Once upon a time, TED was created by journalist Chris Anderson. Since then, TED has grown into a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED became a platform for spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment, and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
We thought that these 7 TED Talks were absolutely inspiring. Each describes in its own way how computers, technical progress, and digitization will influence our future.
New bionics let us run, climb and dance – Hugh Herr
Hugh Herr is building the next generation of bionic limbs, robotic prosthetics inspired by nature’s own designs. Herr lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago; now, as the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group, he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal — with the help of ballroom dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and performs again for the first time on the TED stage.
Reach into the computer and grab a pixel – Jinha Lee
The border between our physical world and the digital information that surrounds us is dying. Designer and engineer Jinha Lee wants to completely dissolve it. As he demonstrated in this presentation, among his ideas is a pin which penetrates a screen to paint three-dimensional models and a computer prototype, which let us a reach into the screen and manipulate digital objects.
How we teach Computers to understand Pictures – Fei-Fei Li
When a very young child looks at a picture, she can identify simple elements: “cat,” “book,” “chair.” Now, computers are getting smart enough to do that too. What’s next? In a thrilling talk, computer vision expert Fei-Fei Li describes the state of the art — including the database of 15 million photos her team built to “teach” a computer to understand pictures — and the key insights yet to come.
Big data means better data – Kenneth Cukier
Self-driving cars were just the beginning. What is the future of “Big Data” controlled technology and their design? In an exciting scientific lecture Kenneth Cukier explaines where machine learning – and human knowledge will lead.
How a driverless car sees the road – Chris Urmson
Statistically, the least reliable part of the car is … the driver. Chris Urmson heads up Google’s driverless car program, one of several efforts to remove humans from the driver’s seat. He talks about where his program is right now, and shares fascinating footage that shows how the car sees the road and makes autonomous decisions about what to do next.
The wonderful and terrifying implications of computers that can learn – Jeremy Howard
Jeremy is the CEO of Enlitic, which uses recent advances in machine learning to make medical diagnostics faster, more accurate, and more accessible. The company’s mission is to provide the tools that allow physicians to fully utilize the vast stores of medical data collected today, regardless of what form they are in – such as medical images, doctors’ notes, and structured lab tests. This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The extraordinary, wonderful, and terrifying implications of computers that can learn
Drone-ing for life in the atmosphere – David Schmale
David Schmale is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science. One of the goals of his laboratory is to understand how microorganisms are transported over long distances in the atmosphere. Popular Science magazine named David one of 2013’s Brilliant Ten. David’s talk “Drone-ing for Life in the Atmosphere” will share how drones are used to study microbial life hundreds of meters above the surface of the earth.