Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Anderson

Quest for immortality? Daughter, wife, robots

The founder of Sirius XM satellite radio, Martine Rothblatt now heads up a drug company that makes life-saving medicines for rare diseases (including one drug that saved her own daughter’s life).

Meanwhile she is working to preserve the consciousness of the woman she loves in a digital file and a companion robot. In an onstage conversation with TED’s Chris Anderson, Rothblatt shares her powerful story of love, identity, creativity, and limitless possibility

Martine Rothblatt Transhumanist?
Whether she’s inventing satellite radio, developing life-saving drugs or digitizing the human mind, Martine Rothblatt has a knack for turning visionary ideas into commonplace technology. Full bio
Filmed march 2015

Chris Anderson: So I guess what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about your life, and using some pictures that you shared with me. And I think we should start right here with this one. Okay, now who is this?

0:25 Martine Rothblatt: This is me with our oldest son Eli. He was about age five. This is taken in Nigeria right after having taken the Washington, D.C. bar exam.

CA: But this doesn’t really look like a Martine.

MR: Right. That was myself as a male, the way I was brought up. Before I transitioned from male to female and Martin to Martine.

( I saw a week ago a movie set in 1930 where a married man in Denmark changed to a women. The first operation was successful, but implanting a vagina killed him) 

0:54 CA: You were brought up Martin Rothblatt.  And about a year after this picture, you married a beautiful woman. Was this love at first sight? What happened there?

1:04 MR: It was love at the first sight. I saw Bina at a discotheque in Los Angeles, and we later began living together, but the moment I saw her, I saw just an aura of energy around her. I asked her to dance. She said she saw an aura of energy around me. I was a single male parent. She was a single female parent. We showed each other our kids’ pictures, and we’ve been happily married for a third of a century now. (Applause)

1:37 CA: And at the time, you were kind of this hotshot entrepreneur, working with satellites. I think you had two successful companies, and then you started addressing this problem of how could you use satellites to revolutionize radio. Tell us about that.

1:52 MR: I always loved space technology, and satellites, to me, are sort of like the canoes that our ancestors first pushed out into the water. So it was exciting for me to be part of the navigation of the oceans of the sky, and as I developed different types of satellite communication systems, the main thing I did was to launch bigger and more powerful satellites, the consequence of which was that the receiving antennas could be smaller and smaller, and after going through direct television broadcasting, I had the idea that if we could make a more powerful satellite, the receiving dish could be so small that it would just be a section of a parabolic dish, a flat little plate embedded into the roof of an automobile, and it would be possible to have nationwide satellite radio, and that’s Sirius XM today.

2:45 CA: Who here has used Sirius? So that succeeded despite all predictions at the time. It was a huge commercial success, but soon after this, in the early 1990s, there was this big transition in your life and you became Martine. tell me, how did that happen?

MR: It happened in consultation with Bina and our four beautiful children, and I discussed with each of them that I felt my soul was always female, and as a woman, but I was afraid people would laugh at me if I expressed it, so I always kept it bottled up and just showed my male side. And each of them had a different take on this.

Bina said, “I love your soul, and whether the outside is Martin and Martine, it doesn’t it matter to me, I love your soul.”

My son said, “If you become a woman, will you still be my father?” And I said, “Yes, I’ll always be your father,” and I’m still his father today.

My youngest daughter did an absolutely brilliant five-year-old thing. She told people, “I love my dad and she loves me.” So she had no problem with a gender blending whatsoever.

4:27 CA: And a couple years after this, you published this book: The Apartheid of Sex.” What was your thesis in this book?

4:34 MR: My thesis in this book is that there are seven billion people in the world, and actually, seven billion unique ways to express one’s gender.

And while people may have the genitals of a male or a female, the genitals don’t determine your gender or even really your sexual identity. That’s just a matter of anatomy and reproductive tracts, and people could choose whatever gender they want if they weren’t forced by society into categories of either male or female the way South Africa used to force people into categories of black or white.

We know from anthropological science that race is fiction, even though racism is very real, and we now know from cultural studies that separate male or female genders is a constructed fiction. The reality is a gender fluidity that crosses the entire continuum from male to female.

5:33 CA: You yourself don’t always feel 100 percent female.

5:36 MR: Correct. I would say in some ways I change my gender about as often as I change my hairstyle.

5:42 CA: (Laughs) Okay, now, this is your gorgeous daughter, Jenesis. And I guess she was about this age when something pretty terrible happened.

5:54 MR: Yes, she was finding herself unable to walk up the stairs in our house to her bedroom, and after several months of doctors, she was diagnosed to have a rare, almost invariably fatal disease called pulmonary arterial hypertension.

6:12 CA: So how did you respond to that?

6:14 MR: Well, we first tried to get her to the best doctors we could. We ended up at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The head of pediatric cardiology told us that he was going to refer her to get a lung transplant, but not to hold out any hope, because there are very few lungs available, especially for children.

He said that all people with this illness died, and if any of you have seen the film “Lorenzo’s Oil,” there’s a scene when the protagonist kind of rolls down the stairway crying and bemoaning the fate of his son, and that’s exactly how we felt about Jenesis.

6:55 CA: But you didn’t accept that as the limit of what you could do. You started trying to research and see if you could find a cure somehow.

7:03 MR: Correct. She was in the intensive care ward for weeks at a time, and Bina and I would tag team to stay at the hospital while the other watched the rest of the kids, and when I was in the hospital and she was sleeping, I went to the hospital library. I read every article that I could find on pulmonary hypertension.

I had not taken any biology, even in college, so I had to go from a biology textbook to a college-level textbook and then medical textbook and the journal articles, back and forth, and eventually I knew enough to think that it might be possible that somebody could find a cure.

So we started a nonprofit foundation. I wrote a description asking people to submit grants and we would pay for medical research. I became an expert on the condition — doctors said to me, Martine, we really appreciate all the funding you’ve provided us, but we are not going to be able to find a cure in time to save your daughter. However, there is a medicine that was developed at the Burroughs Wellcome Company that could halt the progression of the disease, but Burroughs Wellcome has just been acquired by Glaxo Wellcome. They made a decision not to develop any medicines for rare and orphan diseases, and maybe you could use your expertise in satellite communications to develop this cure for pulmonary hypertension.

8:36 CA: So how on earth did you get access to this drug?

8:39 MR: I went to Glaxo Wellcome and after three times being rejected and having the door slammed in my face because they weren’t going to out-license the drug to a satellite communications expert, they weren’t going to send the drug out to anybody at all, and they thought I didn’t have the expertise, finally I was able to persuade a small team of people to work with me and develop enough credibility.

