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


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 Long Beach 2011 Day 1

TED2011: Bobby McFerrin

Image by redmaxwell via Flickr

TED photo stream slide show (opens in new window) Day 1

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

11:00 AM – 12:45 PM Session 1: Monumental

So, after Astronaut Cady Coleman spoke to us from space, Janna is introduced by Chris. Black holes are not dark on the inside she says… She also shows us the sound of a small black hole falling into a larger black hole…

Sarah is in Sichuan, China in the middle of nowhere, talking with Chris via phone. She is walking from Siberia to Australia. Meanwhile we see wonderful pictures taken by her during her long distance nature walk.

Why are the most socially skilled people dehumanized when it comes to policymaking? He mentions a study: scientists predicted well from the mother-baby interaction at 18 months if a child would graduate from high school in the future. (In his New Yorker article he wrote: “Researchers at the University of Minnesota can look at attachment patterns of children at forty-two months, and predict with seventy-seven-per-cent accuracy who will graduate from high school.” 18 or 42?) According to other studies people are misjudging their social status, earnings and skills within the US population, highly overestimating their own standing. 95% of professors rate themselves above average teachers. 96% of college students think they have above average social skills. 19% of Americans believe they are in the top 1% of earners. Our suffering leads to our wisdom as interconnected people… I have to say, I don’t know what David was doing at TED… he did not fit my cognitive TED picture. March 13. note: When I read his article in the New Yorker, I changed my mind about him. He is actually much better and funnier in writing. What I think he is trying to say is that there are ways to improve our connected selves: by being better, emotionally more mature parents to future generations, by suffering and learning via life experiences, and by utilizing new scientific results to understand human nature. (I hope the several camera and sound errors will be edited out by the time his talk is uploaded.)

We listen to music for a little while… I know Eric and his virtual choir… I think what he is doing with his volunteers is wonderful… I believe this is the message we should send deep into Space!

Al Jazeera’s 43 years old executive says the change we see was inspired by idealistic, globally connected, educated young people who wanted the corrupt old leaders out. This is change from within, not change forced from the outside. He passionately predicts a better and more tolerant future! He looks really happy about what is going on. According to him the youth in the Arab World is much more able to lead those nations… the old regimes are not able to do that well anymore.

Chris introduces LocaTED, a new smart phone application that connects people at the Long Beach site.

Unfortunately, during the entire session the live stream chat did not work at all…

2:15 PM – 4:00 PM Session 2: Majestic

Interesting… but largely a bit too large for the TED stage…

Please, go ahead and doodle!

This is a must see… lots of highly visual presentations this year…

Thomas is a sensitive young man, showing us his elegant building designs. This also a highly visual talk.

He does his usual trick: improvising with the audience. 🙂 I had  my first hand experience with him, I wrote a TED comment about it last year:

Feb 27 2010: “I did enjoy Bobby McFerrin’s musical talent in New York, at Lincoln Center‘s Avery Fisher Hall around 2000. We were sitting in one of the front rows of the middle section, me on the third seat from the left aisle. He made people sing one by one, after he performed alone on stage. He walked right to my friend’s old classmate and tried to make her sing. She would not. I tried to cheer her to sing, and Bobby noticed. Oh, oh… I realized he was climbing in-between the seats and was suddenly standing right above me, with his microphone. I am no singer, but he made me sing an African sounding duet. Sorry, about my ignorance, no idea what it was. No idea what I was singing, and I know I was off key, but I loved the experience. Can you imagine your own voice filling Avery Fisher Hall together with Bobby McFerrin? Thousands of people paid for the outstanding evening, with him being the only performer, and I got to sing with him. One of my dearest memories from New York. :)”

Read (and rate by clicking on their titles and giving a thumb up) more of my TED talk comments on my TED comment page:

5:00 PM – 6:45 PM Session 3: Mindblowing

More visual mindblowing… I think the most interesting project Carlo showed us was the trash tracking… from one city through the entire US.

Kevin Stone talked about his Rescue Reel that will save anyone in burning skyscrapers: they will be able to slide to safety. It is a wonderful idea.

Mattias Astrom showed us how formally classified technology is revolutionizing how we map the world in 3D.

This is an easy day for me, because most of what happens on stage is visual. Anyway, Aaron plays with data, random people, and the interface that is powered by IT. He shows us the beautiful fabric created by airline traffic data, or the online community created video clip.

From @TEDNews on twitter: “Mike Matas shows the future of digital books with Al Gore‘s “Our Choice” on the iPad. It’s the sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth” ”

Homaru Cantu and Ben Roche are fooling with our food and taste. They design unusual dishes that either look weird, taste different, or are made of something else… like the burgers that look like meat, but are actually not made of animal sources.

TEDED Brain Trust is introduced:

An illusionist plays with tedsters’ minds.