I've been following TED for quite sometime now, they've very engaging talks and their speakers touch on varied subjects in Technology, Entertainment and Design. After watching TED presentations, I feel intelligent, but I've been told that "feeling" is very much different from "being", to which I say, la la la I can't hear you.
What is TED?
TED was created in 1984 as a conference where people from the industries of Technology, Entertainment and Design got together for formal discussions of issues affecting their space.
Old photo of a TED conference in 2003; Image Credits: sbove's
Since then, the range of topics and matters discussed has expanded beyond it's original categories, in fact there have been quite a significant number of presentations that revolve around human psychology and sociology - these speeches might make you re-think the way you perceive some of your notions and beliefs.
Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently.
What's so interesting about them?
Well for one, this nonprofit organisation has some of the most brilliant and insightful content on the Internet. TED bills itself as a vehicle for the dissemination of valuable and substantial ideas and discoveries; their talks are presented by industry mavericks and experts, and all these knowledge are packed into sizeable 20 minute segments and served to viewers for free (in fact, they actively encourage the sharing of their content).
While many of the talks on TED are highly cerebral in nature, they've also artistic performances that pay ode to science and technology. In this critically acclaimed video, the electrifying dancers from popular web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers showcases how the progress of global street-dance culture has been catalysed by the emergence of the Internet.
Recommend Me Some Talks!
All the speakers on TED put in a lot of effort into their speeches and presentations; their 18-20 minute long segment on stage usually involves weeks worth of preparations and many year's worth of studying and research. That being said, here are some of their videos which stood out to me because they were highly relatable and they changed how I perceived the way things work - or more specifically, the human psyche, behaviour and physiology - it's very enriching.
Science journalist Mary Roach telling audiences 10 things they didn't know about orgasms.
The other videos that would be highly relevant to a young generation of connected youths who are living in the age of excess are:
- Eli Pariser: Beware Online "Filter Bubbles"
- Political and Internet activist, Eli Pariser proposes that as web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence - that we'd get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.
- Chris Anderson: How YouTube is driving innovation
- Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation - a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness.
- Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice
- Psychologist Barry Schwartz challenges a central principle of western societies: freedom of choice. He puts forth that choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.
The blockbuster movie Inception takes a page out of TED in that the movie proposes that -
“An idea is like a virus. Resiliant. Highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.”
Well, the guys and ladies at TED have been spreading ideas and seeding them into millions of people since its inception more than 28 years ago and they'll continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
I am both grateful and delighted that such an outstanding resource of knowledge and insights exists - sure, there's an abundance of different informational assets out there, but TED seems to have found the perfect balance between credibility and high accessibility - perhaps it's because most of their topics covered affect us in one way or another, often inspiring us to think about things in a different way.
Do let me know what your favourite TED videos are :) Share them in the comment boxes below!
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By Herman Soh