Regina Saphier: Really Big Understanding with Larry Page

Larry Page (co-founder and CEO of Google Inc.) lost his voice due to a viral infection that attacks his thyroid. His left vocal cord paralyzed after he first got ill, and his right vocal cord was paralyzed in 2012. The vocal cords pass the thyroid so his voice loss is almost certainly related to his Hashimoto thyroiditis, but his doctors keep telling him, that the cause of his problem is unknown and there is no cure. (I might add, that in my opinion he got ill after contracting mononucleosis 14 years ago… mono is very common in the US among young people… the virus that causes it remains dormant in nerve tissue, causes the thyroid to slow down, due to inflammation, reduces energy, and can later in life cause severe health issues, including different types of cancers… but he did not mention that in his public statements… I don’t know if he knows how dangerous that type of virus is… especially in people with a particular genetic configuration…)

Ted 2014 Conference, Vancouver Convention Cent...

TED2014 Conference Venue (Photo: L. Lawreszuk)

Imagine if such a smart and rich person is unable to find help and sufficient information in one of the most developed countries, sitting on top of unimaginable amounts of google data: What happens to you and me when an illness disables us… especially in a less developed nation, with a terrible healthcare system and extreme stress day by day…? We are so fragile, even the strongest and healthiest among us can unexpectedly become ill and families suffer! It would definitely help all of us if our anonymous medical records were globally available to the medical community and citizen scientists to find the cause and the cure for our illnesses. Imagine your public data being analysed, compared, and imagine having a medical social network where one day your solution would pop up based on big data, global analysis and (as Richard Saul Wurman, founder of TED likes to say) “big understanding” …

I would definitely join this movement, if the tools were in place. If we all share, we all gain something that has never been seen before. Not only could this help you get healthy, but it could help you prevent illness. Imagine this on a global scale! From tragic events that happen to rich, famous and smart people come amazing changes. I hope he will find his solution for his medical issue and live a long, healthy, satisfied and productive life. I hope this story brings health to millions or even to billions of people globally. Here is his latest public appearance, at TED 2014 in Vancouver, BC, Canada a few days ago. I was fortunate enough to watch live:

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TED Turns 30 in 2014

TED (conference)

Richard Saul Wurman notified me a few weeks ago that he started TED 30 years ago on this day.

The

Technology Entertainment and Design

Conference

is entering it’s fourth decade under the leadership of Chris Anderson and his team.

Happy birthday to the TED idea itself

and

the TED community around the world. 

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Saphier Regina: A TED a Coursera Virtuális Előszobája

Láttam egy frusztrált pasast, amint a TED-et kritizálta egy TEDx eseményen. Szegény eltévedt ember! Szerintem a Guardian cikk írója, Benjamin Bratton eleve túldimenzionálta a TED-et. “Megette” Chris Anderson világmegváltó PR maszlagát… és abban csalódott! Meglepő naivitás egy olyan embertől, aki komolykodó és önreklámozó TEDx előadásában felszínességgel vádolja a TED szervezőit és előadóit, ezáltal magát a közönséget is. Bár mostanában inkább Coursera kurzusokat nézek, és bár mindig is inkább az élő TED konferenciákat preferáltam a videókkal szemben, tehát nem foglalkozom napi szinten a TED kérdéskörével, azért elmondom mégis, hogy mit gondolok… mert megkérdeztek.

Véleményem szerint az, amit ő keres, “a világmegváltásra alkalmas mélyen-szántás” és “tettek”, mindez a TED-ben nincs meg, és nem is ez a valódi célja, bármit is mondjon Chris Anderson a TED jómódú közönségének és a pénzes cégeknek. A TED elsődleges célja önmaga sikeres fönntartása. Mindig is ez volt az elsődleges cél, már Richard Saul Wurman idejében is. Pusztán másodlagos célja az emberek ismeretekkel való ellátása, és szerencsére ebben is sikeres. A mély tudás terjesztése soha nem jelent meg a valódi céljaik között. Amikor én pl. önkéntesként TED előadásokat fordítottam, nekem sem volt olyan illúzióm, hogy mondjuk egy TED előadás a mobil eszközök egészségügyben való felhasználásáról gyökeresen és egycsapásra megváltoztatja majd a magyar egészségügyet. Viszont biztos voltam benne, hogy hozzáadok egy marék szükséges kavicsot a változás épülő ösvényeihez.

Benjamin jobban tenné, ha az egyetemén keresztül adna a világnak egy Coursera kurzust. 100 000 diáknak mondhatná el mély gondolatait, lehetőleg érdekesen és szintén globálisan, két-három hónap alatt. Aztán jöhet a következő TEDx előadás Benjamin-tól, melyben tömören elmondja nekünk, hogy milyen volt a Coursera kurzusa, milyenek voltak a diákok, mit tanult a folyamatból, hogyan változtak meg a közösségek, melyeknek tagjait online és heteken át elérhette… de Benjamin sajnos nem vetett fel semmi ilyesmit, ő csak fel és alá járkált a TEDx színpadon, kicsit magában dohogva, hogy “ejnye már, milyen felszínes ez a TED”. “Talán a gondolatokkal van baj?” Szerintem Benjamin TED értelmezésével van baj.

Aki ismeri Richard Saul Wurman alapítói szándékait, az tudja, hogy a TED eredetileg egy for profit konferencia volt, amit RSW saját kedvtelésére, de üzleti céllal hozott létre. Miután Chris Anderson később, pár millió dollárért megvette a TED jogait, hamarosan jött az IT buborék probléma (korábban összeomlott a for profit média cége, így nem hagyhatta, hogy a non-profit sík is bedőljön), és ki kellett valamit találnia, hogy a már non-profit TED projektet, mely a Sapling Alapítványé, hogyan tartsa fönn konferencia bevételekből (online és offline), illetve adományokból. El kellett adnia a sok ezer dolláros jegyeket és tagságot, illetve az online közvetítést. Ez például egy nagyon fontos narratív réteg, amit én átlátok, de Benjamin egyértelműen nem. Én soha nem vártam világmegváltást a TED-től. Ismeretterjesztést, lelkesítő, inspiráló gondolatokat, teljesítmény vagy cél ismertetést, illetve szórakoztatást vártam, és ebben elég jók még ma is, amikor a verseny hatalmas, ilyen téren is.

Ezt az írásomat tudom ajánlani… arról, hogy mi volt a véleményem (sokrétű tapasztalatokkal a hátam mögött) 2012 elején a TED-ről. Nekem a tartalom eredetiségével volt bajom, ami persze nem csak az ő hibájuk, hiszen az online tartalmak választéka hihetetlen mértékben bővül. Ezt pedig pár héttel később írtam, miután kellemesen elbeszélgettem a TED eredeti alapítójával. A legjobb, ha az ember megvizsgálja azt, amiről ír (beszél), és vagy közvetlenül ismeri azokat, akik létrehozták vagy létrehozzák, vagy minimum alaposan utánuk néz.

Hozzá kell tennem, hogy a Guardian cikk írója azt sem méri fel, hogy a TED fordítások, a TEDx kapcsolatépítések, a TED videó megosztások mekkora hatással vannak az emberekre és a társadalmakra, például konkrétan a TED rajongók kifejező képességére, önérvényesítésére, a motivációikra, vagy a választásaikra. A TED-től világmegváltást várni olyan, mintha valaki Salman Khan-on és a Khan Akadémián kérné számon pl. a világ írástudatlanságát. Salman eredetileg a saját unokahúgának készített tanulást támogató youtube videókat. Időközben mások is elkezdték nézni, majd létrejött egy globális közösség, mely Salman videóival oktat általános iskolásokat. Sőt, gyakran felnőttek hoznak be saját gyerekkori lemaradásokat a Khan Academy videóival, például a matematika területén. Különösen érdekes az értékelési szoftverük, mely az egyéni haladást iskolai csoportban is könnyedén lemenedzseli, saját tempót tesz lehetővé. Mind a TED-nek, mind a Khan Akadémiának, mind pedig a Coursera kurzusoknak megvan a maguk helye az online tudásmegosztási hierarchiában, vagy inkább mátrixban.

Érdekességek: A 2014-ben immár 30 éves TED konferenciát a kétezres évek elején átvállaló Chris Anderson Pakisztánban született, nyilván brit állampolgárként… majd az USA-ba költözött. Szülei még misszionáriusok voltak, ő már Oxfordban végzett ateista üzletember. A Coursera alapítói közül a harmadik generációs PhD Daphne Koller Izraelben, Andrew Ng Angliában született, de sokat időzött Hong Kong-ban és Szingapúrbanma mindketten Kaliforniában élnek, kutatnak és tanítanak. Salman Khan második generációs amerikai, szülei még Indiában és Bangladesben születtek, de ma ő is kaliforniai lakós, és korábban befektetési elemző volt. Ami közös bennük: képesek a világot nem amerikai szemmel is nézni, de mindeközben kiválóan elboldogulnak az amerikai intézményrendszerben és társadalomban, intelligensek, vannak ambícióik és gyakorlatias idealisták.

A TED eredeti alapítója, Richard Saul Wurman anyai ágon első, apai ágon második generációs amerikai (apja New Yorkban született, bevándorolt lengyel szivarkészítő fia, anyja Oroszországban született bevándorló, kóser hentes családból származik), és mindkét ágon Richard az első diplomás. Ma Newport-ban él, Rhode Island államban, az USA keleti partvidékén. Mivel a pontos származási hátterét sehol nem találtam meg online, írtam neki gyorsan a facebook-on, és ő azonnal válaszolt (mivel rendszeres kontaktusban vagyunk), úgyhogy abszolút első kézből származik az információ. Az ő esete azért érdekes, mert az első generációs diplomások általában meglehetősen szakbarbárok, őt azonban minden érdekli, és nagyon sok mindennel foglalkozott életében, az építészettől, az információ dizájnon át, a könyvkiadásig, és a konferencia alapításig. Unta a szokványos, formális konferenciákat, és akart egy másfajta konferenciát, ami az ő kolibri agyának is megfelel. Én az ilyen emberekre azt szoktam mondani, hogy “magához görbíti a teret”, nem szeret alkalmazkodni. Az ilyen erős egyéni gravitációval rendelkező emberek hozzák létre az új dolgokat a világban. Nem könnyű emberek, de számomra nagyon érdekesek. Miközben Richard még látta az édesanyja “idegen tekintetével” az USA-t, ő már vérbeli amerikai, ugyanakkor sokat utazik, és sok emberrel találkozik. Folyton tanulmányoz valamit, most éppen a városokat. Ma is korát meghazudtolóan aktív, pedig közel van a nyolcadik X-hez. Örülhetünk, hogy 30 évvel ezelőtt annyira unatkozott, hogy megszületett a TED konferencia. Richard idejében még minden spontán zajlott a színpadon, családias hangulatban, offline. Chris TED-je már begyakorolt, strukturált, és online.

Ez itt egy csodaszép adat vizualizáció, a TEDx eseményeket, előadásokat, témákat és gondolatokat, ezek komplex globális összefüggéseit mutatja be (Visualizing the TEDx idea network). Mi ez, ha nem a gondolatok hatásos terjedése…?

Szerintem manapság, az igazi változás alapját a Coursera teszi le, minden nap. Évekig azzal nyaggattam a TED vezetőit, hogy legyen a TED.com egy online egyetem… de egyik fülükön be, a másikon ki, még akkor is, ha manapság van olyan zárt konferencia szekció, hogy: “TED University”… de ez valójában nem egyetem. A Coursera azonban egyetemek összessége és még annál is több, ingyen! “Csak” egy online felsőoktatási szolgáltatási iteráció és egy komplex kísérlet. Elég jól haladnak, nemes célokkal, és ki tudja, hogy mi lesz a vége, és ki tudja felmérni a pontos hatásait… de komoly hatásuk van, az első percektől kezdve.

Azt minden értelmes és tájékozott ember tudja, hogy sem a TED, sem a Coursera nem nevezhető hatástalannak. Ha “csak” annyi történt, hogy emberek milliói látták Sir Ken Robinson előadásait világszerte, és rájöttek, hogy más is okkal utálja az ipari jellegű oktatási rendszert, és ha “csak” annyi történt, hogy Daphne Koller és Andrew Ng látta Salman Khan TED előadását, és létrehozták a Coursera-t, melynek egy csapásra több millió diákja van világszerte, akkor máris sikernek könyvelhető el a TED. Ugyanakkor az is tény, hogy ennél sokkal több történt és történik. Minden nap valami új!

Véleményem szerint valójában arról van szó, hogy olyan ember nyilvánított hamis alapokon nyugvó és öncélú kritikát TED ügyben egy TEDx során, aki nem is érti ezeket a felületeket, közösségeket, és folyamatokat. Éppen azt gyomlálná ki a TED-ből, ami a lényege, hogy sok tömören megfogalmazott gondolat és inspiráció jusson el emberek millióihoz, akik remélhetőleg a kíváncsiságuktól vezérelve majd a maguk egyéni módján elmélyednek a felvetésekben, online és a saját közösségeikben egyaránt. Aki ma meghallgat egy érdekes és ingyenes TED előadást mondjuk az informatika témakörében, az holnap felvehet egy releváns és ingyenes kurzust a Coursera rendszerén keresztül, és megismerheti a téma mélységeit, majd pedig szakemberként hatással lehet a közegére (online és offline egyaránt). Ugyanez igaz a táplálkozásra, a környezetvédelemre, a mentális egészségre, a közgazdaságtanra, a történelemre, a politikára, a költészetre, és még hosszan sorolhatnám a lehetőségeket.