I wore down their resistance, and they had no hope this drug would even work, by the way, and they tried to tell me, “You’re just wasting your time. We’re sorry about your daughter.” But finally, for 25,000 dollars and agreement to pay 10% of any revenues we might ever get, they agreed to give me worldwide rights to this drug.

9:33 CA: And so you put this drug on the market in a really brilliant way, by basically charging what it would take to make the economics work.

9:44 MR: Oh yes, Chris, but this really wasn’t a drug that I ended up — after I wrote the check for 25,000, and I said, “Okay, where’s the medicine for Jenesis?” they said, “Oh, Martine, there’s no medicine for Jenesis. This is just something we tried in rats.”

And they gave me, like, a little plastic Ziploc bag of a small amount of powder. They said, “Don’t give it to any human,” and they gave me a piece of paper which said it was a patent, and from that, we had to figure out a way to make this medicine. A hundred chemists in the U.S. at the top universities all swore that little patent could never be turned into a medicine. If it was turned into a medicine, it could never be delivered because it had a half-life of only 45 minutes.

10:29 CA: And yet, a year or two later, you were there with a medicine that worked for Jenesis.

10:37 MR: Chris, the astonishing thing is that this absolutely worthless piece of powder that had the sparkle of a promise of hope for Jenesis is not only keeping Jenesis and other people alive today, but produces almost a billion and a half dollars a year in revenue.

10:58 (Applause)

11:01 CA: So here you go. So you took this company public, right? And made an absolute fortune. And how much have you paid Glaxo, by the way, after that 25,000?

11:14 MR: Yeah, well, every year we pay them 10 percent of 1.5 billion, 150 million dollars, last year 100 million dollars. It’s the best return on investment they ever received. (Laughter)

11:25 CA: And the best news of all, I guess, is this.

11:29 MR: Yes. Jenesis is an absolutely brilliant young lady. She’s alive, healthy today at 30.

You see me, Bina and Jenesis there. The most amazing thing about Jenesis is that while she could do anything with her life, and believe me, if you grew up your whole life with people in your face saying that you’ve got a fatal disease, I would probably run to Tahiti and just not want to run into anybody again. But instead she chooses to work in United Therapeutics. She says she wants to do all she can to help other people with orphan diseases get medicines, and today, she’s our project leader for all telepresence activities, where she helps digitally unite the entire company to work together to find cures for pulmonary hypertension.

12:15 CA: But not everyone who has this disease has been so fortunate. There are still many people dying, and you are tackling that too. How?

12:23 MR: Exactly, Chris. There’s some 3,000 people a year in the United States alone, perhaps 10 times that number worldwide, who continue to die of this illness because the medicines slow down the progression but they don’t halt it. The only cure for pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, COPD, what Leonard Nimoy just died of, is a lung transplant, but sadly, there are only enough available lungs for 2,000 people in the U.S. a year to get a lung transplant, whereas nearly a half million people a year die of end-stage lung failure.

CA: So how can you address that?

MR:  I conceptualize the possibility that just like we keep cars and planes and buildings going forever with an unlimited supply of building parts and machine parts, why can’t we create an unlimited supply of transplantable organs to keep people living indefinitely, and especially people with lung disease.

So we’ve teamed up with the decoder of the human genome, Craig Venter, and the company he founded with Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X Prize, to genetically modify the pig genome so that the pig’s organs will not be rejected by the human body and thereby to create an unlimited supply of transplantable organs. We do this through our company, United Therapeutics.

13:54 CA: So you really believe that within a decade, that this shortage of transplantable lungs maybe be cured, through these guys?

14:02 MR: Absolutely, Chris. I’m as certain of that as I was of the success that we’ve had with direct television broadcasting, Sirius XM. It’s actually not rocket science. It’s straightforward engineering away one gene after another. We’re so lucky to be born in the time that sequencing genomes is a routine activity, and the brilliant folks at Synthetic Genomics are able to zero in on the pig genome, find exactly the genes that are problematic, and fix them.

14:31 CA: But it’s not just bodies that — though that is amazing. (Applause) It’s not just long-lasting bodies that are of interest to you now. It’s long-lasting minds. And I think this graph for you says something quite profound. What does this mean?

14:51 MR: What this graph means, and it comes from Ray Kurzweil, is that the rate of development in computer processing hardware, firmware and software, has been advancing along a curve such that by the 2020s, as we saw in earlier presentations today, there will be information technology that processes information and the world around us at the same rate as a human mind.

15:19 CA: And so that being so, you’re actually getting ready for this world by believing that we will soon be able to, what, actually take the contents of our brains and somehow preserve them forever? How do you describe that?

15:35 MR: Well, Chris, what we’re working on is creating a situation where people can create a mind file, and a mind file is the collection of their mannerisms, personality, recollection, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, everything that we’ve poured today into Google, into Amazon, into Facebook, and all of this information stored there will be able, in the next couple decades, once software is able to recapitulate consciousness, be able to revive the consciousness which is imminent in our mind file.

16:11 CA: Now you’re not just messing around with this. You’re serious. I mean, who is this?

16:17 MR: This is a robot version of my beloved spouse, Bina. And we call her Bina 48. She was programmed by Hanson Robotics out of Texas. There’s the centerfold from National Geographic magazine with one of her caregivers, and she roams the web and has hundreds of hours of Bina’s mannerisms, personalities. She’s kind of like a two-year-old kid, but she says things that blow people away, best expressed by perhaps a New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Harmon who says her answers are often frustrating, but other times as compelling as those of any flesh person she’s interviewed.

17:01 CA: And is your thinking here, part of your hope here, is that this version of Bina can in a sense live on forever, or some future upgrade to this version can live on forever?

MR: Yes. Not just Bina, but everybody. You know, it costs us virtually nothing to store our mind files on Facebook, Instagram, what-have-you.

Social media is I think one of the most extraordinary inventions of our time, and as apps become available that will allow us to out-Siri Siri, better and better, and develop consciousness operating systems, everybody in the world, billions of people, will be able to develop mind clones of themselves that will have their own life on the web.

17:46 CA: So the thing is, Martine, that in any normal conversation, this would sound stark-staring mad, but in the context of your life, what you’ve done, some of the things we’ve heard this week, the constructed realities that our minds give, I mean, you wouldn’t bet against it.

18:03 MR: Well, I think it’s really nothing coming from me. If anything, I’m perhaps a bit of a communicator of activities that are being undertaken by the greatest companies in China, Japan, India, the U.S., Europe. There are tens of millions of people working on writing code that expresses more and more aspects of our human consciousness, and you don’t have to be a genius to see that all these threads are going to come together and ultimately create human consciousness, and it’s something we’ll value.

