This week at the TEDGlobal 2012 conference, some great thinkers will come together to discuss the ways technology, and the people using it, are changing our world. As with all TED events, a series of videos will be made out of the talks, all 20 minutes or shorter in length. But unlike most longer-form online videos of people talking, lots of people will actually watch these TED Talks.
Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) seems to have done the impossible:convincing millions of people to watch fairly lengthy videos about big ideas online. TED's YouTube channel has attracted nearly 112 million views, and their talks are shared around the world. And unlike many of YouTube's popular vids, none of TED's videos feature a kitten falling into a basket (to be fair, some cat videos are definitely worth your time, like Henri 3, Le Vet).
The theme of TEDGlobal 2012 - currently underway in Edinburgh, Scotland - is "radical openness". That's also the underlying idea that drives TED, according to the European director of the organization, and curator of TEDGlobal, Bruno Giussani: "The web has expanded the amount of silliness out there but also the amount of seriousness. What TED reveals is that there's clearly a big thirst out there for different ways of sharing knowledge. This was under served and we tapped into it".
Not everyone agrees that TED is as open as it could be. Social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson says "all you get from TED are the ideas of Silicon Valley. It has a cultish feel to it". But TED fan Ray Willmouth, a footwear buyer from Muswell Hill, north London, doesn't see that as a bad thing: "People like to feel like they're part of a tribe," he says. "It's about how you identify as a person. I don't think that's a bad thing".
Today, friend of the show Don Tapscott kicked off the first session of TEDGlobal 2012, 'Critical Crossroads', with a talk called "Welcome To The Open World". He discussed the ways that collaboration, transparency, sharing, and empowerment are changing human societies. He also talked about his own kids' natural ability to use new technologies - a theme he discussed on the show this season:
To get an idea of what TED's all about, you can check out the three most-watched TED Talks to date: Ken Robinson on his belief that schools kill creativity, Jill Bolte Taylor's talk "Stroke of Insight", about experiencing a massive stroke and discovering new things about how her brain works, and Pranav Mistry talking about "SixthSense" technology:
Jill Bolte Taylor
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