Összefoglalvaa TED és a Khan Academy például a Coursera (és más minőségi MOOC programok) egyik színes és virtuális előszobája. A TED a megfelelő kontextusba helyezve kiválóan betölti a szerepét. Mivel a TED tartalmait főleg két újságíró válogatja össze (Chris és Bruno évente kétszer kb. 70 előadót hív meg), érdemes a TED konferenciákra úgy gondolni, hogy: adva van néhány szerkesztő, és ők töméntelen mennyiségű előadót állítanak színpadra, akik magazin terjedelemben, de “szájjal blogolnak” valamiről (ezt most ötlöttem ki, az érthetőség kedvéért), amivel évek vagy évtizedek óta foglalkoznak. Ezek tulajdonképpen “színpadi blog szkeccsek”… ha nagyon beleillenek a TED kurátorainak pseudo-világmegváltó narratívájába, akkor a gondolatok a TED.com-on át, megvágott videók formájában terjednek tovább. Hogy ezek közül mi az értékes vagy érdekes, azt a nézők ízlésére bízzák, hiszen a műfaj populáris és nem szakmai. A TED konferencia egy rendkívül sikeres networking esemény (ma már főleg filmsztároknak, illetve B kategóriás cégvezetőknek, a korábbi A kategóriával szemben), míg a TED.com egy amerikai székhelyű, de nemzetközi tartalmú videó magazin, egy média innováció a maga nemében. Ettől a konstellációtól és közösségtől világmegváltást várni egyenesen butaság. A Scientific American tudományos vagy a Wired technológiai magazinoktól sem várja senki, hogy megoldják az emberiség égető problémáit, és azt sem gondolhatja komolyan senki, hogy a PubMed.gov kutatási cikkeinek alaposságával és szakzsargonjával hozakodnak majd elő, de ettől még nagyon hatásosak, felkeltik az emberek érdeklődését a tudományok, a technológia és más izgalmas szakterületek iránt. Akiben ott van a fogékonyság a PubMed színvonal iránt, az majd beiratkozik egy Coursera kurzusra. Továbbá ne lepődjön meg senki, ha egy Coursera videóban és tananyagban TED előadás linket talál, mert vannak elképesztően jó TED videók, melyek kiválóan használhatóak egyetemi szinten, egy-egy problémakör megvilágítására.

Ha tetszik a cikkem, kérlek, hogy nyomj egy “like”-ot és oszd meg a cikk linkjét a Facebook-on, a LinkedIn-en vagy a Twitter-en! Köszönöm, hogy elolvastad és megosztottad.

Érdekel a téma? Egy másik tematikus blogomon részletesen bemutatom a Coursera-t, kivételesen magyarul: http://mycourserablog.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/digitalis-optimizmus-tanulj-ingyen-ivy-league-szinten

Regina Saphier: The United States of China (Part 2)

Regina Saphier: The United States of China (Part 2)

 

After Eric X. Li’s TED talk was published, My TED Blog views hit an all time high globally, especially in the US. In addition, a few days after the talk was published, Richard Saul Wurman (the creator of TED) was kind enough to repeatedly post my blog link on his facebook wall and I wrote some extra material in response to two comments by his friends. Here are my comment responses, edited for my blog (remember, these paragraphs below were written by me in response to two comments, so some parts might appear to be out of place, but I did not want to fragment the text by removing those bits):

My comment response #1.: In part I wrote my essay because I noticed the enthusiastically applauding TED audience after EXL’s talk live and I realized that probably not many there witnessed the collapse of a dictatorship from the inside (especially not the collapse of an enormous system of multiple dictatorships under a mega oppressor in the form of the USSR) and not many at TED Global experienced the painful, deep and long lasting social and economic scars such a pathologically delusional system leaves behind. (Even most of those people living in these former socialist and communist countries don’t realize the trauma, the massive PTSD, because of the lack of cultural comparison and due to lack of information.) Hungary (a former “Satellite State”) and the “Eastern Bloc” countries still, after twenty years struggle with those unresolved issues and those issues are not going to be over for a long time.

Of course you should question anything that comes out of China in the suspiciously eloquent form of a propaganda talk or in the form of a superhumanly optimistic survey analysis of growing wellbeing in a developing country. (More in my next comment below.)

My comment response #2.: Anyone can show enormous growth at that scale with really low cost of labor when not having any regard for nature and individual needs, when the only target is growth. However, it is not a sustainable rate of growth, not a sustainable way of development in China. Imagine the income inequality that characterizes less than 6 000 USD GNI per year per capita among over a billion citizens, especially if you consider that the US is criticized for the shocking income inequality in the 50 000 USD GNI per year per capita range among “only” a few hundred million citizens. Are you able to grasp the difference in terms of quality of life? The two systems are not to be compared. One is a developed and established economy, the other is a fragile developing country. Still, both can be criticized endlessly in their own leagues. China at this point is a huge bubble waiting to burst. Naturally: larger, more established and more sustainable economies can not grow at China’s rate. Plus: don’t forget the economic casualties in other countries, the lost jobs, the lost income, the lost social status, the poverty that was created (among other things) by the unfair competition at irrationally low labor costs in China and by the insane target of forever growing consumption globally. In addition, imagine what is going to happen to the Chinese labor force when AI technology makes them completely obsolete in the future. The World is one interdependent system and China’s government has no regard for that, while other countries are also only learning to understand what all this means. If you look at this complex image and if you have some insight and even the ability to maintain the outsider position, it is surreal how EXL was able to lead the attending, highly educated, intellectually and financially influential TED audience by their noses. On top of this EXL also believes what he says. To me he is just another believer in the wrong thing because it appears to work for him. He is a skilled conformist. In a way he is the “other” you should take to lunch to have a conversation about differences in world views. But can you have an open and real dialog with someone who does not believe in freedom for his own countryman?

My comment response #2 continued: Before 1989 I could not travel freely. It was really hard and complicated to get out of Hungary (I could only travel to the US in 1981 as a child with my parents because my father’s sister lived there and she invited us… and because the Hungarian authoritarian regime, on the western edge of the “Eastern Bloc” started to slowly fall apart and a few years later it disintegrated completely, along with the rest of the sick system). After 1989 I was able to attend French school in Villefrance-sur-Mer for example in the nineties, on the hill, right behind you on your facebook profile picture (I recognized the view immediately when I looked at your profile). Later, when I did not have to use a passport on the border traveling from Hungary to Austria… well, I will never forget this new feeling of being a citizen of the EU. Since joining the EU in 2004, Hungary is going downhill economically, but this is not caused by the EU membership. It is caused by the “post-system change syndrome” or “PSCS” as I call it (before and after 1989: people faced very different expectations, but the people on the cellular level and so their attitudes remained the same). Leaders of old EU member states don’t recognize the need to help nations with this national PTSD. If you think about it, an individual with PTSD needs help and can not be forced to perform like people without PTSD. An individual with PTSD is also highly likely to pass on genetic susceptibility to PTSD to the fetus, this is scientific fact since 9/11. Imagine that on a national scale after decades of trauma! This in my humble opinion is a huge problem. Decades of social, psychological and so physiological and in turn biological trauma revealing itself today, and preventing adequate present day adaptation and development on a national scale. Hungarians were part of a closed and planned, surreal “1984” kind of system until 1989. Even most of their children don’t possess the appropriate skills today to navigate the high waves of an open market in the middle of a global economic crisis and during an era of transition in so many arenas of an increasingly globalized, online and mobile life.

When the Hungarian government now turns east, it is because the turning west did not work out for the political “elite” here. It is due to lack of appropriate communications and understanding between the western and the eastern elites, but not the way EXL wants you to believe. Just look at citizens in Germany, so close to each other (not apart like the US and China). People in the eastern part are very different from the people in western Germany. Decades of epigenetic changes due to a long era of suffering, fear, stress, anxiety and lack of resources and lack of freedom don’t disappear from one day to the other. At least two generations have to go before people in Germany start to look similar and indistinguishable again. I am not saying that people in the US and in China must be similar, diversity is important, but in fact many people in China are more and more americanized already and perhaps this is not what those people need.

When I look at my blog statistics, I see the map of the world… I see readers from everywhere. Views of My TED Blog went up by +9,012.50% last week after people watched Li’s talks and read my critical post. Still, there were no readers from China (for obvious reasons). I want that to change.

Dictatorships not only brainwash and isolate people, they also distort people on the cellular level for generations. That is a crime against humanity. Outsiders and even privileged insiders usually “somehow” fail to see that. Change makers in these countries are mostly regarded as strange and are powerfully hindered by the conformist masses and by the rotten status quo even after the dictators are long gone. Anyone who understands this should advocate for appropriate social and political change in China, but not necessarily for the kind that was made in America.

And if you would like to understand how Americans were brainwashed into consumerism during the last century (and at the same time into paradoxical impulse suppression) watch the fantastic BBC documentary: “The Century of the Self“. I wrote about this brilliant documentary in 2009 (in Hungarian, on my first blog). This kind of PR based consumer brainwashing is already happening in China. It also happened in Hungary and it did a lot of harm.

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Regina Saphier: TEDMED or Your Gut Feeling and Big Data

Regina Saphier: TEDMED or Your Gut Feeling and Big Data

It is time I posted something about TEDMED, even if (unfortunately) I have no access to live TEDMED events. I however still watch those post production videos on TEDMED and I sometimes post them on my facebook wall with my comments. So, here are two of those posts, their slightly edited and extended blog versions, with added articles for deeper knowledge of the topic at the end of my blog post.

As a young doctor Peter Attia blamed an obese woman with diabetes for her terrible condition (while giving her the best possible medical care he was able to provide). Later he who is knowledgeable, fit and eats right, learned that he too was insulin resistant. In fact there are millions of lean people who are insulin resistant, while also millions who are obese but have no trace of insulin resistance. Peter says that he is very sorry that he let his patient down as a human being and one can see that he is truly ashamed of his mistake. Right now Peter is exploring the possibility that obesity is perhaps not the cause of insulin resistance but rather the result of an underlying, yet undiscovered mechanism that is behind the complex metabolic syndrome that is related to diabetes, insulin resistance and obesity.

I am glad someone finally noticed that. A healthy body does not get fat. A healthy person does not want to sit on the couch all day. If you feel like sitting all the time, and if your diet is healthy and you are still packing it on, something happened to you that should be fixed. The same is true if you are thin, have a slow thyroid, still, no matter how much you eat, you can not put on weight. I suspect one direction to explore is how our microbiome is related to these issues. I am sure that people with metabolic syndrome have a similarly screwed up gut flora, or some other consistent disharmony in their microbiome. Peter could work well with Larry Smarr‘s big data approach.

My kind of hero: Larry Smarr used big data (he compared his medical data to many other people’s medical information, like their lab results and the composition of their gut flora), a supercomputer, genetics, and science to precisely diagnose the dramatic changes in his microbiome that are making him ill. He now knows that his CRP (a marker for inflammation) is high because of a slowly developing intestinal illness (not yet visible with a colonoscopy!), due to a mass extinction of good bacteria and an overgrowth of harmful components. Quantified self at its best, but medicine is not there yet. His out of balance microbiome composition is consistent with one particular illness that shows the same imbalance in other similarly ill people. So, now he knows what is wrong, he also knows that this is a key to the future of medicine, but the knowledge and the methods to treat his illness based on his scientific and extremely precise diagnosis are not in place yet… But I am telling you to watch this field! And watch this video to look into the future of medicine. Below I am also providing relevant articles and citations for further reading.

Update (December 21, 2013):

A very important talk by Jessica Richman of uBiome @ TEDMED 2013  (Thank you Jessica for sending me the link during our AngelList discussion!)

Could a citizen scientist win a Nobel Prize?

“Scott McCollum asks:

What are your thoughts on the gut microbiome and obesity? Where’s the current research at and where is it headed?

Attia responds:

The current body of evidence certainly suggests that the gut biome plays a role not only in obesity, but more importantly insulin resistance and metabolic dysregulation. Perhaps one of the most amazing clinical observations is the amelioration of diabetes in patients undergoing gastric bypass prior to losing any weight post surgery. This at least suggests that the weight loss per se is not the issue in type two diabetes. Rather, something in the gastric bypass may be altering flora in the gut, which may in fact be altering the underlying insulin resistance. The most interesting question form my vantage point is this: Can the benefit of gastric bypass on the insulin resistant patient be achieved through a dietary intervention that also interrupts the gut biome? Stay tuned.”

“We’ve known for a few years that obese mice transplanted with the intestinal community of lean mice lose weight and vice versa. (We don’t know why.) A similar experiment was performed recently on humans by researchers in the Netherlands: when the contents of a lean donor’s microbiota were transferred to the guts of male patients with metabolic syndrome, the researchers found striking improvements in the recipients’ sensitivity to insulin, an important marker for metabolic health. Somehow, the gut microbes were influencing the patients’ metabolisms.” (By MICHAEL POLLAN, Published: May 15, 2013)

Regina Saphier: The United States of China

Regina Saphier: The United States of China

I had my personal opinion, but I did not know that I had anything to say about China until I got an e-mail from Eric X. Li thanking me for my thoughtful writeup of his talk at TED Global 2013. That was the second when I realized that I need to say more, because my quick summary projected the impression that I agree with him. Well, mostly I don’t. I am able to see that he is a talented individual and I think it is true that new leadership models need to be introduced in the world, but I strongly disagree when it comes to the Chinese leadership model, as the right solution for China. Below I explain why. Hereby I present my critical, comparative essay in response to Eric X. Li‘s TED Global 2013 talk (talk published on July 1, 2013). He is an investor from Shanghai and a political scientist, also the Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Going from communism to capitalism, from groups to individualism… to understand the rotten political narratives of societies we need people like Eric with personal historic and political perspective and analytical insight. According to Eric democracy was also sold to nations as was communism, but China did not buy it this time (not that it is in any way perfect, he added)… China did not go from communism to capitalism, rather created a hybrid system that works in many ways for them and meta narratives are the Cancer that are killing democracies around the world, Eric told us. In his opinion this global meta narrative is boring, that all nations should become democratic. In my opinion witnessing a dictatorship redressing itself is what is boring. It is also just plain sad to see a western educated young man tell the world to promote pluralism and at the same time promoting the tragic fact that pluralism is forbidden in China. Eric! Face it: there is nothing exceptional about Hungarians, nothing exceptional about Americans, and nothing exceptional about Chines people. We are all from Earth. We were all born on Earth. Your economy has powerful spillover effects, for example Hungary’s textile industry is dead. Your pollution is all over the planet. I have seen people like you being enthusiastic about a dictatorship and 40 years later those people try to make people forget what they did, what they supported, what they were saying. 40 years from now your split narrative will be all over the web. Your old self might one day regret the words you repeated again and again today.