There are so many things to do in this life, and if we could have a simulacrum, a digital doppelgänger of ourselves that helps us process books, do shopping, be our best friends, I believe our mind clones, these digital versions of ourselves, will ultimately be our best friends, and for me personally and Bina personally, we love each other like crazy. Each day, we are always saying, like, “Wow, I love you even more than 30 years ago. And so for us, the prospect of mind clones and regenerated bodies is that our love affair, Chris, can go on forever. And we never get bored of each other. I’m sure we never will.

19:16 CA: I think Bina’s here, right?

MR: She is, yeah.

CA: Would it be too much, I don’t know, do we have a handheld mic? Bina, could we invite you to the stage? I just have to ask you one question. Besides, we need to see you.

Come and join Martine here. I mean, look, when you got married, if someone had told you that, in a few years time, the man you were marrying would become a woman, and a few years after that, you would become a robot — (Laughter) — how has this gone? How has it been?

19:58 Bina Rothblatt: It’s been really an exciting journey, and I would have never thought that at the time, but we started making goals and setting those goals and accomplishing things, and before you knew it, we just keep going up and up and we’re still not stopping, so it’s great.

20:13 CA: Martine told me something really beautiful, just actually on Skype before this, which was that he wanted to live for hundreds of years as a mind file, but not if it wasn’t with you.

20:30 BR: That’s right, we want to do it together. We’re cryonicists as well, and we want to wake up together.

20:35 CA: So just so as you know, from my point of view, this isn’t only one of the most astonishing lives I have heard, it’s one of the most astonishing love stories I’ve ever heard. It’s just a delight to have you both here at TED. Thank you so much.

“What we’re working on is creating a situation where people can create a mind file, and a mind file is the collection of their mannerisms, personality, recollection, feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values, everything that we’ve poured today into Google, into Amazon, into Facebook, and all of this information stored there will be able, in the next couple decades, once software is able to recapitulate consciousness, be able to revive the consciousness which is imminent in our mind file.” – Martine Rothblatt
In a brilliant onstage conversation with TED’s Chris Anderson, Martine shares her powerful story of love, identity, creativity, openness and limitless possibility.

 
The founder of Sirius XM satellite radio, Martine Rothblatt now heads up a drug company that makes life-saving medicines for rare diseases (including one drug…
ted.com

The boring future we’re building? Elon Musk

Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, the latest from Tesla and SpaceX and his motivation for building a future on Mars in conversation with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson

Elon Musk. Serial entrepreneur is the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). Full bio

Filmed April 2017

Chris Anderson CA: Elon, hey, welcome back to TED. It’s great to have you here. In the next half hour or so, we’re going to spend some time exploring your vision for what an exciting future might look like, which I guess makes the first question a little ironic: Why are you boring?

0:32 Elon Musk EM: I ask myself that frequently. We’re trying to dig a hole under LA, and this is to create the beginning of what will hopefully be a 3D network of tunnels to alleviate congestion. So right now, one of the most soul-destroying things is traffic. It affects people in every part of the world. It takes away so much of your life. It’s horrible. It’s particularly horrible in LA.

CA: I think you’ve brought with you the first visualization that’s been shown of this. Can I show this?

EM: Yeah, absolutely. So this is the first time — Just to show what we’re talking about. So a couple of key things that are important in having a 3D tunnel network. First of all, you have to be able to integrate the entrance and exit of the tunnel seamlessly into the fabric of the city. So by having an elevator, sort of a car skate, that’s on an elevator, you can integrate the entrance and exits to the tunnel network just by using two parking spaces. And then the car gets on a skate.

There’s no speed limit here, so we’re designing this to be able to operate at 200 kilometers an hour. So you should be able to get from, say, Westwood to LAX in six minutes — five, six minutes.

 CA: So possibly, initially done, it’s like on a sort of toll road-type basis.

 EM: Yeah.  I don’t know if people noticed it in the video, but there’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnel you can have. You can go much further deep than you can go up. The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall, so you can alleviate any arbitrary level of urban congestion with a 3D tunnel network. This is a very important point.

So a key rebuttal to the tunnels is that if you add one layer of tunnels, that will simply alleviate congestion, it will get used up, and then you’ll be back where you started, back with congestion. But you can go to any arbitrary number of tunnels, any number of levels.

CA: But people — seen traditionally, it’s incredibly expensive to dig, and that would block this idea.

EM: Yeah. Well, they’re right. To give you an example, the LA subway extension, which is — I think it’s a two-and-a-half mile extension that was just completed for two billion dollars. So it’s roughly a billion dollars a mile to do the subway extension in LA. And this is not the highest utility subway in the world. So yeah, it’s quite difficult to dig tunnels normally. I think we need to have at least a tenfold improvement in the cost per mile of tunneling.

Actually, if you just do two things, you can get to approximately an order of magnitude improvement, and I think you can go beyond that. So the first thing to do is to cut the tunnel diameter by a factor of two or more. So a single road lane tunnel according to regulations has to be 26 feet, maybe 28 feet in diameter to allow for crashes and emergency vehicles and sufficient ventilation for combustion engine cars.

But if you shrink that diameter to what we’re attempting, which is 12 feet, which is plenty to get an electric skate through, you drop the diameter by a factor of two and the cross-sectional area by a factor of four, and the tunneling cost scales with the cross-sectional area.

So that’s roughly a half-order of magnitude improvement right there. Then tunneling machines currently tunnel for half the time, then they stop, and then the rest of the time is putting in reinforcements for the tunnel wall.

 if you design the machine instead to do continuous tunneling and reinforcing, that will give you a factor of two improvement. Combine that and that’s a factor of eight. Also these machines are far from being at their power or thermal limits, so you can jack up the power to the machine substantially.

I think you can get at least a factor of two, maybe a factor of four or five improvement on top of that. So I think there’s a fairly straightforward series of steps to get somewhere in excess of an order of magnitude improvement in the cost per mile, and our target actually is — we’ve got a pet snail called Gary, this is from Gary the snail from “South Park,” I mean, sorry, “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

So Gary is capable of — currently he’s capable of going 14 times faster than a tunnel-boring machine. He’s not a patient little fellow, and that will be victory. Victory is beating the snail.

CA: But a lot of people imagining, dreaming about future cities, they imagine that actually the solution is flying cars, drones, etc. You go aboveground. Why isn’t that a better solution? You save all that tunneling cost.

6:09 EM: Right. I’m in favor of flying things. Obviously, I do rockets, so I like things that fly. This is not some inherent bias against flying things, but there is a challenge with flying cars in that they’ll be quite noisy, the wind force generated will be very high. Let’s just say that if something’s flying over your head, a whole bunch of flying cars going all over the place, that is not an anxiety-reducing situation.

