitis examines the social and cultural landscape, charting new directions for technology innovation within it. At Intel, her work focuses on personal data and how it develops relationally – and what this will mean in terms of new business models, the development of new devices and interfaces, and the creation of better security technologies.
Maria joined Intel in June 2006 to direct the People and Practices Research Group. She also played a leadership role at the cutting-edge social research and design organizations, E-Lab and Sapient Corporation. A longtime literature student, Bezaitis finished her Ph.D at Duke University in French Literature.
John McWhorter: Txtng is killing language. JK!!!
Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it’s all good news.
Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
John McWhorter studies how language has evolved — and will evolve — with social, historical and technological developments, in addition to studying and writing about race in America.
In recent work, he’s been urging grammarians to think of email and text messages not as the scourge of the English language but as “fingered speech,” a new form between writing and talking. These digital missives, despite their “shaggy construction,” represent an exciting new form of communication in which “lol” and “hey” are particles, he suggests, and written thoughts can be shared at the speed of talking. Should we worry that knowing how to parse “haha kk” means we’ll lose the ability to read Proust? No, he told the TED Blog: “Generally there’s always been casual speech and formal speech, and people can keep the two in their heads.”
McWhorter teaches at Columbia, where his students, including Yin Yin Lu, Sarah Tully, and Laura Milmed, teach him all about the world of texting. He’s also a contributing editor at The New Republic and TheRoot.com. Among his books on language and on race, a selected list:What Language Is (And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be); Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English; and Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America.
“The man changed my mind about texting. I love to gripe about it, but John McWhorter made me rethink how I felt.” Ginette Evans on TED.com
Juan Enriquez: Your online life, permanent as a tattoo
What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long? In this short talk, Juan Enriquez looks at the surprisingly permanent effects of digital sharing on our personal privacy. He shares insight from the ancient Greeks to help us deal with our new “digital tattoos.”
Juan Enriquez thinks and writes about profound changes that genomics will bring in business, technology, and society.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
A broad thinker who studies the intersection of science, business and society, Juan Enriquez has a talent for bridging disciplines to build a coherent look ahead. Enriquez was the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and has published widely on topics from the technical (global nucleotide data flow) to the sociological (gene research and national competitiveness), and was a member of Celera Genomics founder Craig Venter‘s marine-based team to collect genetic data from the world’s oceans.
Formerly CEO of Mexico City’s Urban Development Corporation and chief of staff for Mexico’s secretary of state, Enriquez played a role in reforming Mexico’s domestic policy and helped negotiate a cease-fire with Zapatista rebels. He is a Managing Director at Excel Medical Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm, and the chair and CEO of Biotechonomy, a research and investment firm helping to fund new genomics firms. The Untied States of Americalooks at the forces threatening America’s future as a unified country.
In his TED Book Homo Evolutis (written with Steve Gullens), Enriquez explores the far reaches of human change, and asks: Are we done evolving?
“Juan Enriquez will change your view of change itself.” Nicholas Negroponte
You Are What You Tweet: Ricky Van Veen
Danny Hillis: The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B
In the 1970s and 1980s, a generous spirit suffused the Internet, whose users were few and far between. But today, the net is ubiquitous, connecting billions of people, machines and essential pieces of infrastructure — leaving us vulnerable to cyber-attack or meltdown. Internet pioneer Danny Hillis argues that the Internet wasn’t designed for this kind of scale, and sounds a clarion call for us to develop a Plan B: a parallel system to fall back on if — or when — the Internet crashes.
Inventor, scientist, author, engineer — over his broad career, Danny Hillis has turned his ever-searching brain on an array of subjects, with surprising results.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Danny Hillis is an inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While completing his doctorate at MIT, he pioneered the concept of parallel computers that is now the basis for most supercomputers, as well as the RAID array. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices, and has recently been working on problems in medicine as well. He is also the designer of a 10,000-year mechanical clock, and he gave a TED Talk in 1994 that is practically prophetic. Throughout his career, Hillis has worked at places like Disney and now Applied Minds, always looking for the next fascinating problem.
Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe: “The Viral Video Manifesto”, Talks at Google
Our speakers are best known as the Coke & Mentos guys, but their specialty is finding creative ways to turn everyday objects into extraordinary things.
They’ve written a new book, just released by McGraw-Hill, titled “The Viral Video Manifesto: Why Everything You Know is Wrong and How to Do What Really Works.”