from the world's big
TED2013 Launches With a Bang
Science fiction writer William Gibson famously stated on NPR’s Fresh Air back in 1993, “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.” It’s a quote that in many ways still holds true today, illustrating the divide between developed and developing countries, and even more generally between those in the know and those who don't know squat about diddly. However, this knowledge gap has been slowly but surely dissipating, thanks in large part to the explosion of TED Talks into the mainstream conversation.
What started as a private highbrow salon almost 30 years ago, TED.com has been transformed into a global platform built under the premise of distributing “ideas worth spreading”. These ideas have culminated in over one billion viewings, and continues to expand into new circles and new mediums with TEDx, TED-ED and the TED Prize.
Yesterday marked the start of the annual conference held in Long Beach, California. The theme for TED2013 is “The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.” - with the TED team spending several months globetrotting around the world to bring together a diverse group of talent to the stage. The resulting lineup includes a 13-year-old Masai boy engineer, a 15-year-old medical pioneer, a Ghanaian undercover journalist as well as some more traditional keynote speakers (and rock stars) such as Bono, Peter Gabriel, Elon Musk, Stewart Brand, and Vint Cerf.
The big news from Day 1 was the announcement of of this year’s TED Prize winner. The grand sum of one million dollars for seed money was presented to Dr. Sugata Mitra of India. The renowned educator is famous for his “hole in the wall” experiment where he installed a computer in an Indian slum and documented how the young kids embraced the PC, figured out how to use it, and then recorded how the kids began teaching the other kids about the technology.
In his TED Talk in 2007 he asked, “what else can children teach themselves?” He has since been developing the concept he calls SOLEs (Self Organized Learning Environments). His approach embraces a modern view of education; one where facts and rote memorization are reserved for machines, leaving room for the kids to ask big questions and embark on intellectual journeys of free-form exploration and discovery. Sugata will use the TED Prize to launch a global initiative for his approach to self-directed learning.
Mitra said of the project, “My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into the innate sense of wonder and work together.” He continued, “Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online.”
The school will be self-sustaining and managed by cloud technology. Mentorship will play an important part of the experience, and Mitra has just released a toolkit for anyone interested in trying his self-directed learning approach. How to Bring Self-Organized Learning Environments to Your Community is an online resource designed to help educators and parents support kids as they begin their educational journey.
This is the largest ever TED Prize - the tradition having been born in 2005 when Bono and his ONE Campaign received the inaugural award of $100,000. The increased prize money marks the increasing expansion of the TED brand, platform, and overall impact on the world. With TEDx Conferences now being held all over the world at increasing rates, and TED-ED videos expanding into the classroom, TED seems poised to overcome Gibson’s quote and distribute the future to the masses; by offering a diverse set of on-ramps for people to jump on board the activist train, the movement seeks to unite the planet around important conversation, so that together we may collectively design the future we all wish to see in the world.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.
- Outplacement is an underperforming $5 billion dollar industry. A new non-profit coalition by SkillUp intends to disrupt it.
- More and more Americans will be laid off in years to come due to automation. Those people need to reorient their career paths and reskill in a way that protects their long-term livelihood.
- SkillUp brings together technology and service providers, education and training providers, hiring employers, worker outreach, and philanthropies to help people land in-demand jobs in high-growth industries.
Source: McKinsey Global Institute analysis [PDF]<p>Work in understanding the skills at the heart of the new digital economy is leading to novel assessments that allow individuals to prove mastery to faithfully represent their abilities—but also to give weight and stackability to the emerging ecosystem of micro-credentials that make education more seamless across time and education providers. And we are seeing the beginnings of a renewal in the liberal arts, focused on building human skills in affordable ways that are accessible to many more individuals and far more effective.</p><p>Amidst these dark times, there is much opportunity to refresh the nation's education and training solutions to support the success of individuals and society writ large.</p>