You don’t think to yourself, “Well, I feel better about today.” You’re thinking, “Did they service their hubcap, or is it going to come off and guillotine me?” Things like that.

CA: So you’ve got this vision of future cities with these rich, 3D networks of tunnels underneath. Is there a tie-in here with Hyperloop? Could you apply these tunnels to use for this Hyperloop idea you released a few years ago.

7:13 EM: Yeah, so we’ve been sort of puttering around with the Hyperloop stuff for a while. We built a Hyperloop test track adjacent to SpaceX, just for a student competition, to encourage innovative ideas in transport. And it actually ends up being the biggest vacuum chamber in the world after the Large Hadron Collider, by volume.

So it was quite fun to do that, but it was kind of a hobby thing, and then we think we might — so we’ve built a little pusher car to push the student pods, but we’re going to try seeing how fast we can make the pusher go if it’s not pushing something. So we’re cautiously optimistic we’ll be able to be faster than the world’s fastest bullet train even in a .8-mile stretch. It’s either going to smash into tiny pieces or go quite fast.

8:20 CA: But you can picture, then, a Hyperloop in a tunnel running quite long distances.

8:26 EM: Exactly. And looking at tunneling technology, it turns out that in order to make a tunnel, you have to — In order to seal against the water table, you’ve got to typically design a tunnel wall to be good to about five or six atmospheres. So to go to vacuum is only one atmosphere, or near-vacuum. So actually, it sort of turns out that automatically, if you build a tunnel that is good enough to resist the water table, it is automatically capable of holding vacuum.

CA: And so you could actually picture, what kind of length tunnel is in Elon’s future to running Hyperloop?

9:12 EM: I think there’s no real length limit. You could dig as much as you want. I think if you were to do something like a DC-to-New York Hyperloop, I think you’d probably want to go underground the entire way because it’s a high-density area. You’re going under a lot of buildings and houses, and if you go deep enough, you cannot detect the tunnel.

Sometimes people think, well, it’s going to be pretty annoying to have a tunnel dug under my house. Like, if that tunnel is dug more than about three or four tunnel diameters beneath your house, you will not be able to detect it being dug at all. In fact, if you’re able to detect the tunnel being dug, whatever device you are using, you can get a lot of money for that device from the Israeli military, who is trying to detect tunnels from Hamas, and from the US Customs and Border patrol that try and detect drug tunnels.

So the reality is that earth is incredibly good at absorbing vibrations, and once the tunnel depth is below a certain level, it is undetectable. Maybe if you have a very sensitive seismic instrument, you might be able to detect it.

10:28 CA: So you’ve started a new company to do this called The Boring Company. Very nice. Very funny.  How much of your time is this?

10:42 EM: It’s maybe … two or three percent.

10:48 CA: You’ve bought a hobby. This is what an Elon Musk hobby looks like.

EM: I mean, it really is, like — This is basically interns and people doing it part time. We bought some second-hand machinery. It’s kind of puttering along, but it’s making good progress, so —

11:11 CA: So an even bigger part of your time is being spent on electrifying cars and transport through Tesla. Is one of the motivations for the tunneling project the realization that actually, in a world where cars are electric and where they’re self-driving, there may end up being more cars on the roads on any given hour than there are now?

11:33 EM: Yeah, exactly. A lot of people think that when you make cars autonomous, they’ll be able to go faster and that will alleviate congestion. And to some degree that will be true, but once you have shared autonomy where it’s much cheaper to go by car and you can go point to point, the affordability of going in a car will be better than that of a bus. Like, it will cost less than a bus ticket. So the amount of driving that will occur will be much greater with shared autonomy, and actually traffic will get far worse.

12:11 CA: You started Tesla with the goal of persuading the world that electrification was the future of cars, and a few years ago, people were laughing at you. Now, not so much.

12:23 EM: OK. I don’t know. I don’t know.

12:29 CA: But isn’t it true that pretty much every auto manufacturer has announced serious electrification plans for the short- to medium-term future?

12:39 EM: Yeah. Yeah. I think almost every automaker has some electric vehicle program. They vary in seriousness. Some are very serious about transitioning entirely to electric, and some are just dabbling in it. And some, amazingly, are still pursuing fuel cells, but I think that won’t last much longer.

13:00 CA: But isn’t there a sense, though, Elon, where you can now just declare victory and say, you know, “We did it.” Let the world electrify, and you go on and focus on other stuff?

13:12 EM: Yeah. I intend to stay with Tesla as far into the future as I can imagine, and there are a lot of exciting things that we have coming. Obviously the Model 3 is coming soon. We’ll be unveiling the Tesla Semi truck.

13:31 CA: OK, we’re going to come to this. So Model 3, it’s supposed to be coming in July-ish.

13:38 EM: Yeah, it’s looking quite good for starting production in July.

13:42 CA: Wow. One of the things that people are so excited about is the fact that it’s got autopilot. And you put out this video a while back showing what that technology would look like.

13:57 EM: Yeah. There’s obviously autopilot in Model S right now. What are we seeing here? Yeah, so this is using only cameras and GPS. So there’s no LIDAR or radar being used here. This is just using passive optical, which is essentially what a person uses. The whole road system is meant to be navigated with passive optical, or cameras, and so once you solve cameras or vision, then autonomy is solved. If you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved. So that’s why our focus is so heavily on having a vision neural net that’s very effective for road conditions.

14:42 CA: Right. Many other people are going the LIDAR route. You want cameras plus radar is most of it.

14:47 EM: You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras. Like, you can probably do it ten times better than humans would, just cameras.

14:55 CA: So the new cars being sold right now have eight cameras in them. They can’t yet do what that showed. When will they be able to?

15:07 EM: I think we’re still on track for being able to go cross-country from LA to New York by the end of the year, fully autonomous.

15:17 CA: OK, so by the end of the year, you’re saying, someone’s going to sit in a Tesla without touching the steering wheel, tap in “New York,” off it goes.

15:27 EM: Yeah.

15:28 CA: Won’t ever have to touch the wheel — by the end of 2017.

15:33 EM: Yeah. Essentially, November or December of this year, we should be able to go all the way from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey.

CA: Amazing. But part of that is possible because you’ve already got a fleet of Teslas driving all these roads. You’re accumulating a huge amount of data of that national road system.

