Back in February I really enjoyed reading Wil Shipley’s blog posts describing his attendance at the TED conference, held in Monterey, CA. The conference brings together an amazing cross section of people, including actors, politicians, musicians and geeks. The thing that unites them all is ideas. To get some idea of what went on at the conference, Wil gives a good idea of the diversity in his postings.
However, until now, you couldn’t really get an idea of what the speakers were like. I say until now, because TED themselves have now posted videos and audio recordings of some of the major speakers online, with more to come. Even better, the videos and audio recordings are all released under a Creative Commons licence allowing them to be freely distributed.
The first of the videos is Al Gore, the man who in his own words â€œused to be the next President of the United States of Americaâ€?. Here he is talking about Global Warming. It is worth mentioning that this was his second presentation at the conference. His first is effectively what was used as the basis for his movie An Inconvenient Truth, which received a limited release last month. The video that TED includes of Gore lasts only just over fifteen minutes, and is well worth a look if you are at all concerned about Global Warming. However, watching Gore on stage it is hard not to compare him with the man he beat in the popular vote, but ultimately handed the presidency to six years ago, and wonder how things might be different…
Anyway, back to TED. Also amongst the other speakers represented in the video, and again showing the breadth of topics and speakers is David Pogue, who is best known on this side of the pond as the writer of a number of books in the ‘…for Dummies’ and ‘Missing Manuals’ series, on keeping things simple. He opens his presentation singing a reworking of ‘The Sound of Silence’ about being on hold for tech support, and includes songs about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – anyone would think he started out as an accompanist! 😀 Great stuff. (More of his songs can be found on his website.)
It’s not just Americans. There is also a talk by a person you may not have heard of, Sir Ken Robinson, currently a senior advisor to the J Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. Previously voted Business Speaker of the Year, his talk is a very entertaining discussion on the public education system, particularly the way in which, since it’s birth, creative subjects are pushed aside in favour of academic subjects, leading to the cultural definition of inteligence as being academically gifted, pushing aside those whose gifts are elsewhere. Here he argues for the benefits of encouraging creative ideas in young people.
There is definitely something for everybody amongst the current selection, and a new talk promised each week. You can subscribe for free through a variety of methods including e-mail, and even through iTunes. I’d certainly recommend taking a look for some interesting, and in some cases pretty challenging stuff.