Let me add: It is interesting if you compare this with the narrative of a journalist, that Hungary is the Cancer in the EU… Perhaps the EU uses the wrong narrative? Some people in the EU do that, definitely. Also, never generalize. Hungary is full of people who do not agree with the state of things in Hungary and never voted for this government. If the EU can not push the government out of office, with all that international political and economic power, how do you expect the exhausted, severely traumatized citizens of Hungary to do the same? Let plurality of governing styles change the global, social, economic and political narratives. BUT:

In my humble opinion, China’s present leadership is not sustainable as it is in the long run. I come from a thankfully collapsed similar regime (meaning I grew up in Hungary) that attempted to make its citizens “happy” (politically speaking: making sure those people didn’t complain and accepted the state of things… for many people pretending was survival, and many others did not even know that there was anything else, that there were other choices). Among other things that system resulted in the collapse and in huge debt. What I however also see is that Hungary’s right wing nationalist government is now looking at China as a role model… and at Russia… Autocratic government… with 2/3 of the parliament and no inhibitions: happily draining EU money for their string pulling mini oligarchs (the local kleptocracy). Terribly worrisome. At the same time the so called old democracies are unable to handle this new EU member state called Hungary, and those “old” democracies (EU and US equally) are also struggling with huge problems of their own (like joblessness, and technology making more and more people jobless). Meanwhile African nations are more and more looking at China (a capitalist dictatorship where slavery-like conditions are still the norm) instead of the US (a federal presidential constitutional republic, a representative democracy)… Clearly the US has much more GDP per capita and much more per capita income, but China is growing fast economically, while suppressing individual interests in China and building infrastructure in Africa. And the average person in China and in Africa is more interested in having a road, as opposed to having a vote… and having both appears to be an unattainable dream to them.

Corruption Perceptions Index

Corruption Perceptions Index

What is bizarre is that China is regarded as the key economy in the world today, but when you look at the numbers, the US is a developed nation with a strong GDP and GNI per capita per year (despite their democracy), similar to Sweden. Their GNI per capita is around 50,000 USD (note: there is income inequality so remember, this is only an average number, many earn much less, and some earn much more). China on the other hand is only a developing country still below the 6,000 USD per capita income per year level (above which a country is able to sustain democracy indefinitely, according to Dambisa Moyo‘s TED Global 2013 talk… another PR talk supporting China’s activities in Africa… interestingly she did not take any questions after her talk…). And Hungary is above the 12,000 USD margin so it is regarded as a developed country, but come on… democracy in Hungary is fading already (so perhaps Hungary’s budget and statistics are also questionable)… and Greece had twice that per capita income (over 24,000 USD) and it was just removed from the list of developed countries (the birth place of democracy with an imaginary budget)… Nothing that appears to be true based on old school economics is really true.  This is where we agree with Eric: New thinking is required.

However, keeping an open mind about how nations govern themselves does not mean that I would accept Orbán’s attempt to return to the rotten communist populism that Orbán himself (supposedly) hated and publicly protested against as a young democrat and that era was represented by Kádár, the authoritarian “happy-maker” of Hungary before 1989. When the so called “system change” happened, I was a teenager and the first thing I did, I went to Austria to learn German. The twenty something years that passed since were really traumatic on many levels and I don’t want to go backwards in time. At the same time the present situation in Hungary is not a sustainable one. Not politically, not economically and not in social terms. Low pay, high cost of living, enormous bureaucracy, political impotence and arrogance, manipulated state media (not as bad as in China… yet…), corruption, stagnating economy, plus mostly exhausted citizens. The open minded, constructive and independently thinking elite and the middle class is missing…

Meanwhile in Denmark: very low corruption, very high income, high levels of education and health care, low CO2 emission, long and increasing life expectancy. “The Kingdom of Denmark is a unitary constitutional monarchy, organized in a parliamentary democracy.” So, if Eric X. Li is telling us that the western world should look for some other ways instead of the way of democracy, I am asking EXL to consider this: China should urgently look for a way that permits plurality in a huge country with lots of regional diversity instead of the forced centralized dictatorship. Because perhaps there are hidden possibilities for Denmark-like regions in China, but right now you are forcing them too to look like Hungary… Just think about that… I suggest you adopt your own suggestions for your own country before you go out and tell the world how to progress. I suggest when you soon reach the 6,000 USD GNI per capita per year goal (above which China could indefinitely maintain democracy and democracies) you name your country “The United States of China” after turning all the autonomous regions and provinces into independent countries. (If that does not happen soon, some people definitely are artificially holding onto a questionable amount of power…)  Of course with all that growth and development in China, you will be able to be creative and invent the most marvelous technologically supported democracy where everything works like a dream. Right? Well, that is when I will look at China and say: the Chinese system might become the most superior one. How about that? When that happens and you become known as the investor from the USC, people of The West might be more likely to listen to your narrative. But as of today you come from China the land of modern day slavery and oppression (don’t you try to tell me that your polls are reflective of the truth, I know what dictatorships are doing to look good). Look forward, instead of looking backward.

Note: I just discovered thanks to WordPress’s “Recommended Links” that indeed I am not the first one to suggest a United States of China. Very interesting to immediately know that my idea is valid. And perhaps now is the time for the USC to be created. If China’s leaders are as effective as you say, we could celebrate a USC by 2020.

James O’Toole: Leading Change

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Finally, let me quote James O’Toole from a book that I read over ten years ago while studying among other things the subject of Leadership at Columbia University in New York. (O’Toole: Leading Change: Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom, p. 10-12): “Clearly, the leadership of change does not depend on circumstances: it depends on the attitudes, values, and actions of leaders.” … “To be effective, leaders must change their attitude about followers forever and under all conditions. Moral leadership, by definition, can not be situational or contingent. The reason is simple: if ever leaders revert to paternalistic behavior…, in doing so they will break trust with followers.” From 1994-1997 James O’Toole was Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute, where you Eric X. Li are the Henry Crown Fellow.

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Written by Regina Saphier, June 18, 2013 (mytedblog.wordpress.com)

This entry was updated on June 20, 2013

New GNI data for 2012 added on July 10, 2013.

Additional data reported in the Hungarian media on July 09, 2013: The World Bank GNIPC in 2012 for Hungary is 12,390 USD. Most of the regional economies are doing significantly better, while Hungary is obviously going down. Here are the numbers between 2008 and 2011: 12,890 USD, 12,980 USD, 12,860 USD,12,730 USD. Here is what I wrote about this in January of 2013 on My Coursera Blog: “I am not pretending to know enough about developing countries, but in a way I feel that even though Hungary is regarded as a developed country, we have many issues that are similar to developing nations. In fact I strongly believe that statistics are powerfully distorted, because living standards are very different within Hungary, and it still feels like a developing nation.” Before we joined the EU Hungary was forced into pretending that it fits the EU. Well, even before I graduated from Columbia, I warned that Hungary is not ready for the EU, and that even EU officials are willfully blind to this fact. However, nobody was listening to a graduate student, obviously…

Eric X. Li’s TED Global 2013 talk was published on July 1, 2013

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Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 4

I love this image! Michale Sandel, Harvard Philosopher is so much of a star in South Korea (his online Harvard lectures were translated into Korean), that he was invited there to kick off a major sporting event. This is our future! Brilliant intellectuals as stars and role models with integrity. I am fine with that.

The star philosopher, Michael Sandel in South Korea, as an opening attraction at a sporting event!

Friday, June 14, 2013

My blog dilemma is related to the fact that people are reading both my TED and my Coursera blogs from all over the world, that I can see from the stats, and some people even write to me, especially my Coursera readers, but I need more feedback to make sure my blogs are useful as they are. I mean I like to read the entire 4 days together after each TED event, it is nice to see it as a summarized and personalized stream of ideas… 🙂 However, due to its seasonality (2×4 days a year), following the two major TED events (for 4 years already), my new Coursera blog‘s readership is larger (after less than 1 year). Coursera that was one year old recently is regularly a hot topic in the media internationally, while TED is not so much… Of course at this point I am thinking: TED becoming 30 next year might cause the media to pay more attention to TED again. I like to write both blogs, but their exposure is different. It is why I am thinking about their future. And it just hit me, during the last 4 years I spent over a month of my life writing about the major TED conferences voluntarily (2x4x4=32 days all together). Until now, I spent half that time on my Coursera blogs, when I only regard the writing days (of course I also need to do research). So, my Coursera blog requires less writing time and gains more exposure on its own. (If I add my TED talk translations in the past, that is in fact a lot of valuable time, so I need to think hard how I allocate my time in the future. There is so much to write about, but I am only one person.)

Bruno opened in several languages (if I remember well, in French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish and finally in English). I am sure he did that because Rives jokingly remarked yesterday that Bruno does not speak English. Not sure if Rives, who is a master of the English language could talk to us in half a dozen languages like Bruno does, so that intermezzo is now settled. I think it was rude of Rives, but I am sure Bruno’s joke that a speaker “stole” his book idea was no less questionable when it comes to being polite on stage while being watched by a global audience…

8:45 – 10:15am Session 11: Tech Impact

She spoke about social media’s protest capacity against the establishment and established beliefs.

Low cost computer for kids to learn coding.

Mr. EDx talking about MOOCs, like Coursera (Massive Open Online Courses). He is never mentioning Coursera, because that is their major competitor, leading the competition. The talk is more about “MOC”, “Massive Online Courses” (not Open) by schools giving degrees (like @ San Jose State University). A really successful and promising project. Licensing is an opportunity for EDx and Coursera equally. I think Coursera is more successful at this point, because their course diversity is huge, including the humanities. You can read more about Coursera and MOOCs on my other blog.

Storm Sandy revealed to her that the digital world is now a key part of our lives, as important as food and shelter. The “digital now” was immediately broken. Interesting to me, that she mentioned “Buda and Pest being divided by the Danube” (that she can find that out easily online now). 🙂 We live in a series of digital, virtual soap bubbles, and our time is artificially fragmented. Love is attention. Restore the flow of time and love. Take time back.

We need to be aware how technology is invading our privacy and learn to protect our data better. This is the time of big data, and we need to fight for privacy.

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 12: All Together Now

NGOs have the problem of scale. Business can create resources and achieve scale. Creating need at a profit. So, how do you use these profitable resources to solve social problems? Profit makes any project infinitely scalable, he says. Connecting social problems to businesses, based on shared values. Change how business sees itself, and change how others see business. I need more explanation Michael.

Not only can you pay for getting ahead in line, you can pay people to stand in line for you… Are we sure that this is good? Not really. He told the audience about an experiment, where kids were given 2 dollars for each book read to motivate them. It is however obvious to me that this does take away intrinsic motivation. Kids read more books, it turns out, but mainly shorter ones… and he did not say what happen after those kids did not get any more money… Without intrinsic motivation and without the financial incentive, why would those kids keep on reading? Anyway, buying your way ahead of the line is wrong… business should not be involved in everything. How do we want to live together? We need to define boundaries for business and people. Do you want to live in a society where you can get anything for money, or in one where things are important that money can not buy. Nice debate between the two speakers (Michael and Michael) after the two talks. I agree with Michael Sandel, markets should not overwhelm every realm of our lives.

When he was diagnosed with brain cancer he asked for an image of his cancer and could not get one initially! It is his own cancer! Finally, when he got it in a digital form, he could not open it, so needed to play with the data to make it visible. His own cancer! He started a website and open sourced his medical data to find a cure globally. I love this talk. He is fine now! 🙂

Investigating (the often global) networks behind corruption. Oh, I wish she started investigating in Hungary at the highest levels! This is very dangerous for her and for the activists, but this is also very important.

He is talking about gratefulness. I know what he is trying to explain. I wish my grateful moments, that I call “the moments of my inner smile” would be continuous. Last night on my balcony between 1:30 and 2:00 am I was watching the stars and the satellites and I was grateful. I spotted 4 satellites within 30 minutes. I felt the night was beautiful and I was grateful for being alive and witnessing this particular night. I might have to move to a convent to sustain these states of my mind, because others are not living gratefully and are not stopping to live mindfully, as David is suggesting. But I hope more and more people will be. 🙂 I also hope I will be able to sustain those periods longer and longer to become a better person, also when I am with others. I am doing well on my own, in one on one situations. I need more time, as do so many of us. It is a process: making the world a better place by making yourself more grateful more often. 🙂

Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 3

Thursday, June 13, 2013

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 8: State of the Nations

The ideology of free individual choice is denying the massive social changes that have huge impact on our choices, freedoms and on individual lives in general. This leads to the feeling of failure on a massive scale by individuals (note: in turn a social influence in itself: you are surrounded by highly frustrated people). Paradoxically, in the age of abundant information, ignorance and denial is on the rise (I totally agree, I can see that in my own environment, and that again is a social influence, being surrounded by ignorant people when you seek out knowledge all the time and try to share it). Most people have passion for ignorance, not for knowledge, she says. People are living longer with ignorance…? It is what she stated, that research shows that people who seek out adequate health services live shorter… Why? Are you sure? Where is that research? Anyway, she decided not to take choices so seriously, because most of our choices are unconscious and irrational. She finished with: We have choices regarding the kinds of societies we want to live in… Not sure she managed to explain her point… So, do we have choices, or not? I think our individual choices are limited by our powerful, unacknowledged unconscious, by misleading social and personal narratives, and by ignorant and frustrated societies made of confused individuals (eg: researchers and TED speakers unable to make a coherent point on stage…).

  • Eric X. Li Investor and political scientist, Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute

I developed my notes of Eric X. Li’s talk into a full independent blog entry: The United States of China

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Excellent speaker. She spoke about sexuality wrapped into religion and influencing politics in the Arab world. The sexual revolution is still ahead in the Arab world. She is advocating freedom of choice, open debate, the refusal of double standards for men and women, for a healthier social climate, and in fact for physically and emotionally healthier societies.

Economy, society and environment must be considered as a coherent system.

He says, majors usually know what they are doing, because they are from the neighborhood. Ours is not the world of states and borders, our world is cities plus border-less issues, like illness, war, education, transportation and international travel. Nation states are unable to solve global problems democratically. Democracy (from the Greek word “demos”…) was born in the ancient Greek “Poleis”. (But tell me, does democracy work? And stop telling me that there is nothing better yet, rather start creating what is better.) “Thank you so much my fellow citizens”, – were his last words on stage. Well, the right last word indeed… “citizens”… Democratic people of cities need to make their own policies… instead of being lost in rotten party political narratives of nation states. He made his point, most definitely.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 9: Forces of Change

She is from Zambia. A highly educated and elegant woman with a “China will solve Africa’s problems” narrative. (No, it won’t.) Your democracy will only go on forever if the per capita income is above 6,000 USD, she told us. A new kind of economic system is needed for many countries. No middle class, no democracy. Keep an open mind, different countries need different solutions.

Historically all of the global regions are growing, including Africa. Every poor country is struggling with corruption. Well to do countries have little corruption. Charles told us, that there is huge growth and democratization going on in Africa and he also showed us his optimistic predictions.