EM: Yes, but the thing that will be interesting is that I’m actually fairly confident it will be able to do that route even if you change the route dynamically. So, it’s fairly easy — If you say I’m going to be really good at one specific route, that’s one thing, but it should be able to go, really be very good, certainly once you enter a highway, to go anywhere on the highway system in a given country. So it’s not sort of limited to LA to New York. We could change it and make it Seattle-Florida, that day, in real time. So you were going from LA to New York. Now go from LA to Toronto.

CA: So leaving aside regulation for a second, in terms of the technology alone, the time when someone will be able to buy one of your cars and literally just take the hands off the wheel and go to sleep and wake up and find that they’ve arrived, how far away is that, to do that safely?

17:06 EM: I think that’s about two years. So the real trick of it is not how do you make it work say 99.9 percent of the time, because, like, if a car crashes one in a thousand times, then you’re probably still not going to be comfortable falling asleep. You shouldn’t be, certainly.

It’s never going to be perfect. No system is going to be perfect, but if you say it’s perhaps — the car is unlikely to crash in a hundred lifetimes, or a thousand lifetimes, then people are like, OK, wow, if I were to live a thousand lives, I would still most likely never experience a crash, then that’s probably OK.

17:53 CA: To sleep. I guess the big concern of yours is that people may actually get seduced too early to think that this is safe, and that you’ll have some horrible incident happen that puts things back.

18:04 EM: Well, I think that the autonomy system is likely to at least mitigate the crash, except in rare circumstances. The thing to appreciate about vehicle safety is this is probabilistic. I mean, there’s some chance that any time a human driver gets in a car, that they will have an accident that is their fault. It’s never zero. So really the key threshold for autonomy is how much better does autonomy need to be than a person before you can rely on it?

18:38 CA: But once you get literally safe hands-off driving, the power to disrupt the whole industry seems massive, because at that point you’ve spoken of people being able to buy a car, drops you off at work, and then you let it go and provide a sort of Uber-like service to other people, earn you money, maybe even cover the cost of your lease of that car, so you can kind of get a car for free. Is that really likely?

19:02 EM: Yeah. Absolutely this is what will happen. So there will be a shared autonomy fleet where you buy your car and you can choose to use that car exclusively, you could choose to have it be used only by friends and family, only by other drivers who are rated five star, you can choose to share it sometimes but not other times. That’s 100 percent what will occur. It’s just a question of when.

19:32 CA: So you mentioned the Semi and I think you’re planning to announce this in September, but I’m curious whether there’s anything you could show us today?

19:42 EM: I will show you a teaser shot of the truck. That’s definitely a case where we want to be cautious about the autonomy features. Yeah.

CA: We can’t see that much of it, but it doesn’t look like just a little friendly neighborhood truck. It looks kind of badass. What sort of semi is this?

EM: this is a heavy duty, long-range semitruck. So it’s the highest weight capability and with long range. So essentially it’s meant to alleviate the heavy-duty trucking loads. And this is something which people do not today think is possible. They think the truck doesn’t have enough power or it doesn’t have enough range, and then with the Tesla Semi we want to show that no, an electric truck actually can out-torque any diesel semi. And if you had a tug-of-war competition, the Tesla Semi will tug the diesel semi uphill.

CA: That’s pretty cool. And short term, these aren’t driverless. These are going to be trucks that truck drivers want to drive.

 EM: Yes. So what will be really fun about this is you have a flat torque RPM curve with an electric motor, whereas with a diesel motor or any kind of internal combustion engine car, you’ve got a torque RPM curve that looks like a hill. So this will be a very spry truck. You can drive this around like a sports car. There’s no gears. It’s, like, single speed.

CA: There’s a great movie to be made here somewhere. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know that it ends well, but it’s a great movie.

EM: It’s quite bizarre test-driving. When I was driving the test prototype for the first truck. It’s really weird, because you’re driving around and you’re just so nimble, and you’re in this giant truck.

21:52 CA: Wait, you’ve already driven a prototype?

21:56 EM: Yeah, I drove it around the parking lot, and I was like, this is crazy.

21:59 CA: Wow. This is no vaporware.

22:02 EM: It’s just like, driving this giant truck and making these mad maneuvers.

22:06 CA: This is cool. OK, from a really badass picture to a kind of less badass picture. This is just a cute house from “Desperate Housewives” or something. What on earth is going on here?

22:17 EM: Well, this illustrates the picture of the future that I think is how things will evolve. You’ve got an electric car in the driveway. If you look in between the electric car and the house, there are actually three Powerwalls stacked up against the side of the house, and then that house roof is a solar roof. So that’s an actual solar glass roof.

EM: That’s a picture of a real — well, admittedly, it’s a real fake house. That’s a real fake house.

CA: So these roof tiles, some of them have in them basically solar power, the ability to —

22:56 EM: Yeah. Solar glass tiles where you can adjust the texture and the color to a very fine-grained level, and then there’s sort of microlouvers in the glass, such that when you’re looking at the roof from street level or close to street level, all the tiles look the same whether there is a solar cell behind it or not. So you have an even color from the ground level. If you were to look at it from a helicopter, you would be actually able to look through and see that some of the glass tiles have a solar cell behind them and some do not. You can’t tell from street level.

23:42 CA: You put them in the ones that are likely to see a lot of sun, and that makes these roofs super affordable, right? They’re not that much more expensive than just tiling the roof.

23:50 EM: Yeah. We’re very confident that the cost of the roof plus the cost of electricity — A solar glass roof will be less than the cost of a normal roof plus the cost of electricity. So in other words, this will be economically a no-brainer, we think it will look great, and it will last — We thought about having the warranty be infinity, but then people thought, well, that might sound like were just talking rubbish, but actually this is toughened glass. Well after the house has collapsed and there’s nothing there, the glass tiles will still be there.

CA: I mean, this is cool. So you’re rolling this out in a couple week’s time, I think, with four different roofing types.

24:44 EM: Yeah, we’re starting off with two, two initially, and the second two will be introduced early next year.

24:50 CA: And what’s the scale of ambition here? How many houses do you believe could end up having this type of roofing?

24:58 EM: I think eventually almost all houses will have a solar roof. The thing is to consider the time scale here to be probably on the order of 40 or 50 years. So on average, a roof is replaced every 20 to 25 years. But you don’t start replacing all roofs immediately. But eventually, if you say were to fast-forward to say 15 years from now, it will be unusual to have a roof that does not have solar.

25:36 CA: Is there a mental model thing that people don’t get here that because of the shift in the cost, the economics of solar power, most houses actually have enough sunlight on their roof pretty much to power all of their needs. If you could capture the power, it could pretty much power all their needs. You could go off-grid, kind of.

25:55 EM: It depends on where you are and what the house size is relative to the roof area, but it’s a fair statement to say that most houses in the US have enough roof area to power all the needs of the house.

