Archive for the ‘TED Talks’ Category

Brute computing force alone can’t solve the world’s problems. Data mining innovator Shyam Sankar explains why solving big problems (like catching terrorists or identifying huge hidden trends) is not a question of finding the right algorithm, but rather the right symbiotic relationship between computation and human creativity.

An advocate of human-computer symbiosis, Shyam Sankar looks for clues in big and disparate data sets.

Brute computing force alone can’t solve the world’s problems. Data mining innovator Shyam Sankar explains why solving big problems (like catching terrorists or identifying huge hidden trends) is not a question of finding the right algorithm, but rather the right symbiotic relationship between computation and human creativity.

An advocate of human-computer symbiosis, Shyam Sankar looks for clues in big and disparate data sets.

Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.

Why you should listen to him (From TED):

Consider your hand. You use it to lift things, to balance yourself, to give and take, to sense the world. It has a range of interacting degrees of freedom, and it interacts with many different objects under a variety of environmental conditions. And for most of us, it all just works. At his lab in the Engineering department at Cambridge, Daniel Wolpert and his team are studying why, looking to understand the computations underlying the brain’s sensorimotor control of the body.

As he says, “I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.” Movement is the only way we have of interacting with the world, whether foraging for food or attracting a waiter’s attention. Indeed, all communication, including speech, sign language, gestures and writing, is mediated via the motor system. Taking this viewpoint, and using computational and robotic techniques as well as virtual reality systems, Wolpert and his team research the purpose of the human brain and the way it determines future actions.

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

Neil Harbisson’s “eyeborg” allows him to hear colors, even those beyond the range of sight

Life will be much more exciting when we stop creating applications for mobile phones and we start creating applications for our own body.” (Neil Harbisson)

Hannah Fry trained as a mathematician, and completed her PhD in fluid dynamics in early 2011. After a brief period working as an aerodynamicist in the motorsport industry, she came back to UCL to work on a major interdisciplinary project in complexity science. The project spans several departments, including Mathematics and the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, and focuses on understanding global social systems — such as Trade, Migration and Security. Hannah’s research interests revolve around creating new mathematical techniques to study these systems, with recent work including studies of the London Riots and Consumer Behaviour.

Talk: Is life really that complex?
Recently scientists have begun to appreciate that many of the mechanisms inherent in our social systems have analogies in seemingly unrelated problems. The movement of a crowd, for instance, can be understood using techniques traditionally applied to the flow of a fluid, and the uptake of a new technology can be predicted using knowledge of how disease spreads.
By exploiting these analogies, a new field is emerging at the interface between social sciences and mathematics, the potential of which I hope to illustrate using a mathematical model of the London Riots. Our approach can demonstrate why certain areas of the city were at higher risk than others and help determine which policing strategies may have resulted in a swifter resolution to the unrest.
We will discuss how social modelling can provide a greater understanding of our society, and help design better systems for all: from healthcare to policing and policy.

When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter.

In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience — and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.

The recent generations have been bathed in connecting technology from birth, says futurist Don Tapscott, and as a result the world is transforming into one that is far more open and transparent. In this inspiring talk, he lists the four core principles that show how this open world can be a far better place.

Don Tapscott can see the future coming … and works to identify the new concepts we need to understand in a world transformed by the Internet