Africa is the cradle of innovation that grew out of necessity and scarcity. At this point my internet stopped working… I had to wait, and I was thinking, this is such an interesting talk… I am going to have to review it from the Archive in a few hours. At the end of the talk my internet came back. Did you know, Toby asked us, that even humanity was created in Africa? I am wondering, will I see an era when it won’t matter where you are from? Will we ever talk about our origins like this?: “I am from Earth.” I am sure we will…

After the music, between the two talks a really funny video was shown! Africans collecting radiators for freezing people in Norway. 😉 Excellent, well executed mirror, with humor and music to show how some of these campaigns must feel to people in African countries… Because lets face it, Aid Campaigns are framed as if people in Africa were helpless children… in other words, these are patronizing projects. Stop this patronizing narrative and start dealing with the capable adult humans of Africa. (Because yes, it is cold up north, but Norway has a lot of oil… obviously no need for radiators from Africa. Right? The same way, yes, African countries are often poor, but there are many human and natural resources there, those need to be used in a smart ways for them to prosper, instead of sending aid.)

Well, when he told the story of the really old lady voting and having no clue who she voted for… he did say this as a positive story of the spirit there… but come on, she has no idea? What is the point of having the power to vote if you have no knowledge of what you are voting for? Should the right of voting not come with the obligation to know what the hell you are doing????

He was an orphan on his own as a teenager. He had to escape North Korea because he was starving. First he went to China and stayed in an underground shelter for NK refugees. Later, in the US his foster father shared his food with him, and this gesture motivated him to start studying really hard. At the end of his talk the host told him he could send a message to his sister and mother (in case they are somehow watching his TED talk) and he did speak to them but he was shaken so badly at this point, he could hardly speak. I felt like my heart was breaking apart, it was so painful to watch. I was crying and crying, I could feel how hard this was on him. I wish a better life for people in North Korea. This suffering must be stopped!

This just can not be solved from the inside. North Korea is held hostage by its own leaders, who rule with terror. The only inside job: the collapse of the ruling class. Until that happens, people will suffer. And international sanctions will only cause more suffering to those who already suffer (hunger, brainwashing, fear of the other, trauma, lack of valid information, isolation, enormous vulnerability). Other nations must be involved. Understand: those people are held hostage by their own people in a highly homogeneous society, artificially divided into the “trusted” and the “untrusted”. So, therefore diplomacy with a totalitarian regime looks like ongoing (apparently endless) hostage and crisis negotiation. This must be sustained. The exhausted hostages, millions of fellow human beings: need help.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 10: Imagined Beauty

This was fun. 🙂

I love clouds! 🙂 I am too a cloud spotter. I am going to send Gavin some of my cloud photos later (perhaps).

How to get from the known to the unknown in your research… talking about the process, creatively… using improvisational theater. Changing the frozen culture of science. Telling scientists to stop being cold and rational, and start feeling, use improvisation, intuition, music and at this point he starts singing. So funny, I am actually laughing as I am writing this. 🙂

Instead of painting on canvas in 2D, she started painting on people in 3D and took photos of the outcome. Very interesting actually. I could feel that she enjoys the process very much.

Well, you have to listen to this. This is like explaining music…

Forgács András (with his obviously Hungarian name and MIT background) growing meat and leather, making both processes more cultured (no need to kill any animals in the future). I think this is a good idea for the leather… not yet convinced of the meat… can you make sure that the meat has the biological properties of healthy meat?

Hmm, he is actually a good singer and musician, uninhibited on stage and also entertaining. Interesting voice. This is the first time at this TED conference that I like the music.

Where do you come from? This is a very complicated question to answer today. More important however: Where are you going? This is a talk about the home being inside of you. I think he was talking about something I wrote about a few days ago on my facebook page: “After a really hard and long day (stressful due to the lack of sensitivity, empathy and humanity in the community), I walked out onto my balcony into the cool and dark evening to relax and contemplate, and suddenly I see the International Space Station silently flying by like a bright star from right to left, right in front of my home, high up in the sky. And this brought a smile onto my face. The ISS for me is the technological symbol of human introspection. Looking back on humanity. Looking back into yourself. Exploring the landscapes. (Regina Saphier, June 06, 2013, Budapest, Hungary)”

This blog entry was last updated on June 19, 2013.

Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 2

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

8:45 – 10:15am Session 4: Money Talks

Living during the time of a new economic revolution, we need a new: New Deal! She spoke about the problem that the rich are getting richer and the middle class is going down really… The industrial revolution showed us what it means to change a system, and she listed the wars, systems changes and financial crisis that societies and people had to suffer through to get to an era when we are healthier, living longer, and even are taller because of better nutrition, etc. Meanwhile today is the era of the plutocrats who are in fact not creating enough jobs, but are really professional when it comes to tax optimization, and this is why a New Deal is imminent, because we are already in a second revolution (also related to technology) and one financial crisis is already ruining our lives. This topic also came up at the TED Long Beach event earlier this year and it is a very important one. Governments are already contemplating giving basic income to every citizen who is not able to obtain work, because 1. There are not enough jobs, 2. People become desperate in such situation in masses, 3. That means upheaval, fighting, attacks, wars… and that needs to be prevented… At the same time educated citizens need to work out a New Deal so that people are not only silenced, but also get to live a normal, sustainable life with dignity.

Modeling economic crisis and predicting them by looking at natural or systemic signs of crisis, like a birth, a land slide, or a rocket engine starting. Economic and market crisis can be predicted scientifically. Didier told us how. He also told us how his valid predictions were initially not taken seriously by so called market experts. “Gouverner, c’est prevoir”. Governing is about the ability of foresight. I wrote many years ago on another blog of mine that the Hungarian government was asleep while the economic crisis was approaching… I could not understand how that bunch of people could be called “government” when those idiots (we learned yesterday that political idiots are the ones acting alone without any coordination) had no foresight of something so visible that even I could see it coming and overwhelming Hungary. It was all over the international news that something was wrong with the markets internationally, it was clear it will reach us, yet the Hungarian “government” was surprised, and the opposition was no more skilled, made no predictions, suggested no protective measures. It was shocking to me.

She says a new, independent, transparent, self sustaining and nonprofit rating agency needs to be created and she is of course right. Rating agencies of today are intentionally distorting the international markets based on invisible background economic interests. This must change for more realistic valuation.

Where are the European Googles? She shows an image, on the left: Zuckerberg, the US, on the right: Kafka (bureaucracy), the EU. The public sector suffocates the EU, we know this slogan. However, most of the key technology in a smart phone was funded by DARPA and other government agencies in the US. Just think about that! So the EU needs to become a better government-like investor in order for the European Google to be created. Mariana is a pleasantly crazy smart speaker, I hope to see more of her at TED.

It is all about attention… a very skilled performer picking a spectator’s pocket on stage. Really entertaining. 🙂 However, I do not think the credit card was meant to fly off from the performer’s hand behind the subjects back… that was a mistake right there. But still a very funny performance that should make you think: What would you do if you could control people’s attention to that extent?

Introducing the social impact bond. Invest in social programs to prevent re-offending by criminals. Save money for governments this way, and finally investors get their money back when offenders don’t relapse and become working citizens (less prisons are needed). Win-win-win.13 social interest bond programs in the UK already. Flexibility is needed too for these to work. Public, private, social, civic, all need to be involved in a partnership to bring on social change this way.

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 5: Listening to Nature

Measuring biodiversity by measuring how it sounds. Knowing that birds are gone by playing the sounds that were recorded in a park year by year…

Mono-cultures and pesticides are killing bees. Bees are flying greater distances to find diverse flowers, are hungry and when they finally find pollen, it is full of toxic pesticide and this complex situation kills them. You can help! Plant local bee friendly flowers everywhere and do not use pesticides. Flowering weeds are also very important to bees.

Why malaria nets are not used inside malaria societies where malaria is viewed as a fact of life (and the nets are also uncomfortable). And in other more developed countries there is no malaria because of better and healthier infrastructure… So, we need a new malaria attitude against this otherwise amazingly resilient and interesting parasite. Nets are not the long term solution against malaria. So, why is Bill Gates shipping nets to those people? It is true that Europeans are also not wearing masks during the influenza season… even if it is a good idea, people just don’t like to do that…

Introducing the robotic cockroach… or the robo roach… for teaching purposes and for brain simulation.

Real time composition on the TED stage. (I assumed this is what improvisation was about.) I think it is an intuitive ambiance and introspection based composing style, real time, based on solid performance skills and practice. It is what I used to do whenever I set down at a piano when I was younger, with the tiny difference that I had no clue about piano playing. 😉 Yaron says he turns off his conscious mind and lets his unconscious play in flow.

Suzana is a smart primate on Earth eating cooked food. Like all of us humans. It is basically what she was saying. She counted that the human brain has 86 billion neurons and our primate specific brains need the energy in “predigested” or cooked food. Raw food eating primates have less neurons and smaller brains. So, what made us so smart is: cooking!

Chris announced that TED Global goes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in October 2014! We already knew that TED Long Beach becomes TED Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada in 2014. For me it only means that there will be two major TED events to blog about in the evening and by night… (not during the morning and the afternoon, like now, during TED Global… the really hard ones were/are TED events on the west coast of the US and Canada… that means 9 hours of time difference and writing until the morning each time…).

Hilarious examples of sexual (anatomical and behavioral) diversity in the animal kingdom. Very good talk.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 6: World on Its Head

Talked about the crisis of institutions and how disadvantaged groups need to learn the code of these institutions to be able to successfully fight back for their own wellbeing.

She introduced us to the Babushkas (senior ladies who refused to move) still living in the dead zone of Chernobyl in Ukraine.

Telling us about the development of Latin America.

We learn about the Middle Eastern conflicts.

Making political art. Being critical about politics.

Humanizing Muhammad.

  • May El-Khalil Founder of the Beirut Marathon

    May El-Khalil

    May El-Khalil (TED Global 2013)

Peacemaking is a marathon… May told her story of training as an athlete, being hit by a bus, having had 36 surgeries to be able to walk again and meanwhile organizing the Beirut Marathon to unite people of her nation and to create leaders for the future.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 7: Regeneration

Growing bone tissue in vivo (within the human body) and also using her special technique to regenerate heart tissue.

Regenerating the damaged brain. The brain has its own regenerative capacity even in MS (we see images about this). There are stem cells that are responsible for those slow and minor regenerative processes. This slow process needs to be promoted to make it more efficient. Healing and drug discovery… using brain stem cells of the patient.

  • Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher

    Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher

    Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher (TED 2013)

On his way to heal spinal cord injury in people. He can do it in rats already. And he is sexy with this cute French accent in English. Especially like his upper lips. 😉 I love that he showed his team too and told us it was a community effort and he is “only” the maestro. (Still I am sorry for the rats…)

Introducing the Nanopatch for safer and pain free vaccination. Because it injects into the right skin surface (we see a brilliant microscopic image of the skin with the Nanopatch in it), the immune response is much better at much lower doses. Also, the vaccines used in the Nanopatch are dry, so no need for refrigeration.

Taking pictures of sound waves, magnetic fluids and burning whiskey in a bottle. Not exactly sure how this last talk fits in with this mega powerful session of game changing scientists. Nice images, but not scientific enough… so I take it as art. But for art it was not as powerful… Still an amazing session it was!

Bruno tells us: TEDx-ers are watching online from 53 countries. A truly global event.

Three brothers playing the same instrument at the same time… looks a bit bizarre on the TED stage… I mean, it really looks like a “foursome”… if you know what I mean… 😉

 

Related articles

Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 1

Natasha Bedingfield

 

I am as usual in Hungary, more specifically in Budapest, and watching TED Global 2013 plus live blogging about it. Meanwhile in my district in Buda we have major flooding along the Danube, we also had several powerful storms like the one yesterday, we had two earthquakes during the last two months between 4.2 and 4.8, and Hungary is struggling economically (also in social terms and professionals are leaving by the thousands to find jobs abroad). My life too was full of hardship for the last few years. TED conferences gave me perspective, hope and intellectual resources. It was at a TED conference last year that I discovered Coursera and started another blog about it. Next year I am probably going to phase out my TED live conference blog after we celebrate 30 years of TED in 2014, and I am going to focus more on Coursera. I am still thinking about the future of my blogging… Let me know if you would like me to continue both blogs. By now I have solid experience in global blogging in English (as opposed to more limited local blogging in Hungarian) and I am thinking about new blog topics…

Coursera was anyway what I was really looking for in the first place when I stumbled upon TED many years ago… I had something to watch until Coursera finally manifested itself… Thank you Richard! Thank you Chris! Thank you TED speakers!

Lets see what is happening at TED Global this year. These are Edinburgh, Scotland times below, please look up your own local time relative to the program.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 1: Moments of Truth

Generally I detest when politicians speak at TED. Still, this appeared to be a humble talk about democracy in crisis internationally. There was even some review of democracy’s history. Papandreou envisions the EU as a citizens’ “Agora”. Give immigrants a European citizenship, he says. Lets not be “Idiots” standing on our own, lets examine our issues together.

Talked about the sustainability strategy of IKEA and other major corporations.

He asked during his passionate talk: Why shouldn’t we all have a Serengeti on our doorsteps? Well, I am thinking: I am ok with the lions in Africa… And yes, whales are important for the existence of planktons… not only the other way round… but as the speaker himself pointed out: who are we to decide what kinds of animals get to live in our neighborhoods… Why would I want to let him decide?

From a land where driving a car by a woman is punished by direct harassment to her family… It happened to her, she was sent to jail, therefore she became an activist for the right to drive. Saudi Arabia was the last place where women could not drive and were punished for even attempting to drive once. It turns our, there was no law, this was some unwritten custom. There was her land and there was the rest of the world. She succeeded because others joined her protest and women are now driving in Saudi Arabia.

Saying no to the old school feminist narrative of putting your job first. Bread-winning and care-giving are equally important and governments should invest in both like Sweden and Norway does. Make care-giving cool for men. She is basically talking about humanizing society, accepting differences, and let people be who they want to be, the way they want to live. Finally she pointed out that she grew up in a time when her parents were smoking, and when racial segregation was the norm. She pointed out that change is happening, but how fast, that depends on us.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 2: Those Flying Things

Amazing demo of drones in flight indoors. Balancing a glass of water in the air by a drone? No problem.

Explaining the flexibility of conservation drones. Low cost tools to survey huge areas.

Using drones in logistics. Getting supplies, like medication to areas that are unreachable on roads. The cost is low, the speed is high. The beginning of a new paradigm in transportation? (Get your sushi by a drone in no time and make all delivery people jobless…hmm…? I always have this dilemma…) Engage in social fiction to make it happen: lift people out of poverty… (but do it so that you do not push others into poverty).

Weaponized drones are still controlled by humans but human control for them to work as tools of killing: no longer a technical requirement. Autonomous operation is part of them. The capability is there already. Drones today are able to make the decision to kill a human on their own! Is this the future we want? Robots killing people? Pushing responsibility away from humans…? Anonymous war? Will you know your enemy? How can you protect yourself from such faceless attackers hiding behind robotic weapons…? Advanced nations are data driven and opinion leaders are easily identified by their data and social network usage. Easy targets. This could suffocate free speech. We need a treaty on robotic weapons. No robot privacy in public places!

3D panorama imaging demonstrated by one of my favorite TED speakers, Blaise (such a nice man). As you walk your camera takes photos and stitches them into a flow of images.

Looking at  the forest and landscapes with bio sensors from the air. Greg shows us how he is able to deeply analyze the forest with his spectrometer, showing the biodiversity, living and dead trees, their growth rate, the impact of animals and human activity (like illegal gold-mining). Brilliant technology.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 3: Exquisite Enigmatic Us

Sleep is vital! The quality of your sleep impacts your mental health.

Our minds are able to mislead us when it comes to memories. Memories can even be artificially planted into human minds.

Mixing culture, language and media heroes.

Speaking to us about the brain’s thermostat when it comes to weight gain or weight loss. It feels like Sandra experienced a lot of trauma and her anxiety level is very high to tolerate the stress of the TED stage. Remember, have compassion, do not judge, rather ask: What happened to her? And in her TED talk she talks about that… I feel how she is struggling. It took her a lot of courage to go on stage and speak about eating, culture, mind, body and anxiety.

Excellent speaker, just like Jane, her twin sister, who is now a regular TED speaker. Still, I am not entirely convinced Kelly… I think all this sounded way too idealistic: you now believe (after believing the opposite for 10 years) that stress is making us stronger… you are less likely to pass away from stress related causes and are more likely to become successful at the task that is stressful, if you think stress helps you do what you do. Why am I not convinced?

Kelly McGonigal

She told us, if you believe stress is bad for you, your blood vessels contract during stressful events, while if you believe that stress is good for you, your blood vessels relax. This could be, yes, but what if you were traumatized in the past, and no matter what you think, your blood vessels just keep contracting due to neurological or genetic damage? Also, she stated that while financial stress raises your risk factor by some 30%, taking care of someone removes that risk… due to the wonderful impact of a famous stress hormone: oxytocin. This contradicts Christakis’s findings regarding care taking, networks and stress (often killing the caretaker and stressing out friends and family in your network), and also contradicts the Columbia U. research regarding higher status and stress… the higher your status the better you handle stress… So, this new finding of yours needs more examination, perhaps another 10 years.

Still, I am sure what you think of stress and what your attitude is like, that does impact your body via your mind, definitely.

Related articles

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 4

English: Portrait of Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, March 1, 2013

8:30 – 10:15

Session 11: Who Are We?

Are we getting smarter or are we just better trained to take those IQ tests? Moving from the concrete thinking to taking the hypothetical seriously. Our abstraction is now powerful. However people today also live in the bubble of the present. Still, educated masses posses advanced abilities today that the ruling class in the past could not imagine. This new level of mental ability gives him hope.

Thinking about death, natural duality of children’s thinking, the function of beliefs… At this point I would like to mention that this is the first time that I am TED live blogging without my maternal grandmother being alive. This was the first time I lost a closed loved one, me being over 40, and her passing at the age of 89. I am sure, in a more advanced and less stressful society my grandmother would have lived up to 99 or a 100. I miss her.

Psychopaths have underdeveloped amygdalas. Daniel suggests that the plasticity of the brain holds the opportunity for change in their behavior. He believes that human nature can change with practice in many cases. We need: Restorative Justice Programs. I agree.

Jared spoke about the value of elderly in traditional societies and how elderly are valuable in our modern society. One reason why Americans undervalue old people is due to literacy. Old people are no longer the only holders of unwritten experience, knowledge and stories. Also, in the US, young people leave their homes for college and the physical distance between child and parent is huge. In addition American society is emphasizing independence … therefore old people appear a burden when they are no longer able to care for themselves. However, old people still have value, knowledge, important life experiences, and can provide support to their families.

He told us his story of an accident changing his life and him years later facing the terribly limited and simple minded man who caused that traffic accident. He realized that the person who ruined his young life created a narrative within himself that protected him from having to face himself (him as a killer, him as a person who caused Joshua’s bodily pain, and so on). Joshua had to face a life so unexamined in that man that there was no point in expecting an apology. I think Joshua is a powerful speaker, an intelligent, successful, and strong person.

11:00 – 12:45

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?

Telling the story of effective altruism. He shows rich and not so rich people giving, and examples of charities that help you give better.

Acts of kindness cards… Kindness is accessible to everyone. Give  kindness and change the world around you.

Charity CEO’s earn low wages for their education level, and nonprofit market share is stuck at 2% of the US GDP. An extra 1% of the GDP would result in 150 billion dollars for social causes. Society has to invest more into nonprofits to be able to raise more funds for solving huge problems.

Look up her other talks on TED. She summed up the TED 2013 content in a funny way.

Global music on the TED stage, his famous virtual choir now partly performing live via skype. TED Long Beach is closing now, and next year TED 2014 will be happening in Vancouver Canada.

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 3

Thursday, February 28, 2013

11:00 – 12:45

Session 8: Coded Meaning

Well, right in the middle of this Session the stream again started to break down… very very very annoying. It spoils your experience, it kicks you out of your flow.

TED2013_0057974_DSC_7265

TED2013 Saki Mafundikwa   (Photo credit: TED Conference)

We are introduced to written African languages and symbols. The first alphabet was created in Africa.

Texting is not writing, not formal. No. It is more like speaking. Speaking liberally with our hands.

Sign language in the age of computing and mobile technologies. Text can be translated into sign language animation… directions can be also displayed by sign language on a smart phone. It is very important to people who are deaf. The problem is not the disability, the problem is that many technologies are not yet accessible to people with disabilities.

How to teach autistic kids abstraction? Ajit tells us how he developed a visual educational tool for tablets. As an outcome, he arrived at free speech that is independent of language. He created a language engine, containing the possibility of universal translation… and language learning that is more like native language learning, not foreign language learning (these two happen in different parts of the brain, after I think age 12…).

TED2013_0058640_D41_0793

TED2013 Ajit Narayanan (Photo credit: TED Conference)

 

Raghava… promoting his liberal art…

Names of dolphins… sounds of dolphins… communicating with dolphins… The web stream is terrible… My computer has issues communicating with the TED technology… I am sure I would be more fluent with dolphins…

  • Adam Spencer
  • Science communicator

    Adam Spencer | Mathematics Enthusiast | TED@Sydney

    Adam Spencer | Mathematics Enthusiast | TED@Sydney (Photo credit: TED Conference)

This was a fantastic talk, by a geek wrapping prime numbers and his love for the Higgs boson into humor. Me too, I love the Higgs boson and science and technology (and art and writing), so I think I am a geek too who feels lucky to live during this era. I am not into math because I had terrible math teachers, but those teachers did not manage to destroy my interest in science, so I kind of understood what Adam was saying. However, I am not sure if I could talk about his topic the same way… he really has a skill that makes him perfect for communicating the story of mathematics and science.

And for some reason the stream was fine now… it fluctuates all the time.

2:15 – 4:00

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation

We hear all about human digestion, toilets, digestive illnesses, sanitation.

Nano coating, waterproofing.

Winner of the IG Nobel. This was the most creepy yet fascinating talk… about homosexual necrophilia among ducks and other animals. Who knew…

It is a Victorian, outdated idea that sex and economic power should go together (not sure why he says that… it originated from earlier cultures). He says we need to become more tolerant because everyone has a closet to come out of… due to the social stigma that is forced on people unnecessarily… think of cultures where people are not stigmatized for who they are. And men should stop trying to define women’s freedoms. In addition, men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. Both are from Africa.

She had a hip replacement and after that decided to learn hip hop.

Demonstrated how cyber attacks impact people and asked everyone to use the basic security measures while using smart phones, tablets, other kinds of computers. He is a really good speaker.

He is definitely under cover, because he can not show his face while on stage… He has a very dangerous job in Africa… but he is very determined and also successful at what he is doing.

5:00 – 6:45

Session 10: Secret Voices

Surprise guest: Ben Géza Affleck talking about his work in the Congo… he introduces the Orchestra Symphony Kimbanguis from Congo. (The second one played was: Brahms: V. Magyar Tánc, V. Hungarian Dance… Did you know that Ben got his Hungarian middle name “Géza” because his parents really loved their Hungarian neighbor?)

Artistic camouflage. Blending in with the ruins of China’s planned market in transition to becoming a free market, or with party propaganda posters, with toxic supermarket food, with news rooms, with Venice, with lamps, with newsstands, with ruins of actual buildings. Very interesting images.

Dolphins playing with symbols in water, a Bonobo playing with a keyboard and making music. These four speakers pointing into a future where other species will be connected by the internet too. The most magical moment was when the Bonobo played musical notes on the keyboard… the fingers carefully touching and making sounds.

Talking about the power social media gives people when protest are really needed.

Mental health professional telling the story of the voices in her head and how she survived the mistreatment that followed when she mentioned the voice to others… She is a survivor of the narrow mindedness around her, and she is a powerful advocate for like-minded people. In fact when she was talking, several times I felt like: now this is the last sentence… now perhaps this one… because of the power and intonation… each line could have been a closing line… and I was thinking, perhaps a voice in her head is telling her what else she should say… and when she was really done, June asked her if she still hears voices… and she answered: yes, I do, like: this is what you forgot to say… That was interesting, that somehow I could tell that from the way she presented the last 6-10 sentences. Anyway, I am glad that she managed to come to the conclusion, that what matters is not the symptoms, but what happened to her, and that she needed compassion, acceptance and support to recover from the traumas before and after her first diagnosis of schizophrenia.

She escaped North Korea and she told her powerful story… I grew up in a communist country, we could not easily leave Hungary for decades. What she escaped is much more dramatic compared to my experiences of the seventies and eighties in Hungary. When we had the revolution in 1956, I am asking you, where were the powerful democracies? Why did those nations passively watch people in my country suffer? Why was the assumption of ignorant people in wealthy countries that we wanted or deserved the shit we had to put up with? So, again and again I am asking: How much longer are you going to passively watch the suffering of people in North Korea? Those people were brainwashed, emotionally tortured, physically hurt. Do you think it is what people want there? No! I know that the North Korean people want your help even without knowing. I know that the North Korean dictatorship will eventually fall apart, but the process could be expedited by creative diplomacy… Just go and stop that madness, because people there are hurting.

A powerful and poetic talk about a bullied child growing up to be a powerful poet.

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 2

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

8:30 – 10:15

Session 4: Disrupt!

Open source architecture… print your own wiki house. Democratization of production… a wikipedia for solutions…

Boosted Boards are really nice… for young  people.

He shows us a book listing all people who had an e-mail address at the beginning of the eighties. The internet was built for a different scale and it is too vulnerable for present day challenges. Nobody really knows what the internet is at the moment (size, connections, data), it is so complex. We should have a plan B, a secondary system for cases when the internet is down in some areas and when there is an attack carried out via the internet… people should be able to communicate if the internet is not able to function in a hospital, at an airport, or at the fire station.

Nice dramatic performance. He definitely has self-esteem now. 🙂

Using a dominating, useless and ugly tower to display public art and strengthen a community…

Surprise: Sergey Brin talks about the Google Glass. Sergey, the introverted genius awkwardly fighting his shyness again and again on stage.

She connected with people and managed to kickstart her music. Trust… She is a fantastic person. Instead of asking how to make people to pay for music, ask: how could we ask people to pay for music nicely. Her kickstarter project was phenomenally successful. 🙂

Small dollar funding of elections would eliminate the corruption of present day elections and lead to a better form of democracy and a better government. Even we liberals love this country… – he says.

11:00 – 12:45

Session 5: Dream!

This session starts with some creative dancing…

Elon Musk

Elon Musk (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Chris interviewing Elon about his electric car, solar energy, and reusable rockets… fascinating discussion. TEB (Technology Education Business) and confidence… Elon is another interesting person, really calm, intelligent, good to listen to. We see a rocket that takes off, hovers for a while and lands safely again… Wow!

He set out to solve the energy problem. Not fusion this time… ok, just a bit… just to understand that fusion reactors are terribly inefficient. So he is proposing small local underground reactors that would use up radioactive waste material that we need to store anyway. Running for decades with no need to refuel, it is also low pressure, the fuel is molten salt and so it won’t melt down obviously and it won’t explode. In the case of an accident it won’t contaminate large land areas. So, this is the offer of this 18 year old brilliant scientist, entrepreneur in the making: use decommissioned nuclear material to solve the energy crisis.

She had a brain surgery many years ago. A key part of her brain was removed and she had to experiment with some powerful chemicals, hormones, in really small doses, and she felt how just a small amount of change impacted how she felt, who she was, her temper, her self, her intellect. This talk reminds me of a radio show on This American Life about testosterone. She is actually showing us technology that can tell what you see in your head. I have heard about this before, but now I must really face it, because it is coming… And at the same time, the new player is so terrible, that I post on the TED conference tech chat: I never had such a terrible viewing experience during a TED conference. Never. The quality is constantly disturbing.

Planning to bring back extinct species using genetic material. Pluripotent stem cells can be turned into reproductive cells and so you can have chickens birthing falcons… Not the least disturbing, right?

She is from South Korea, where elite suicide is very common (I read articles about this issue). Why am I saying this? Because she spoke about her depression. It is a sickly competitive nation (sorry about stupidly generalizing). I love their history and culture, they are lovely and driven people. I am so sorry that their attitudes cause so much stress and depression. My post is not meant to offend anyone, I am sorry if it does. I can tell you, Hungary has also a lot of stress, and nowhere near as much competition and success as in S. Korea. Hungary is just simply a country overwhelmed by pessimism and depression. Sad place in many ways. Unfortunately Hungary has a pessimistic culture. Lots of depression, suicide, alcoholism, and other substance abuse, plus aggression and corruption. I think it has to do with the history. This country fell apart so many times… wars, communism, an ill fated superficial systems change for the last 20 years towards broken capitalism… and we still have some really toxic people of the past in power (left and right)… Those people hold a lot of power… still… their shortsighted mentality is killing the economy, the labor market, and people who lost hope. Back to South Korea: Congratulations upon electing your first female president! I posted about that on my facebook wall a few days ago. This would be impossible in Hungary, still a male dominated society.

2:15 – 4:00

Session 6: Create!

Stream issues…

So, the theory is that technology will permit people to work less… and do more… aha… keep telling the jobless all over the world that… in the short run lots of people will suffer because of joblessness IMHO… perhaps in the longer run it will get better… but not tomorrow…

Bowtopia… the fibers in the bow know their purpose… each person should be like those fibers. Dong Woo is from South Korea and he reinforced my feeling that schools there are overly and painfully competitive putting too much pressure on people.

He researched why sex is so good and he realized that the best things in life arouse all five senses in a major way.

I love UMAMI! And food. And that is her topic, so this can only be a good talk… but not really…

Wow, she was really talented as little girl! She is applying her sense of fashion and art to architecture and interior design… Not my kind of architectural thinking, but some things in her portfolio were interesting.

Telling the story how she developed the story telling tool “Snow Fall”… I hope I got that right…

We have our first visibly trans-gendered TED speaker I think. And yes, she transitioned to Kate in 2007, but did not mention that during her talk (I just looked her up online while she spoke). However, at the start of her talk I was looking at another tab in my browser and in my mind I was listening to a man… and when I went to the TED stream tab, there was a woman… wait a man… no, that is a transitioned woman, ok… this was my mindset (I expected a heterosexual female speaker based on the program and based on my ignorance), so I could hardly focus on her talk and went to google to explore my dilemma about the speaker. Well, I am sorry about this, I need to get used to openly trans people. It is a learning process that won’t happen overnight. Good for Kate that she can live the way she wishes and she contributed to my learning process. I hope you can also keep an open mind and accept her for who she is. All we people need is love, support and acceptance for who we are. And we are in fact all work in progress as long as we live… and some are work in progress even after that when other people remember them…

Here is a true hero of science and a superhero for cancer patients. He is 15. His super power is original thinking! He worked out a super cost-effective, sensitive and quick test for pancreatic cancer. He says: “Undeterred by my teenage optimism…” – quoting boring adults… the audience laughing… Add another superpower: humor! Anyway, he is now working on a 5 dollar home kit for a multitude of blood tests. Standing ovation! Of course! Me too right here in the middle of the night joining the celebrating global audience from Budapest, Hungary. Love his brain!

5:00 – 6:45

Session 7: Sustain!

Biodegradable trash becomes Methane on the landfill (no oxygen) versus Carbon-dioxide in a natural garden composter (oxygen)… Half of the food globally is wasted because of huge refrigerators. Also, lettuce is more wasteful than the badly insulated fridges all together. She goes on and on about surprising hidden facts and design opportunities to save energy. Excellent speaker.

“Food is the problem”, so he started to plant food in South LA to change the health situation. Funny thing about sustainability: you have to sustain it. Become gangster gardeners. “Come to my garden so that we can plant some shit.” “Kids who plant tomatoes, eat tomatoes.” Fresh, self made food is his solution.

The first metal instrument is called “doromb” in Hungary. It is interesting to note that the cat makes this noise here: “dorombol” (“purring”). The second was a Calabash instrument…

Discovered a local bio-degrading bacteria.

He is an energy geek. Only peer pressure helps save energy. When electricity is produced, 90% of the coal is wasted by the time you turn on the light in your home. So, coal that could give you electricity all year, only provides approximately 1 month of energy… Very inefficient. His goal is to make people ask the question: How could we save energy?

Music.

FFTT… 30 story wood buildings (and TED 2014) coming to Vancouver. Wood is safe, strong, environmentally friendly, and people hug wood parts of buildings, and that means something… 🙂

Using livestock to stop desertification and change micro-climate to the better. We see beautifully reforested areas.

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 1

Let me start with the good news that Richard Saul Wurman is attending TED Long Beach this year. He wrote via facebook chat on February 13.: “surprise I’m going to TED”.  I am so glad that the differences between Chris and Richard are no longer dominating their professional relationship. I responded: “Go and enjoy. Its really your amazing kid all grown up and successful. Your gifted brainchild.” And indeed, we should keep in mind respectfully, that RSW is the father of TED.

Well, the stream during the first session was terrible. After we figured out via the stream chat that some have super quality, some have constant buffering, I wrote: “I know it is on auto, I am just imagining people in less developed countries… apparently TED tech people are now under the spell of the ‘progress enigma’ for every nation at the same time (not having diverse insight into global differences and not having an oversight of the spectrum of progress is a problem)…” Ironically, ‘progress enigma’ was the main topic of the first session. I also wrote on the chat: “I would be really angry now if I had to pay for this… the archive option also helps a lot to keep calm… but this buffering situation is destroying my live blogging process and timetable for the 4 days.” At this point I went to the tech chat and posted my issues with all other people with terrible streaming issues… there I was informed that this time, because of the new player the auto setting can not be changed to manual… so the tech people will lower the general speed for the next session… And now you can imagine why I could only take fragmented notes… Most of the time the stream was buffering… and no, it was not my computer. I give you what I can… hope to have more in the next session. (In the second session the stream was better but the picture was smaller. Most of the issues were fixed for day 4, but I am unable to say that it was perfect. In fact the stream quality was all too frustrating for days…)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

11:00 – 12:45

Session 1: Progress Enigma

Her big idea is supposed to be an energy policy for the US. Right… what took you so long as a developed nation? And still just an idea?

There is growth… in the past… Robert is worried about joblessness in a robotic environment. He also says: let in people (stop the madness of visas in the US) and legalize drugs (to stop the drug war). So, from conservative he suddenly turns progressive liberal… (My live stream coming and going…)

Growth is not dead. Productivity in the US and globally is at an all time high. Lots of free stuff. Robots are taking over. The problem is  not with technology, the problem is that we are not sharing the outcome… the wealth… the knowledge… the opportunity…

We see an advanced factory robot that is supposed to help factory workers, not replace them. Similarly, caregiver robots are coming… Robots have no gender…

Robots should be personal. (Again my live stream is fragmented.)

I am going to have a look at the archive because the stream stopped all the time during this talk…

  • Bono
  • Musician, activist

Saving the world… one rock star at a time…

2:15 – 4:00

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection

He decided to teach a course on ignorance. I know this is a favorite topic of Richard Saul Wurman. How can we distinguish the smell of a banana and a pear when the difference is only one carbon atom in a molecule that carries the odor … our brain is a brilliant chemical detector. Testing methods are bad at schools and you get what you test for. So if you are having a bulimic method of education feeding huge amounts of data to your students and testing it… that is not intellectual learning and not productive in scientific terms. Science changes with every funeral… (I add: as does society).

How to trick the giant squid … and make a photo of it. Really funny video follows showing the giant squid. We need a NASA like organization for marine research.

Camille Seaman gives a short audience talk about us being one with nature. She is a storm photographer and shows us marvelous images of clouds.

His photographs are epic. He shows how he reforested his family estate with 2.5 million trees.

Another speaker from my alma mater, Columbia University, speaking about cities that are living systems. Open source urbanism for the user living in the city… instead of engineered high tech cities that are alienating and sterile.

The Long Beach gift bag is introduced with a few words before the next TED attraction enters the TED stage… I feel: that is the ugliest bag I have ever seen. Brown. Boring.

He is playing with his own voice, with and without technology and making music.

He embraced his limitations (a nerve damage initially caused by his pointillist art and a creative block later when he had too many choices) and created: inside the box! He painted on his body layer by layer, he created art that he immediately destroyed, he created art influenced by others, he painted martial arts style… I have to say Phil was the most authentic, most down to earth, most relaxed person on the TED stage until this point. Good for him!

5:00 – 6:45

Session 3: The Spark

Let kids take ownership of their education. He knows how to do that as a successful educator. High expectation… if you are smart that is only a good start for hard work… Building community and groups… trust… how to explain concepts with clarity. It takes researchers to produce researchers. Let them learn in labs regularly… You need faculty to get involved with students. Connecting… Redesigning courses so that students are not bored in classes. Use technology… Freeman is a passionate educator. 🙂 Excellence is never an accident. Choice and not chance determines excellence.

She says: do focus on your twenties, the most defining years of your life. The most significant decisions are made by 35. Fertility peaks at 28. Get identity capital, do something … invest into the person you want to be. Explore work. Find like minded people. Reach out to your friends’ connections. Mindfully select your partner for life. (One way of living… but not for everyone.)

What a wonderful person she is!!!! 🙂 Lisa told us her inspirational story of redefining her dream by comparatively reading books.

How to invent a security system to save livestock by using materials at hand in your village in an African country… while still being a boy…

Sir Ken Robinson presenting this years TED Prize Winner. He says an awful amount of education is going on with a terribly low amount of learning and that has to change.

SMtalk_frame_smaller

The winner is: Sugata Mitra! I love his work!!!! He says the Victorian era education system is outdated (yes) and a new one is needed (yes). He now has one million dollars to realize his paradigm shifting plans for appropriate education. He says his rich friends kept saying that their kids are gifted because they can do wonderful things with their computers. So, he jokingly asked himself, how come all the rich kids are “gifted”… he decided to give computers to kids in slums and watched what happened (Hole in the wall experiment). And as we in education research know, the kids started to teach each other language and IT skills and even genetics. Encouragement is the key. Punishments and examinations shut down the brain! Educational self organization… let the learning happen. Self Organized Learning Environment: SOLE… His wish is to design the new future of learning together. The school in the cloud… (I am so glad that I see the change in education during my lifetime.)

I came back after two months, and the 26 children marched in looking very, very quiet. I said, “Well, did you look at any of the stuff?” They said, “Yes, we did.” “Did you understand anything?” “No, nothing.” So I said, “Well, how long did you practice on it before you decided you understood nothing?” They said, “We look at it every day.” So I said, “For two months, you were looking at stuff you didn’t understand?” So a 12 year-old girl raises her hand and says, literally, “Apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes genetic disease, we’ve understood nothing else.”” (Sugata Mitra at TED)

Here is an interesting and popular fact: “The Hole in the Wall experiment left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra’s experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel Q & A, which later became the movie Slumdog Millionaire.”(wikipedia)

Here is my relevant TED conversation comment from two years ago. (I really don’t understand where this previous line disappeared since I posted this blog after the first day… now I am posting it again without the comment hyper-link to TED and cut and paste my actual comment from two years ago…:)

“Feb 19 2011: Jane! Hi! I am not a gamer. I am an online idea generator. When I listened to your talk live last year, I knew that I should translate your talk into Hungarian and I am glad I did that (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/hun/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html). 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration! I had this idea: Why not create a game that makes people in the developed world responsible for the education of people in the less developed parts of the world. There is now so much content out there for online education for free… I was thinking: Ivy League development, education, etc… students should be inspired by online games … you know, somehow combining education, mentoring, research and gaming… Get your degree as an online gamer by teaching people skills, showing them the world, interacting with them online and seeing results as we play. Learn from each other. Get your university credits with meaningful online games. I even wrote e-mails about that to the TED management, because TED talks would be perfect for this new way ofonline global community graduation” with “gamer organized free educational content” from the web. I imagined getting an experimental PhD in such a way online (on top of my Columbia University MA) from my home in Budapest, Hungary while pulling someone else (living in a less fortunate environment) toward a BA or an MA degree. The game could have an academically meaningful impact beyond the epic win of teaching people skills, languages or science… I am sure many PhD students would be happier with this, instead of being the RA and TA slaves of tenured professors in the US… I could work with a post-doc who is in the US… so that person in the US, me in Hungary, and the person in the Third World: we would get to know each other’s needs and culture too and that with minimal carbon footprint. That could promote global power balance and understanding. This in my opinion would be a meaningful game project. 🙂 Best, Regina Saphier”

Regina’s other blog! NEW!: My Coursera Blog

While you are waiting for MY TED Long Beach 2013

Live Conference notes

I recommend my NEW! blog regarding

the global and online higher education start up

Coursera that provides free courses at the Ivy League level:

MY COURSERA BLOG

TEDsters Read My Blog From These 71 Countries

Connecting the World while Speaking TEDish…

According to WordPress,TEDsters read my blog from these 71 countries this year (until today) … in bold: the 16 countries of this particular list where I have been to:

United States, Hungary, United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, India, Azerbaijan, Israel, Singapore, Malta, Czech Republic, Japan, Qatar, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Indonesia, Turkey, France, Croatia, Pakistan, Belgium, Austria, Korea, Russian Federation, Iceland, Lithuania, Finland, Slovakia, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Bolivia, Ireland, Taiwan (Province of China), Malaysia, Algeria, Peru, Argentina, Switzerland, Luxembourg, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Guadeloupe, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Mexico, Nigeria, Viet Nam, Poland, Nepal, Morocco, Kenya, Republic of Moldova, Afghanistan, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand (and a bit later: Macedonia… 72 countries):

Hello everyone! 🙂 Thank you for reading my blog! (Update: On 31 December of 2012 it was 87 countries!)

Earth's Aurora and ISS

Earth’s Aurora and ISS (Photo credit: Lights In The Dark)

Regina Saphier TED Global 2012 Day 4

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

Imogen Heap – Ellipse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, June 29, 2012

9:45 – 11:15

Session 11:

Taking Another Look

Maurizio Seracini

Art Diagnostician

See what is below the surface… very interesting. Discovering the deep layers of paintings… We get to see an app that helps you find hidden details of paintings at exhibitions…

Becci Manson

Photo Retoucher

Giving back photo memories to people in Japan after the tsunami…

Mina Bissell

Cancer Researcher

How come Obama‘s trillions of cells know what to do? Why does his nose not turn into his foot…? Context and architecture… the micro environment is what matters… inject one cancer cell into an embrio: no cancer… inject the same cancer cell in a chicken: and you get cancer growth. Milk production is the same… the cells forget to produce milk when taken out of context… Restore tissue architecture… what is structurally wrong with the cells and their environment… This is a wonderful and hope giving talk… especially to me… because my mother and father are cancer survivors… my mother is still in the process of fighting… I wish medicine advanced faster… and at the same time I see wonderful new discoveries, like the one Mina and her students are working on.

A short audience talk:

Ryan Merkley… popcorn video

Imogen Heap

Diva

Interesting and fun performance: make your music with your body. Imogen is wearing a dress and gloves that help her to compose music while singing and moving around on stage.

John Wilbanks

Data Commons Advocate

Clinical studies and informed consent… We need to connect clinical studies’ data to be more innovative… build commons of our medical data… share your data voluntarily… like: lifestyle, food, genome, illnesses in the family … don’t be patient!

For breast cancer research: http://athenacarenetwork.org/

12:00 – 13:45

Session 12:

Public Sphere

Kirby Ferguson

Filmmaker and Remixer

Everything is a remix. – he says and shows us several examples, like Steve Jobs and his ideas… Steve used to present inventions as his own… as his company’s… but truth is, many of those technologies were around before he got to know about them… he loved to take from others and pretended it was his, but hated when other people took ideas from him…

Michael Anti

Blogger

How 300 000 million tweeting Chinese people, a number that covers the US population, change Chinese society… Due to the language, Chinese regard tweeting as a true media… it has more content there, because Chinese is a very complex language, giving you lots of context. For Chinese people censorship and working around it is: normal. I think Michael has a lot of courage…

Andrew Blum

Network Author

Andrew showed us how physical the internet really is. He even showed us a picture where a man walked out of the ocean with a fiber optical cable and we got to see how this extremely long cable was connected to the cable network on land… The internet is not weightless he says… it is not a virtual thing… it is very physical and it connects you and me physically, even if also by the power of electricity, light and the like.

Margaret Heffernan

Management Thinker

Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril

Childhood cancer rates growing… Why? 1956 research finding… Mothers in affluent families got x-rayed while pregnant in high numbers. Only 25 years later was the practice eliminated. Openness is not enough to make the change. Allison and George… (sorry, but did not get the full names…) The point is: Allison was sure she was right about her discovery because her research partner, George had this approach: he tested her hypothesis and findings by trying to show that she was wrong. And since he could not show that she was wrong, their professional argument made the results really powerful. But still it took the profession decades to get it, because they were not open for the truth.

Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril [Hardcover]
Margaret Heffernan (Author)

Most organizations are not thinking. They can not think… they are too afraid to face conflict. 85% of officials are unable to face and manage conflict, so they avoid meaningful confrontations. (Like Chris at TED…) Solution: see conflict as thinking, learn to argue and become very good at it. Margaret tells us a story how one person can find others in an organization who have the same concerns and so as a group they can break the silence, confront the leaders, and make the change together. The CEO usually has NO idea what is going on… It is true! Face this truth. Become a leader.

Stand up to authority. The truth will set us free when we develop the talent and moral capacity to stand up for that truth in front of other people, but with a working strategy. Openness is the beginning. First make sure, that you are right, get equipped with tools of arguing, learn to face social pressure and speak up. Organizations must also learn to embrace these people and these opinions. This approach makes organizations safer.

Well Chris Anderson did not award my truth telling! So, TED: open up! Hire Margaret to teach you a thing or two about facing conflict within or regarding TED and face difficult truth to grow. Stop ignoring, silencing, uninviting and disregarding people who help you build the image of TED as volunteers and who have the courage to tell you the truth when you screw up. It is easy to embrace the uncritically enthusiastic followers… but it is hard to listen to people like me. You know what I am talking about Chris…

However, I have to say, this TED Global was wonderful! 🙂 Thank you! I am sure you can take in that opinion. Thank you TED people, I can live with the fact that you are humans, lightness and darkness… we all are. 🙂 During the closing remarks Chris was trying to say how the TED Global audience was wonderful this year and Bruno kind of told him on stage that what he wanted to say was: the TED Global audience was better compared to the TED Long Beach audience… that was an awkward moment for sure… but one thing is definitely true: Bruno is a more reliable, more even tempered curator… This time I did not have the feeling that TED was in a content crisis.

Daria Musk

Web Music Sensation

Daria is telling and singing the story of her wonderful Google+ HangOut stardom. She is singing You Move Me! 🙂 while her hangout friends are on screen in the background. This is so special and so representative of what is going on in the world today in my global network. And this connectedness is growing every day.

How a lonely girl earned 1.6 million friends: Daria Musk at TEDGlobal 2012

Clay Shirky

Social Media Theorist

In this age, you can no longer get away with being stupid… You will be exposed if you are a narrow minded public servant or politician for example.

Brilliant game changer, Linus Torvalds is mentioned… LINUX… Get a GitHub account… collaboration without coordination… Expect not to be censored and use technology to speak up and influence society and politics… It is your world. Make it better as you can. And yes, you can!

Regina Saphier TED Global 2012 Day 3

English: Portrait of Jane McGonigal

Portrait of Jane McGonigal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

12:00 – 13:45

Session 8:

Talk to Strangers

There was a major technical issue in Edinburgh. We had no idea at the time if the power comes back or not until the next session. We sure hoped so.

Update: the power is back and session 9 starts at 3:15 Budapest time. Jane got to complete her fun and empowering talk in session 9.

After Session 10. update: Jane had to do a retake of her talk’s first part, because the power outage destroyed the first part of her original talk… High drama… we felt the stress… we were with her as she walked on stage at the end of the day and re-recorded her first few minutes… and the stream was cut suddenly again and we were in the dark… for a while we had no idea if she was ok and if it was only us being cut off, or if the power was gone again in the building of the TED conference… I kept asking and we were informed that she was ok, and she was able to record her talk just fine finally… My sympathy for this pro speaker! Jane is a warrior! Hope to see her talk online soon.

Rachel Botsman

Sharing Innovator

I know Rachel from the RSA lectures. She talks about the age of online trust between strangers. Collaborative consumption on a global scale, using technology. Your reputation in this age is key. Service networking… outsourcing your tasks: taskrabbit… assembling IKEA furniture and earning 5000 dollars a month… Facebook users trust each other, she says, so they have the potential for trust based online collaboration. How do you ensure safety, how do you handle real and online identity? Should your reputation travel with you from one site to another? Manage your reputation capital! It is very valuable. Because would it not be wonderful if the truly trustworthy would run the world?

She also mentioned:

http://stackoverflow.com/

https://trustcloud.com/

http://launch.connect.me/

https://airbnb.com/

Robin Chase

Transport Networker

Robin’s story: from Zipcar, to Buzzcar… from uniform cars that you can use in the US, to people’s cars that you can share in Paris. She calls this phenomenon: Peers Incorporated. It is a world of innovation, personalization, collaboration, and economies of scale. It is not self evident how such a system is built, but she now knows how it works. The peer production community needs quick feedback tools that are in place. Supercharging Individuals.

Amy Cuddy

Social Psychologist

High testosterone and low cortisol are the key to top leadership… Be powerful, but do not get nervous … Role change can change your hormone level. Fake it until you become it! Amy becomes truly vulnerable when she is telling us that her career was broken by a car accident and it took her 4 years longer to get her college degree, but more importantly it took a lot of faking until she made it back on track as a gifted academic. She needed her wonderful mentor to push her to stay in the game and when she had the chance as a mentor to do the same for a discouraged young woman in her class, she told her the same: you have a place here, and you should fake it until you become it.

So, the practical take home parts of this talk: before you enter a judgment situation, like a job interview, in the elevator or in the bathroom, stand up, spread your arms high in a V, smile, imagine you are strong, and tell yourself you will be successful. Smile! And this helps you to do better or even give your best, because your posture, your facial expression, your words go deep in your brain and change the outcome of your efforts. Take the power pose! This was a truly moving TED talk with very important content.

Jason McCue

Lawyer

People who were hurt by terrorist attacks, should be better supported to live a more normal life. I really do not understand why this talk had to be placed into this session. Terribly out of place among so many positive messages. It is important, yes, it has a place in the conference, just not in this session. Especially after Amy’s brilliant, vulnerable and uplifting talk. A very bad curatorial decision, after a really good one… actually a lot of very good ones.

Marco Tempest

Techno-illusionist

Jane McGonigal

Game Designer

As our old friend Jane tells her story of a head injury and promises us 7 extra minutes of life, the power goes out in Edinburgh, but we have no clue what happened, and the live TED conference chat goes wild trying to figure out why the stream is gone… and I am thinking, this reminds me of the power outage in Oxford a few years back.. and sure enough, it is a major power outage, but in the city of Edinburgh. We hope Jane gets to finish her talk, and we get our 7 extra minutes of a gamer’s life. 🙂

Here is Jane’s first TED talk with my Hungarian subtitle: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/hu/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

Jane finishes her talk at the beginning of Session 9. so I continue my blog note:

Priorities change when you make a comeback from a trauma or illness.

I do what makes me happy, I know who I am, get a new sense of me, better able to focus on what is important. Trauma helps you live a more authentic life, and have fewer regrets at the end of your life. Jane playfully teaches us to work on our physical, mental, emotional and social resilience and live 10 years longer. She in fact developed a game, called SuperBetter to help herself get better and here she is, giving us this inspiring TED talk. She is always creative, even when she is ill and her brain tells her to kill herself. I know how it feels to be so ill… feeling desperate.

Why is this talk so meaningful to me? Well… during the second part of my thirties I have been severely ill and the illness demolished my career as an NGO founder and director. I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and it took three years of my life. I have become completely isolated, because people did not understand what happened to me, including my doctors. The person working 18 hours a day and enjoying her work, turned into a recluse in pain, unable to do much. That person was me. So, I set out online to find the cause of my illness and read thousands of medical articles in English (on pubmed, etc.). I did finally manage to find the cause of my illness (a major part: severe lack of “vitamin” D due to too much work and lack of sun). I recovered, but for a long time I felt this deep fear that I might get sick again. The TED talks, the TED conferences, my own TED translations and my own TED blogs were my hope giving tasks. The TED phenomenon helped me to keep up my mental, emotional and social resilience. (“Vitamin” D gave me my physical resilience and strengths back. And so much more… read about this “vitamin”! It is not even a vitamin!) Therefore I am completely able to understand and feel why Jane’s game for recovery is so helpful. And I am glad we both recovered! 🙂

Note: if you did not read the into of this day: Jane had to do a retake of her talk’s first part, because the power outage destroyed the first part of her original talk… High drama…

3:15 – 5:00

Session 9:

The Upside of Transparency

Parag Khanna

Global Theorist; Guest Host at TEDGlobal 2012

Sanjay Pradhan

Development Leader

I am still under the influence of Jane’s talk, so I am sorry, I am unable to pay attention to Sanjay’s emotional talk…

Beth Noveck

Open-Government Expert

How to use technology and data to get things done… Delivering better information… US patent applications will be totally open to all of us to influence them, globally… Demand this revolution!

Heather Brooke

Investigative Journalist

Grow up society, and demand secret documents now. Heather did that and heads fell in the British Parliament, by the dozen! Lets make officials accountable for not revealing public interest information. Iceland is becoming a safe and open place for data publication for all of us.

She suggested these sites for good use by citizens (the first one had Hungary listed on the left side):

http://www.alaveteli.org/

http://www.asktheeu.org/

http://www.investigativedashboard.org/

……

Marc Goodman

Global Security Futurist

Marc shows us how useful everyday technology is used by criminals too. Like 3D printing… or what about DNA… personalized attacks… Our security system is outdated. Open source global security… I really like Marc.

Deyan Sudjic

Curator

Talking about transparency and opacity in design, city planing, architecture and every day life.

6:00 – 7:45

Session 10:

Reframing

Sarah Slean

Musician

Singing her song: Lucky me! … about living today and being ready for science. 🙂

Laura Snyder

Science Historian

Darwin started his discovery journey as a natural philosopher and came back as a scientist, because the word was born around his time… As women got admitted into science circles in the past… today: people must be incorporated into the field of science.

John Maeda

Artist

Funny play with letters, sound, typeface, movement… Art is enigmatic… “You do not get it? Good.” – he says. It is what it is all about. Also, leadership is about connecting unlikely entities and see what happens… and you can use visual network analysis technology to understand your system, connections, groups and people in the system. Interesting talk.

Michael Hansmeyer

Computational Architect

Folding simple shapes into intricate, beautiful forms never seen before by using simple algorithms and 3D printing them. Awesome! 🙂 WOW! I believe the people there in the room do not grasp what they have seen now. My best friend is an architect and an artist… I have been “trained” in this field… I know that this was fantastic!

Ramesh Raskar

Femtophotographer

Taking pictures of light at really high speed and sensing light reflections for… safety for example… this talk was fantastic too.

Boaz Almog

Quantum Researcher

Quantum “levitation”… quantum locking with magnetic field and super conductors… not levitation… and of course Sapphire is also part of the phenomenon… 😉

Video: http://worldsciencefestival.com/videos/introducing_quantum_levitation

Keith Chen

Behavioral Economist

Chinese language does not divide tenses… it rained yesterday, it rained today, it rained tomorrow… so, if present and future are the same for you, it is easier to save. At least this is Keith’s theory and the numbers and data analysis suggest: he might be right. Future-less language speakers are the best savers. They have a continuous existence.

Hungarian is a “futured” language, unfortunately, so perception of time is divided. Hungary’s savings are just under 25%.

Future-less “nations” and their people are more likely to be healthy, play it safe and save. Do I feel so out of place in Hungary, because I started to adopt German at 17 and English since 24? No… I just simply feel out of place here since… since I was born…

And when I assumed my day was over, I find this article on BigThink with a funny Hungarian stamp as an illustration:

Obese? Smoker? No Retirement Savings? Perhaps It’s Because of the Language You Speak

http://bigthink.com/Mind-Matters/obese-smoker-no-retirement-savings-perhaps-its-because-of-the-language-you-speak

“No Retirement Savings? Perhaps It’s Because of the Language You Speak”  – “Illustration: 1958 Hungarian postage stamp of a (perhaps strong-FTR speaking) grasshopper partying away for the summer while the (maybe weak-FTR-speaking) ants prepare for winter. Hungarian, by the way, is a strong-FTR language.”

And here is the working paper under review:

The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from
Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets
M. Keith Chen∗
Yale University, School of Management and Cowles Foundation

Hungarians are bad at saving... are they cut off from their future due to language?

Figure 2 shows average total savings rates, accounting for both private and government consumption. Data
from before 1985 are included in the regressions below but excluded here to normalize time periods across
countries. Both Switzerland and Belgium have significant within-country FTR variation; for simplicity they
are shaded according to their majority-FTR status. Difference in means are computed using a OLS regression
where observations are clustered at the country level.

Hannah Brock

Guzheng Virtuoso

Regina Saphier TED Global 2012 Day 2

English: Neil Harbisson and his eyeborg implan...

Neil Harbisson and his eyeborg implant. World’s first cyborg recognized as such by a government. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

9:45 – 11:15

Session 4:

Globality

Pankaj Ghemawat

Globalization Thinker

So, just how globalized is the world. Well, it is at 10-20 % only! For example, international, cross border phone calls are at 2% only. Businesses created by immigrants globally only at 3%. Foreign direct investment globally is below 10%. Export / GDP somewhere at 20%… And in all cases survey participants hugely overestimate these numbers when guessing. Like the French, who think their country is “suffering” from a 24% immigrant population, while it is in fact only 8%. That latter number changes perception. People in the US think that foreign aid in the national budget is 30%, while it is only 1%. Pankaj says: Radical Openness is a nice title for a TED conference, but truth is, incremental openness would already be an achievement. People on Facebook have only 10-15% of their friends located outside of their geographical region or country.

Pankaj Ghemawat

Pankaj Ghemawat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert Neuwirth

Author

He talks about DIY economy… Robert points out that the informal economy is growing and it is a huge part of the world economy all together.

Andreas Schleicher

Education Surveyor

Korea not so long ago was a sad country, and now every young Korean finishes high school… Wonderful! My question: but what about the record numbers of suicides among Korean intellectuals? Perhaps the large class sizes are low cost but also dehumanizing and overly competitive? What about the hikikomori population of Japan?

The PISA Test and Hungary… according to one chart, we are doing ok… but I would disagree with Andreas immediately! And a new chart comes up and we are in the red (lower left part of the chart in red)… we spend little on our education… high socioeconomic disparity, low average performance and guess what, and this is my news for you: high levels of suicide, alcoholism and depression. Extremely depressing country to live in, I should know. I call it the Mediterranean Balkan.

Still, the data Andreas showed, is very interesting and useful for comparison and for finding what works (statistically, not necessarily humanly, in my opinion). But actually PISA stats are distorted, because it depends for example on the schools where the tests are done… not always representative of the other schools in a country.

Natasha Paremski

Pianist

Classical music for a change… nice. 🙂 Too short… need more…

Alex Salmond

First Minister of Scotland

For small nations, it is not the economic size that matters, rather it is the power of their ambition. He showed us a chart with small countries that recovered easily from the global crisis… well, Hungary is NOT one of them, unfortunately. Hungary is a nation suffering terribly… and has always been suffering…

12:00 – 13:45

Session 5:

Shades of Openness

Malte Spitz

Politician and Data Activist

EU citizens to mobile companies: Do not retain our data. He asked his phone provider to send him what they are storing about him. Finally, after some struggle, he got it and he put it online. Companies are constantly trying to track us. We have to fight for our independence every day. Privacy is a value of the twenty first century. Just because these companies are able to retain all this info about you, they should not do so. Ask your company: What kind of data are you storing about me?

Ivan Krastev

Public intellectual

Finally, it is not Hungary, but Bulgaria: the most pessimistic nation! They voted with blank ballots saying: We have no leaders to vote for! Thank you! Tell politicians that we are not idiots, we know when there is no choice. Ivan, who has no mobile phone, says that we now get facebook revolutions. Do you believe that well informed, decent and talented people will run for office? Chris says, he now understands why Bulgarians translated all TED talks… they were looking for hope.

Gerard Senehi

Experimental Mentalist

Some spoon bending at TED… I did that with Uri Geller years ago… I have no idea how that worked… we were standing in a regular kitchen in Oxford… he picked up a spoon, asked me to hold it, and asked me to put my finger on it… he in turn put his finger on mine and the spoon was bent immediately… I suspect he gave that set of utensils to the host in the past… but it did not change shape when I touched it alone… go figure… I still have that distorted spoon by the way…

Gabriella Coleman

Digital Anthropologist

Anonymous is protecting the freedom of the internet. A visible and invisible group at the same time. Team work. Gabriella is practicing ethnographic diplomacy when she is talking about this phenomenon… She says, if the Anonymous group members were to send her a pizza, it should please be gluten free. 🙂

Leslie T. Chang

Journalist

Understanding female factory workers… in China… Alienated workers? Or resourceful women in development? What matters is that these women learn, change and their families notice but they don’t really understand. These women learn English, because: Our customers in the future might not be Chinese, so languages are needed. 320 dollars bags taken home as gifts from the factories… family members at home could not understand why these items were selling for so much in the US… well, what matter to me, is that those women should earn more if the profit is so extreme…

Neil Harbisson

Sonochromatic Cyborg Artist

Our colorblind friend, Neil shows us how he is able to hear colors. When he started to dream in color, his brain started to produce sounds of colors. He is now a cyborg with his device, listening to Picasso. He now dresses in a way that sounds good. Or composing Lady Gaga salad… or Rachmaninow dishes. He creates sound portraits. Nicole Kidman’s face sounds good.

3:15 – 5:00

Session 6:

Misbehaving Beautifully

Sarah Caddick

Neuroscientist and Policy Advisor; Guest Host at TEDGlobal 2012

Read Montague

Behavioral Neuroscientist

Linking human brains in action around the world and measuring their interactive activity with fMRI machines.

Elyn Saks

Mental Health Law Scholar

A personal story of schizophrenia. In fact I know Elyn’s story from NPR. People like her are the ones who change the world, because she is changing people’s perceptions by opening up. And that is courage.

Ruby Wax

Comedian and Mental Health Activist

She says our pets are happier than we are. In a funny way she is out to remove the stigma from our brain being confused or overwhelmed in this century. Why is it, that you get sympathy for an illness of a specific organ, but no sympathy if your brain is sick. It is an organ you know. Full of chemicals, synaptic connections, electric signals, and it can break down just like a machine.

Vikram Patel

Healthcare advocate

People with mental illness live a shorter life, with a lower quality of life. Mental illnesses are leading causes of disability, like depression. How to use ordinary people to deliver mental health training to poor people, with serious impact… SUNDAR: Simplify, UNpack, Deliver health care, Affordable, Reallocate resources (SUNDAR… attractive in Hindi). Democratization of medical knowledge…

Wayne McGregor

Dancer and Choreographer

We are experts in physical thinking, he says… (but obviously, his kinesthetic intelligence is above average). He is turning the TED logo into movement spontaneously and his colleagues pick it up and repeat it in their own ways. It is really fun to watch. 🙂 The TED dance is born.

Natasha Paremski

Pianist

Classical music again. 🙂

Robert Legato

Visual Effects Guru

Brilliantly creative make-believe for the cinema lovers… Go see Hugo in 3D…

6:00 – 7:45

Session 7:

Long Term

Vicki Arroyo

Environmental Policy Influencer

What I am taking away from this: when natural disasters hit people, many are likely to stay in dangerous areas, because they are unable to evacuate their pets… and get killed together with them… so legislation has to change to allow people to escape with their pets. Vicki basically introduces intelligent design and policy that can protect people from natural disasters.

Jonathan Trent

Scientist and Biofuel Guru

OMEGA… a safe system at sea to make bio fuel by using micro algae and: increase bio diversity. Sounds good. Even open source!

Hassine Labaied

Wind Energy Innovator

He shows us a new kind of wind turbine system. Very interesting, and very effective, but also still in development.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Cognitive Neuroscientist

Looking at the brains of teenagers. In late adolescence the pre-frontal cortex and other brain areas are optimized, and the amount of gray matter measurably decreases, so unnecessary connections are eliminated depending on the environment the person is in. So, take that into consideration when you educate young people.

Susan Solomon

Stem Cell Advocate

She is showing us a special video: an illness unfolds in front of our eyes by using human cells. Imagine your stem cell avatars being used for drug testing. Not only is this technology going to save lots of time and money for the pharmaceuticals, but also it could help you and me get targeted and safe medications when we need them (safely pretested and personalized).

We are informed that the TED Prize is now 1 000 000 USD and you can nominate yourself if you have a dream.

http://www.tedprize.org/

Usman Riaz

Percussive Guitarist

Preston Reed

Revolutionary Guitarist

Regina Saphier TED Global 2012 Day 1

Prezi Logo

Prezi Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

12:00 – 13:45

Session 1:

Critical Crossroads

Don Tapscott

Visionary

Don tells the story of his neighbor open sourcing his gold mine geo data to find info and gold… In fact my father did the same for many years publishing photos of items in his collection asking: do you know who painted this? Because he knew, he can not possibly know it all… so he open sourced the research and it worked many times. Don says, it is the age of networked intelligence. Collective intelligence is able to solve huge problems in the world… Lets do this, he says. http://moxieinsight.com/

Shyam Sankar

Data Intelligence Agent

Fascinating high level data mining to find any info, people, and connections between info and people. Artificial and human intelligence combined…

Robyn Meredith

Journalist

China in the age of global economic crisis… the “factory of the world” in trouble when 20 million Chinese lost their jobs (and what about people in Hungary, 10 million people all together, who lost textile industry jobs by the hundreds of thousands due to the dirt cheap Chinese goods in the past… we no longer have a textile industry)… but their new middle class has spending power over there in China (we do not appear to have much of a middle class in Hungary)… Beijing wants innovation (Hungary has very little innovation… like Prezi… not much more, unfortunately… but at least Prezi has TED or rather Sapling as an investor… Ok, LogMeIn and UStream is also related to Hungary…)… China again wants to be innovative… like the gun powder… you know… made in China… The new economic “Big Brother”… Robyn says: “Today’s companies no longer make what they sell or no longer sell what they make.” China in its own way wants to make its people happy (unfortunately, Hungary’s leaders are not interested in Hungarian people’s happiness).

Jason Silva

Tech Filmmaker

According to Jason: “Awe is the best drug…” I have no comparison, I just love mental play and awesome ideas, art and talks. http://thisisjasonsilva.com/aboutme/

Raghu Dixit

Fusion Musician

Well, music…

James Stavridis

NATO Supreme Commander

He says, instead of walls, “use bridges” and gives us examples of social, cultural bridges creating security. NATO is using social networks as well you know. In many instances use soft power instead of hard power.

3:15 – 5:00

Session 2:

Tinker Make Do

Ellen Jorgensen

Biologist and Community Science Advocate

Ellen: “It’s a great time to be a molecular biologist!” So, now you can analyze your own genome… and use the data for genealogy research. DIY… you can also confront the dog owners about their dogs’ leftovers on the streets… You could do so many things in these new communities. GenSpace is the world’s first government-compliant DIY biotechnology lab.

Massimo Banzi

Physical Computing Guru

He showed us a couple of wonderful open source projects. A must see! This talk should be up soon! 🙂

Catarina Mota

Maker

She is a maker (originally a social scientist), using smart materials. She says, we should understand smart materials today, to be able to meaningfully use them.

Matt Mills and Tamara Roukaerts

Technologists

Aurasma, a startup that makes augmented-reality technology for mobile phones.

TED Fellows Director, Tom Rielly tells us about Max Little who invented an algorithm to detect Parkinson’s by using voice only.

Lee Cronin talks about chemistry apps in 3 minutes… 3D printers and chemical inks… print your own medicine… no need to go to your chemist in the future… “on the fly molecular assembly”…. own personal meta fabricator…

Antony Gormley

Sculptor

The body in space… light and darkness… very visual talk… he makes you disappear together… and turns you into an exhibit at the same time.

Kathy Hinde

Bird Piano Creator

Annoying TED “talk”.

Jamie Drummond

Anti-poverty activist

Lets do a global open source consultation about important issues. Collecting, connecting and committing. What do you want the next goals to be? He really wants to eliminate poverty by 2030.

6:00 – 7:45

Session 3:

Building Blocks

Daphne Koller

Daphne Koller

Educator

She is the person in this conference I am able to identify with most in terms of her goals. Free top higher education for all. Education might finally become a fundamental human right, life long learning will be a norm, and innovation is the goal. Her startup, Coursera, is working on just that. She spoke about the wonderful tools, people and outcomes. Top talk! Hope to see it online very very soon. I have an Ivy League degree (MA)… I live in Hungary now… I immediately discovered interesting courses on Coursera that I might take after the TED conference is over. I really love this idea… It would be really interesting to see if I could compile a DIY Interdisciplinary PhD on the Ivy level via Coursera from the best US universities… I have been looking forward to such an opportunity since I moved back to Hungary 10 years ago… Doing that as a game perhaps… like I described in one of my TED conversation comments to Jane McGonigal over a year ago… (Jane asked this: We spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing videogames. Is it worth it? How could it be MORE worth it?). Here is my shortened answer:

“I am not a gamer. I am an online idea generator…. Why not create a game that makes people in the developed world responsible for the education of people in the less developed parts of the world. There is now so much content out there for online education for free… I was thinking: Ivy League development, education, etc… students should be inspired by online games … you know, somehow combining education, mentoring, research and gaming… Get your degree as an online gamer by teaching people skills, showing them the world, interacting with them online and seeing results as we play. Learn from each other. Get your university credits with meaningful online games. … “online global community graduation” … I imagined getting an experimental PhD in such a way online (on top of my Columbia University MA) from my home in Budapest, Hungary while pulling someone else (living in a less fortunate environment) toward a BA or an MA degree. The game could have an academically meaningful impact beyond the epic win of teaching people skills, languages or science… I am sure many PhD students would be happier with this, instead of being the RA and TA slaves of tenured professors in the US… I could work with a post-doc who is in the US… so that person in the US, me in Hungary, and the person in the Third World: we would get to know each other’s needs and culture too and that with minimal carbon footprint. That could promote global power balance and understanding. This in my opinion would be a meaningful game project.”

Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, the founders of Coursera

Shimon Schocken

Computer Scientist, Educator

Provide the environment for self study. Open source computer course… Grading is degrading… so he is telling us about upgrading. He is showing us a tool and my stream is gone… so I am sorry, but I have no way of knowing what he is talking about right now… will look it up from the archive later. But the tool he was showing looked similar to GeoGebra

Beau Lotto

Neuroscientist, Artist

+

Amy O’Toole

Student

How to change perception… Fascinating story of kids getting published with an original scientific study. Amy: Anyone can discover something new.

Eddie Obeng

Business Educator

Stop looking at the twenty first century with twentieth century eyes.

Karen Thompson Walker

Novelist

She is talking about fear in life and in literature.

Macy Gray

Singer/Songwriter

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