26:10 CA: So the key to the economics of the cars, the Semi, of these houses is the falling price of lithium-ion batteries, which you’ve made a huge bet on as Tesla. In many ways, that’s almost the core competency. And you’ve decided that to really, like, own that competency, you just have to build the world’s largest manufacturing plant to double the world’s supply of lithium-ion batteries, with this guy. What is this?

26:43 EM: Yeah, so that’s the Gigafactory, progress so far on the Gigafactory. Eventually, you can sort of roughly see that there’s sort of a diamond shape overall, and when it’s fully done, it’ll look like a giant diamond, or that’s the idea behind it, and it’s aligned on true north. It’s a small detail.

27:04 CA: And capable of producing, eventually, like a hundred gigawatt hours of batteries a year.

27:11 EM: A hundred gigawatt hours. We think probably more, but yeah.

27:14 CA: And they’re actually being produced right now.

27:17 EM: They’re in production already.

CA: You guys put out this video. I mean, is that speeded up?

27:21 EM: That’s the slowed down version.

 CA: How fast does it actually go?

27:27 EM: Well, when it’s running at full speed, you can’t actually see the cells without a strobe light. It’s just blur.

CA: One of your core ideas, Elon, about what makes an exciting future is a future where we no longer feel guilty about energy. Help us picture this. How many Gigafactories, if you like, does it take to get us there?

27:52 EM: It’s about a hundred, roughly. It’s not 10, it’s not a thousand. Most likely a hundred.

27:59 CA: See, I find this amazing. You can picture what it would take to move the world off this vast fossil fuel thing. It’s like you’re building one, it costs five billion dollars, or whatever, five to 10 billion dollars. Like, it’s kind of cool that you can picture that project. And you’re planning to do, at Tesla — announce another two this year.

28:24 EM: I think we’ll announce locations for somewhere between two and four Gigafactories later this year. Yeah, probably four.  We need to address a global market.

CA: This is cool. I think we should talk for — Actually, double mark it. I’m going to ask you one question about politics, only one. I’m kind of sick of politics, but I do want to ask you this. You’re on a body now giving advice to a guy —

29:18 EM: Who?

29:20 CA: Who has said he doesn’t really believe in climate change, and there’s a lot of people out there who think you shouldn’t be doing that. They’d like you to walk away from that. What would you say to them?

29:31 EM: Well, I think that first of all, I’m just on two advisory councils where the format consists of going around the room and asking people’s opinion on things, and so there’s like a meeting every month or two. That’s the sum total of my contribution. But I think to the degree that there are people in the room who are arguing in favor of doing something about climate change, or social issues, I’ve used the meetings I’ve had thus far to argue in favor of immigration and in favor of climate change.

And if I hadn’t done that, that wasn’t on the agenda before. So maybe nothing will happen, but at least the words were said.

CA: So let’s talk SpaceX and Mars. Last time you were here, you spoke about what seemed like a kind of incredibly ambitious dream to develop rockets that were actually reusable. And you’ve only gone and done it.

30:46 EM: Finally. It took a long time.

30:47 CA: Talk us through this. What are we looking at here?

30:50 EM: So this is one of our rocket boosters coming back from very high and fast in space. So just delivered the upper stage at high velocity. I think this might have been at sort of Mach 7 or so, delivery of the upper stage.

CA: I thought that was the sped-up version. But I mean, that’s amazing, and several of these failed before you finally figured out how to do it, but now you’ve done this, what, five or six times?

31:28 EM: We’re at eight or nine.

31:31 CA: And for the first time, you’ve actually reflown one of the rockets that landed.

31:35 EM: Yeah, so we landed the rocket booster and then prepped it for flight again and flew it again, so it’s the first reflight of an orbital booster where that reflight is relevant. So it’s important to appreciate that reusability is only relevant if it is rapid and complete. So like an aircraft or a car, the reusability is rapid and complete. You do not send your aircraft to Boeing in-between flights.

32:07 CA: Right. So this is allowing you to dream of this really ambitious idea of sending many people to Mars in, what, 10 or 20 years time, I guess.

32:17 EM: Yeah.

32:19 CA: And you’ve designed this outrageous rocket to do it. Help us understand the scale of this thing.

32:24 EM: Well, visually you can see that’s a person. Yeah, and that’s the vehicle.

CA: So if that was a skyscraper, that’s like, did I read that, a 40-story skyscraper?

32:40 EM: Probably a little more, yeah. The thrust level of this is really — This configuration is about four times the thrust of the Saturn V moon rocket.

32:55 CA: Four times the thrust of the biggest rocket humanity ever created before.

33:00 EM: Yeah. Yeah. In units of 747, a 747 is only about a quarter of a million pounds of thrust, so for every 10 million pounds of thrust, there’s 40 747s. So this would be the thrust equivalent of 120 747s, with all engines blazing.

33:25 CA: And so even with a machine designed to escape Earth’s gravity, I think you told me last time this thing could actually take a fully loaded 747, people, cargo, everything, into orbit.

33:37 EM: Exactly. This can take a fully loaded 747 with maximum fuel, maximum passengers, maximum cargo on the 747 — this can take it as cargo.

33:51 CA: So based on this, you presented recently this Interplanetary Transport System which is visualized this way. This is a scene you picture in, what, 30 years time? 20 years time? People walking into this rocket.

34:08 EM: I’m hopeful it’s sort of an eight- to 10-year time frame. Aspirationally, that’s our target. Our internal targets are more aggressive. While vehicle seems quite large and is large by comparison with other rockets, I think the future spacecraft will make this look like a rowboat. The future spaceships will be truly enormous.

34:42 CA: Why, Elon? Why do we need to build a city on Mars with a million people on it in your lifetime, which I think is kind of what you’ve said you’d love to do?

34:55 EM: I think it’s important to have a future that is inspiring and appealing. I just think there have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Like, why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? And if we’re not out there, if the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multiplanet species, I find that it’s incredibly depressing if that’s not the future that we’re going to have.

 CA: People want to position this as an either or, that there are so many desperate things happening on the planet now from climate to poverty to, you know, you pick your issue. And this feels like a distraction. You shouldn’t be thinking about this. You should be solving what’s here and now. And to be fair, you’ve done a fair old bit to actually do that with your work on sustainable energy. But why not just do that?

35:58 EM: I think there’s — I look at the future from the standpoint of probabilities. It’s like a branching stream of probabilities, and there are actions that we can take that affect those probabilities or that accelerate one thing or slow down another thing. I may introduce something new to the probability stream. Sustainable energy will happen no matter what.

If there was no Tesla, if Tesla never existed, it would have to happen out of necessity. It’s tautological. If you don’t have sustainable energy, it means you have unsustainable energy. Eventually you will run out, and the laws of economics will drive civilization towards sustainable energy, inevitably. The fundamental value of a company like Tesla is the degree to which it accelerates the advent of sustainable energy, faster than it would otherwise occur.

So when I think what is the fundamental good of a company like Tesla, I would say, hopefully, if it accelerated that by a decade, potentially more than a decade, that would be quite a good thing to occur. That’s what I consider to be the fundamental aspirational good of Tesla.

Then there’s becoming a multiplanet species and space-faring civilization. This is not inevitable.

It’s very important to appreciate this is not inevitable. The sustainable energy future I think is largely inevitable, but being a space-faring civilization is definitely not inevitable. If you look at the progress in space, in 1969 you were able to send somebody to the moon. 1969. Then we had the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle could only take people to low Earth orbit. Then the Space Shuttle retired, and the United States could take no one to orbit. So that’s the trend.

The trend is like down to nothing. People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does Not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually it will, I think, by itself degrade, actually. You look at great civilizations like Ancient Egypt, and they were able to make the pyramids, and they forgot how to do that. And then the Romans, they built these incredible aqueducts. They forgot how to do it.

38:39 CA: Elon, it almost seems, listening to you and looking at the different things you’ve done, that you’ve got this unique double motivation on everything that I find so interesting.

One is this desire to work for humanity’s long-term good. The other is the desire to do something exciting.

And often it feels like you feel like you need the one to drive the other. With Tesla, you want to have sustainable energy, so you made these super sexy, exciting cars to do it. Solar energy, we need to get there, so we need to make these beautiful roofs. We haven’t even spoken about your newest thing, which we don’t have time to do, but you want to save humanity from bad AI, and so you’re going to create this really cool brain-machine interface to give us all infinite memory and telepathy and so forth. And on Mars, it feels like what you’re saying is, yeah, we need to save humanity and have a backup plan, but also we need to inspire humanity, and this is a way to inspire.

39:44 EM: I think the value of beauty and inspiration is very much underrated, no question. But I want to be clear. I’m not trying to be anyone’s savior. That is not the — I’m just trying to think about the future and Not be sad.

 CA: Beautiful statement. I think everyone here would agree that it is not — None of this is going to happen inevitably. The fact that in your mind, you dream this stuff, you dream stuff that no one else would dare dream, or no one else would be capable of dreaming at the level of complexity that you do. The fact that you do that, Elon Musk, is a really remarkable thing. Thank you for helping us all to dream a bit bigger.

40:33 EM: But you’ll tell me if it ever starts getting genuinely insane, right? 

Patsy Z shared this link

“I think it’s important to have a future that is inspiring and appealing. I just think there have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Like, why do you want to live? What’s the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future? And if we’re not out there, if the future does not include being out there among the stars and being a multiplanet species, I find that it’s incredibly depressing if that’s not the future that we’re going to have.” – Elon Musk

#TED #TEDTalks #TEDx #SKE #TEDxSKE #Salon #TEDxSKESalon #Space #Solar #Sustainability #TechSolutions #Tech

The boring future we’re building? Elon Musk
Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, the latest from Tesla and SpaceX and his motivation for building a future on Mars in conversation with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson.
ted.com

 

Treating your talk as a gift

In a few weeks, Chris Anderson’s much awaited book on TED Talks comes out. I’ve just finished reading it, and it’s well worth a pre-order. When Chris took the leap 11 years ago and published the first online TED talks, he fundamentally changed the way we consume (and thus give) presentations.

Posted by Seth Godin on April 03, 2016

Today, it might seem obvious, but sharing these talks online the way he did was a very big leap, and a brilliant idea.

The bullet point, long endangered, was now dead.

Even if you’re not planning to give a TED talk any time soon, his book will give you a structure for how we present to groups today. It masterfully weaves and connects lessons from hundreds of talks, including speakers from every walk of life and just about everywhere in the world.

For the last 13 years, TED talks have punctuated my career.

It’s a privilege and a challenge to be given that platform, and I’m grateful (and a little awed) by the opportunity. The biggest concept in Chris’s book is essential: Every talk is a gift.

Here’s a quick look back at the five I’ve given…

My newest (and shortest) TED talk is still in the vaults. I had three minutes on-stage, and discovered that the 45-slide (one every three seconds) bangbang approach that I had practiced was going to be impossible.

With two days to go, I called an audible, and spent 48 hours brainstorming and developing a new talk just before I gave it. I turned it into this blog post.

When you haven’t grooved the mental pathways by giving a talk a hundred times, the experience of giving a talk to an esteemed audience is, at least for me, enervating and energizing at precisely the same time.

I feel like I’m using my sinews and ligaments, not just my muscles, digging deep to remember what comes next, while simultaneously watching the clock and my audience.

This is a high risk/high reward approach. The best talks work when they open doors and turn on lights for the audience… it’s about them, not the speaker’s experience. A gift you took the time to create.

My favorite TED talk has never been featured on the TED site. It has no slides, and I gave it exactly one time.

This is my version of flying without a net, of being totally present onstage, because it’s fresh for me and for the audience. (The first riff is totally improvised, it occurred to me as I walked on stage). The rest of the talk represents more than a few hundred hours of research and practice.

I hope that every teacher and every parent has a chance to argue about this one, that’s why I wrote Stop Stealing Dreams. The book is free and so is the talk, below:

My funniest TED talk wasn’t even given at TED. I did it for Mark Hurst’s fantastic GEL conference, and like the Stop Stealing Dreams talk, I have only given it once.

It’s hard to describe the mix of fear and thrill that happens when they’re recording a practiced talk that’s brand new to the world…

sometimes it doesn’t work, but in this case, the audience really came through for me–and yes, the audience matters.

I’m not crazy about my haberdashery choices here, but that’s what happens when you’re busy focusing on something else.

My most popular TED talk is the first one I gave, in Monterey, before TED videos were a thing, when the audience was much smaller and I had no idea I’d be on camera (In Chris’s book, Barry Schwartz remembers doing his talk in a t-shirt and shorts. Yes, it turns out that revolution is being televised).

This is a marketing talk for an audience that actively resisted the idea of marketing, and it was very early in my career as a speaker. I think many of the ideas hold up well here, and I won’t make any apologies about it being my first TED…

The best TED attendees are doing work that’s worth sharing, that’s worth talking about.

My mission in this one (and the next) was to talk directly to the people in the room and say, “look, if it’s worth devoting your life to, and it’s worth changing the world for, perhaps it’s also worth stepping up and saying, ‘here, I made this’ in a way that spreads.”

And my most polished TED talk almost didn’t work.

Walking onstage, I discovered that Herbie Hancock’s piano was sitting right where I was intending to stand. I’m a bit of a wanderer, but hey, it’s Herbie Hancock.

Meanwhile, the big clock is ticking, and there’s not a lot of free time to consider options. A few minutes into the talk, you’ll see that I pull out a light bulb. That bulb was actually a custom made magic trick, a 200 watt bulb that was supposed to light up when I touched it.

There was no reason at all for this to happen, it was totally irrelevant to my talk, but I thought it would be fun, so I found a guy to build it for me. Alas, when I touched it, it didn’t light up. Live theatre!

One thing I’m proud of is that many of these talks, particularly this one, make people uncomfortable. I’m trying to create tension between what’s there and what could be, between what we do and what we could do.

Thanks for watching. Even better, thanks for leading.

Time for you to give your talk. The stage doesn’t matter, the gift does.

The most watched and most highly-rated TED talks at the moment

That is an eye opener: There got to be a difference between frequency of following a talk and how it is ranked by watchers. If you have no idea what is TED Talks (technology-education-and-development) you may first read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/technology-education-and-development-ted-corporation-who-is-chris-anderson/

Maxim posted on June 29, 2011:

Recently the list of most watched TED talks appeared in TED blog.  
  1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 8,660,010 views
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor  stroke of insight (2008): 8,087,935 views
  3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 6,747,410 views
  4. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 6,731,153 views
  5. David Gallo  underwater astonishment (2007): 6,411,705 views
  6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 4,909,505 views
  7. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 3,954,776 views
  8. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 3,664,705 views
  9. Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,592,795 views
  10. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,225,864 views
  11. Blaise Aguera y Arcas runs through the Photosynth demo (2007): 3,007,440 views
  12. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius (2009): 2,978,288 views
  13. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 2,903,993 views
  14. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 2,629,230 views
  15. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 2,616,363 views
  16. Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice (2005): 2,263,065 views
  17. Richard St. John shares 8 secrets of success (2005): 2,252,911 views
  18. Mary Roach on the 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 2,223,822 views
  19. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 2,187,868 views
  20. Chimamanda Adichie shares the danger of a single story (2009): 2,143,763 views

But I decided to take it one step further and create a list of the most highly-rated TED talks.
Which is not hard to do using their Youtube channel statistics. The list of most highly rated TED talks:

  1. Marcin Jakubowski‘s open-sourced blueprints for civilization (2011): 71,943 views
  2. Mike Ebeling‘s invention that unlocked a locked-in artist (2011): 45,480 views
  3. Khan Salman‘s video to reinvent education (2011): 196,153 views
  4. Michael Pawlyn is using nature’s genius in architecture (2011): 63,910 views
  5. Sugata Mitra‘s new experiments in self-teaching (2010): 124,703 views
  6. Paul Nicklen‘s tales of ice-bound wonderland (2011): 19,945 views
  7. Dan Phillipscreative houses from reclaimed stuff (2010): 42,253 views
  8. Eli Pariser beware online “filter bubbles” (2011): 363,394 views
  9. Anders Ynnerman visualizes the medical data explosion (2011): 21,781 views
  10. Fiorenzo Omenetto talks about silk, the ancient material of the future (2011): 15,814 views
  11. William Li asks if we can eat to starve cancer (2010): 86,675 views
  12. Anthony Atala talks about printing a human kidney (2011): 69,525 views
  13. Benjamin Zander‘s classical music with shining eyes (2008): 399,387 views
  14. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 8,660,010 views
  15. Charles Limb on how brain works during musical improvisation (2011): 36,419 views
  16. Jack Horner on building a dinosaur from a chicken (2011): 56,213 views
  17. Bart Weetjens on how he taught rats to sniff out land mines (2010): 27,730 views
  18. Sir Ken Robinson on the learning revolution (2010): 233,000 views

(I don’t know what was the combination and weight given to number of views and the corresponding rating, but these lists are great enough to start listening or reading the talks…

Looks like from the two lists that listeners prefer the hand-on materials delivered by the professional “technicians” rather than the professional holistic talkers. 

This might be due that people are no longer into reading serious stuff and prefer to bypass the trend that grabbed the 90’s with books proffering to preach the right way of going about doing business and life and…)

Technology, Education, & Development (TED) corporation: Who is Chris Anderson?

The weekly British The Observer published a long portrait of Chris Anderson, and described him as global “master of ideas”. Chris is a man of media who is doing his best to becoming a source of real information acceding to the real world”.

Chris has been organizing “TED Talks” since 2001, and disseminated all kinds of topics. The talks are accessible on Internet, and TED is celebrating the visit of 500 million users to its varied talks.

Every year, TEDGlobal invites specialists in many domain of knowledge, with objective of extending “an idea worth disseminating” in less than 18 minutes.

The latest event was held in Edinburgh between 11 to 15 of July. Over 70 speakers took turn on the podium. Chris declared: “I am persuaded that these conferences could have impacts on every one of us, aid us reach a higher level of mental development“.

Chris was born in Pakistan in 1957 and studied in India. His parents were missionaries.

He earned a diploma in philosophy from Oxford and worked for the written press and radio.  Later, Chris created two media groups: Future Publishing and Imagine Media (focusing on mass public electronic advances).

As the enterprises of Chris developed and flourished, he instituted a non-lucrative private foundation “The Sapling Foundation” with goal of discovering “New ways of resolving global problems, taking advantage of media, technology, entrepreneurship, and ideas”.

In 2001,  The Sapling Foundation acquires TED, and Chris quit the world of business to concentrate his energy to TED corporation. The yearly conferences are reserved for the elite classes who can afford high fees, but all the talks are then licensed (for free?) to local entrepreneurs wishing to disseminate the talks in their communities and States.

Chris boast that “Only in TED can we ask critical questions and reply with a variety of approaches and alternatives”.

Many obscure professors and authors managed to get world recognition simply by being selected and chaperoned to speak on TED conferences.  The speakers are trained to give the image of rock stars as they take the podium.

Chris has offered a free video support on Internet and enlarged access to ideas. The next objective is “to constitute a knowledge-base of pedagogic resources that all classrooms in the world may access and use…”

Note 1: I have published many articles on TED speakers. Currently, I was focusing on the speakers in TEDxRamallah and TEDxBeirut. For example, https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/mostly-a-hoax-from-limitation-to-inspiration-slogan-of-tedxbeirut/

Note 2: This article extracted a few information from a piece published in the French weekly Courrier International # 1082


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,442,596 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 784 other followers

%d bloggers like this: