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What Tech Should Be Seen At TED?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the worth-spreading dept.

Technology 216

J0sh writes "I've been lucky enough to be asked to do tech spotting for the TED conference, one of the biggest and most exclusive technology, entertainment, and design conferences in the US. Many of the folks there are superstars in their field (like Craig Venter and Stephen Hawking), and most of them have the opportunity to take action on the technology that they see there. The problem is that I'm only one guy trying to find the most mind-blowing technology on the planet in order to inform the few people who can make an immediate impact with it. I figured if there's one place to find those kinds of advances, it's here. What unknown tech is about to completely change the world that these people need to know about? Let me know."

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216 comments

TED (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178369)

Tech's Evangelist Dicks

Your Stupid Life Isn't Worth The Frontpage (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178375)

"I'm looking to upgrade my..."
"I'm in the market for..."
"I going to be going to..."

None of these crap stories deserve to be on the front page of Slashdot.

Stuff That Matters. Your sad little life doesn't matter.

www.google.com

And stay the fuck off the front page.

Re:Your Stupid Life Isn't Worth The Frontpage (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178389)

MoTD seems to apply to you...
You will be reincarnated as a toad; and you will be much happier.

Word-changing tech (3, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178391)

What unknown tech is about to completely change the world that these people need to know about?

You came to slashdot to ask that?

Be fair. (3, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178525)

I'd rather they ask Slashdot than Microsoft, Google or Yahoo. However, it would probably be just as useful to ask on I Can Has Cheezburger or Cute Overload. (OMG, Ponies!!!)

Re:Be fair. (2, Funny)

zobier (585066) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179117)

I'd rather they ask Slashdot than Microsoft, Google or Yahoo. However, it would probably be just as useful to ask on I Can Has Cheezburger or Cute Overload. (OMG, Ponies!!!)

Ponies, definitely ponies.

Robotic ponies.

Low tech == High tech (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178551)

Things that are going to change the world I think don't need to be super high tech or invented 5 years ago. Personally I predict that it will be the mundane tech deployed in just the right places is what will change the world in the next few decades. Things like commodity telecommunications to the other 90% of the planet who currently don't own a PC (OLPC I feel lacks the velocity and momentum to make a difference, but is on the right trajectory) and recycled cellphones sent to Kenya and Uganda to provide affordable communication capacity for populations there. Projects like this are the cutting edge of this millennium.

We as humans have invented everything that we need to make this world a wonderful place to live, we just need to learn how to distribute it fairly and use it sustainably.

Not that I think there is no place for research into new pharmaceuticals and microchips and superconductors etc, but they will bring, at this stage in our history, incremental gains to welfare, and only for the rich. The giant leaps of living standards now will be made by advances in our capacity to deal equitably with each other.

Re:Low tech == High tech (4, Interesting)

shomon2 (71232) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178991)

Yup - it's the small, simple and readily available things that count, a few ideas:

* The rollable water container - a round thing that you can roll over to get water with, rather than carrying it on your back/arms/head
* The little heater with an AA rechargeable battery in it for the fan, that you recharge at the local solar panel
* The huge and incredible mobile phone informal/illegal repair subculture in developing countries - such as putting 2 simms in the same mobile with a simple switch mechanism.
* The pot with sand in it, and a smaller pot inside, that uses the physical properties of wet sand to create a refrigeration system for fruit and other perishables at markets
* The solar furnace - a curved mirror or reflective sheet with a black pot in the middle.
* The indian project to use harvested stomach bacteria to process recycled food into gas for cooking.

Loads of this stuff is happening and IT teams are out in the craziest places doing incredible things - these examples above are old, and I could dig out links if needed, but there's 10000 other projects that TED could highlight, even if you just want to talk about software: as well as the IT needed to create information infrastructures around completely non-IT stuff - like (this is more of a developed world example) the simple discussion boards and mailing lists used to power next generation barter/free/exchange systems like freecycle, freeconomy, feral trade and various post-LETS barter systems that are now taking off now that the administrative time-suck has been dealt with. Next step I think, will be project management systems that are just as simple and low-tech, so you can organise say a milk round around it.

Re:Low tech == High tech (1, Insightful)

emilper (826945) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179681)

Instead of reinventing charcoal and charity and niceness and pink unicorns, how about giving those "poor third world people" a chance and removing the trade barriers that keep them poor and allow you to import only what you want to import, and to export whatever they can afford to buy ?

I find TED nauseous and fake: it peddles "appropriate" technology that only a junior-high-school-dropout housewife would find interesting.

"The little heater with an AA rechargeable battery in it for the fan, that you recharge at the local solar panel" -- for God's sake, do you know how many times the income of the people that are the target of this shit do those solar panels cost ?

How about dropping farm subsidies and giving them a chance to sell their food ?

Re:Low tech == High tech (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179175)

We as humans have invented everything that we need to make this world a wonderful place to live, we just need to learn how to distribute it fairly and use it sustainably.

Except maybe for cheap, efficient solar cells. And a cure for HIV.

Re:Low tech == High tech (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179439)

Except for that tech just around the corner that will be obvious in hindsight, but blindside everybody when it shows up, and make the world better

Re:Low tech == High tech (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179441)

I have a cure for HIV: don't be a fag.

Re:Low tech == High tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179725)

-1 Uninformed.

Many people are living with HIV as a result of intravenous drug use (their own fault), blood transfusions that were infected (this danger is known, so they are again responsible), their parents having contracted the virus prior to birth (blame the parents) and unprotected heterosexual sex (definitely their fault) -- not just unprotected homosexual sex (though this has shown to be the behavior with the most chance of communicating the disease).

Re:Low tech == High tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179461)

And of course, what the poster really wants, the "Do your job for you-o-matic"; new from Ronco.

Re:Low tech == High tech (2, Informative)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179481)

incremental gains to welfare, and only for the rich.

Things that are "only for the rich" invariably trickle down to us "poor folk". I am more than happy to have rich people around overpaying for cellphones, electric cars, plasma TVs, life-extending medicines, etc., funding the research to develop better, cheaper replacements that can then become available to the masses (i.e. me).

Re:Low tech == High tech (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179513)

You are not poor. If you have a PC with broadband, you are richer than approximately 90% of the planet. Malaria tablets are under $1 each, yet *millions* die every year because they can't afford it. I'm not seeing much trickling down over there, I lament to say.

Re:Low tech = High tech or MID TECH (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179693)

I think Mid-Tech items will lead to transformations, where the scientific & engineering leaps get commercialized without consumers being aware of the technology...unless they watch TED, read Slashdot and scientific and engineering journals.

Small & micro sensors and imagers integrated into new devices in unique ways & often operating wirelessly and autonomously use "HIGH TECH" but are easy to miss. They put an incredible amount of knowledge on top of the micro-sized sensing, letting even common devices do what would be almost unthinkable 10 years back.

As noted above, "Not that I think there is no place for research into new pharmaceuticals and microchips and superconductors etc, but they will bring, at this stage in our history, incremental gains to welfare, and only for the rich.", I think history has shown that technology has increased the birth rate in the world dramatically, along with the lifespan of people in almost all countries. Whether that is "good" or not depends on how you define "good".

Birth rate leads to other "problems" though, until better food production is developed, & then the final issue when countries can't figure out what to do with unemployed youth that begin to dominate their country. That occurs when about 40% of the population of Iran is 15-29, and unemployment of men is very high because those countries can't generate jobs fast enough. Unemployed youth in underdeveloped countries = war and insurrection.

Right now European & Japanese cultures are committing self-genocide with birth rates that have collapsed. Population bulges of youth in Africa & the Mid-East are "an issue".

Maybe the biggest technology surprise will be whatever allows developing countries to put their underemployed youth to work productively? But then maybe that just leads to, well, another population boom of larger proportions. Then again, they could become wealthier and drop their birth rate like "modern westernized" countries.

Re:Low tech = High tech or MID TECH (2, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 5 years ago | (#24180267)

Educate and empower the women. Most women don't want to have 8 or more kids, and wouldn't if they weren't being forcefully kept "barefoot and pregnant".

Most of the human brainpower on the planet is wasted. Advances that change that will have more profound effects than anything else. Could be anything from education for all and stopping brain-stunting malnourishment to miracle drugs that make people smarter (smart pills?), and curb addictive behavior including compulsions to watch too much TV or play too much WoW.

Re: Word-changing tech (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178629)

You came to slashdot to ask that?

Honestly. If it's truly "mind-blowing" and revolutionary, then how exactly is your average Slashdotter going to have heard of it? I mean, have you read the comments on any science article recently? What about that impressed you with the idea that people here are a good source of scientific insight?

Paradox Generator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178397)

What unknown tech is about to completely change the world that these people need to know about?

Um... if someone knew, it wouldn't be unknown.
 

Fixing the Digital Copyright Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178407)

This startup: https://www.liberateip.com/

Fix the TED video player (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178409)

Other than Google Video and Youtube, the TED talks have one of the best video players on the web.. except that you can't full screen the video for some reason. I can't understand why you might not have thought this was a useful feature at the time when TED talks were first being put on the web, but surely you use Youtube and have noticed the utility of full screen playback.. add the feature.. I'm sure it's one line of code.

All the videos have a "download" option... (3, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178621)

If a talk is worth watching fullscreen I usually download it.

PS: You can make the ted window quite big by clicking the arrow thingy in the top-right corner.

Re:Fix the TED video player (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179535)

Ugh, fullscreening you tube sucks. Every time I do it, I end up with a larger picture, but ony now it's updating at half the speed and the image tears accross the screen. No thanks, I'd much rather watc a better quality, smoother copy even if it is smaller on the screen.

For this reason I never full screen stuff ike his, youd think they could get hardware accel working, or even some efficiency, i've got a 2.2 Ghz C2D here, and it cant play back a youtube full screen.

Re:Fix the TED video player (2, Informative)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179867)

Try watching them with Miro [getmiro.com]. Fullscreen functionality, saved to your computer in high definition, automatic downloads of the latest episodes, and yeah, fullscreen downloads. Search for TED in the Miro guide after installing and add the channel. Watching TED talks is one of the things that got me interested in Miro development :)

(The UI is nice but sometimes feels a little slow and clunky... that's being totaly overhauled for the next release.)

Both Biggest and Most Exclusive? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178413)

It is unlikely to be both the biggest, and the most exclusive, unless it is the only one. Which it may be, since how many conferences are there that focus on Technology and Entertainment, and Design.

Re:Both Biggest and Most Exclusive? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178773)

It is exclusive as in the people who attend/give speeches.

Biggest as in it probably covers the widest range of topics.

Re:Both Biggest and Most Exclusive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178981)

You are right. I am holding the most exclusive Technology, Entertainment, and Design conference.

And no, you can't come.

The Electric Sheep and their Dreams in High Fideli (1)

spot (3593) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178437)

Open source art that has been curated onto MoMA.org and was chosen as the graphical identity for the whole siggraph conference this year:

Dreams in High Fidelity [hifidreams.com]

as recently featured on makezine [makezine.com].

might not change the world (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178439)

Mod It Up ! (1)

meatplow (184288) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178647)

If I had my mod points I mod this up.

That technology is amazing! and seems almost trivial at the same time. With the results that were posted, I would predict that this would enter mainstreem usage asap.
I don't know if this is what they are looking for at this kind of "Conference".


Wow!

Meatplow
http://www.meatplow.com/ [meatplow.com]

Re:might not change the world (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179751)

I dunno. Those sort of things immediately jump to mind as "whatcouldpossiblygowrong"

It sounds a whole lot like those experiments that the Navy did to attempt to increase the efficiency of sub crews by "fine-tuning" their sleep patterns. It worked great for about two weeks, and afterward, the crews went raving mad (but thankfully recovered eventually).

Pushing the limits of human endurance for non-lifesaving purposes seems like awfully risky business to me. It's no surprise that DARPA stayed well away from it for so long.

breasts? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178447)

missing option!

Owner Free Filesystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178487)

There was an article on [url="http://offsystem.sourceforge.net/"]this[/url] not too long ago right here on Slashdot, and it could quite possibly be the biggest innovation to file sharing and distribution since BitTorrent.

Re:Owner Free Filesystem (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178557)

There was an article on [url="http://offsystem.sourceforge.net/"]this[/url] not too long ago right here on Slashdot, and it could quite possibly be the biggest innovation to file sharing and distribution since BitTorrent.

You probably shouldn't take technology advice from a person who uses BBCode on Slashdot.
 

Re:Owner Free Filesystem (1)

kriss (4837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178831)

OFF is an interesting concept. At the same time, it feels like their legal reasoning is braindead and their underlying transport is.. shall we say less efficient than it could be. Would be extremely surprised to see it gain traction in any meaningful manner.

Pose your question in different languages.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178499)

You express being alone in finding the most mind blowing tech on the planet. By posting your question on an English language site you still lack the eyes of the largest part of the world population, in locations at least as active in technology as the regions where English is commonly spoken. Often the technology we use in the West has been out for quite a while in the Far East.

Would it help your cause to translate this question into for example Mandarin, Japanese and Indian in order to post it on /. alike sites in the far east? Possibly also Taiwanese? Do the folks on /. maybe know of the /. counterpart for people speaking other languages?

bring back comdex (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178509)

Forget about TED. I want someone to bring back Comdex. That used to be the ultimate new technology show. Maybe one day we'll have shows about trade shows of the future.

frightening (4, Interesting)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178521)

A venue with the kind of visibility and recognition as TED shouldn't send out "spotters" who need to ask Slashdot, it should follow some established protocols for finding and evaluating work. And I think the haphazard selection processs is reflected in the quality of the program.

Re:frightening (5, Insightful)

Another, completely (812244) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178721)

Given the quality of TED conferences, it's not a criticism to say the quality of the process is reflected in the program. The strength of TED is that it shows a broad cross-section of what's out there, rather than the more usual scheme of presenting and reinforcing the interests and prejudices of some clique of "experts" who think they know the subject well enough that they don't need to ask the community at large.

It's not about having too limited an understanding to come up with something to say; it's about being willing to consider that somebody else in the world (outside your usual group of contacts) might have a good idea that's worth hearing -- and then sharing.

Re:frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178845)

rather than the more usual scheme of presenting and reinforcing the interests and prejudices of some clique of "experts" who think they know the subject well enough that they don't need to ask the community at large. ... It's not about having too limited an understanding to come up with something to say; it's about being willing to consider that somebody else in the world (outside your usual group of contacts) might have a good idea that's worth hearing -- and then sharing.

How does a bunch of people running around looking for "hot topics" reflect "being willing" to consider viewpoints outside one's "usual" group?

If they wanted to be open, they'd allow submissions and do anonymous reviewing.

The current procedure just gives more exposure to people who already receive "valley buzz"; it's the epitome of a "good old boy's network", except that the boys aren't old.

Re:frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178741)

One could argue that having a broader selection helps choose the truly best at the time. Besides that, if I was in a similar position I would trust slashdot for recommendations more than marketing pamphlets.

Re:frightening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178877)

Following estabilished protocols is what keeps us down by being over conservatory and politicized

Please try and remember that almost every revolutionary idea was unpopular with the peer review system at their time.

Re:frightening (2, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24180297)

Please try and remember that almost every revolutionary idea was unpopular with the peer review system at their time.

Yes, and that is the problem with TED: in addition to using a peer review system, it uses pre-selection by scouts, non-anonymized reviewing, and it seems to go for celebrity factor. How much more exposure do Clinton, Bono, Gell-Mann, Brin, Page, or Wales need?

With a regular conference, at least everybody can submit and the review processes attempt to be fair and impartial. Reviewers still screw up, but at least there's a chance that something innovative and interesting comes through. With TED, just look at the result: it's the usual, media-savvy suspects.

Re:frightening (1)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179643)

Does any one have any idea of the split between innovations that came from "progressive development" versus "eureka moments"? I am genuinely interested if any one has analysed this because I always get the feeling that the really mould-breaking steps forward come from a single bright idea or accident, rather than by diligent work over long periods.

For example most new drugs are created via formalised, long, diligent process. We need this but it seems to me that no single drug in a long time has had earth-shattering consequences - may be since penecilin - which was a eureka! type thing.

The point being that searching out new innovations pretty much seems to fail to get the real big ones (the web, relativity, penecilin ...). And I guess that the big innovations are big because they came from no-where. If they took 20-30 years to evolve then they would not be a step change.

So are there any stats about the percentage of innovations that are from lone workers as opposed to those that come from established researchers with marketing budgets and access to conferences, etc.

technology? (1)

transiit (33489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178605)

Perhaps you could tell them about this thing called the "internet" which seems to appreciate more data, faster. You know, rather than "exclusive" or "let's post a video a week arbitrarily out of our archive".

Don't get me wrong, I've seen a quite a few of the videos hosted by TED (because new ideas are only worth spreading if they've got a sponsor such as BMW), but seriously, for the rest of us, that might not be able to afford the cost of entry, how about you share the idea of "ideas worth sharing" to an audience ready to hear just a bit more?

Reiser should go to TED (0, Flamebait)

mynickwastaken (690966) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178639)

> What unknown tech is about to completely change the world that these people need to know about? Reiser is the guy who did the file system which kills your wife. Was on Wikipedia, so it must be true!

Coal Liquefaction (4, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178657)

If one technology could really change the world, it would be coal liquefaction. It's an 80 year old, proven, technology - that no one has ever heard of.

What is it? It solves the gasoline crunch by converting coal (which is crazy abundant, especially in America) into gasoline. It throws off energy as a byproduct (which helps solve our energy grid needs) as well as CO2 -- which sounds bad, but can be trapped easily since it is in a closed loop.

Cleanly converting coal to gas is more expensive than the normal FT process, but still produces gas at around the $2 a gallon level, which would be enough to kickstart our economy, rescue the airlines, save energy costs for poor people (as much wealthy environmentalists hate to admit it, poor people are the ones that get fucked by sky-high gas and energy costs), and produce CO2, which is needed for, aha!, Craig Venter's latest pet project, which involves custom bacteria that consume large amounts of C02, and which he's publicly stated he needs a large supply thereof.

Best of all, it's a mature technology. It was used to power the entire Nazi war machine in WWII, and South Africans under apartheid. Not because evil countries have an affinity for it, but because they were cut off from the world's oil supplies.

And yet when Coal Liquefaction was debated in congress, retarded children like our very own Senator Feinstein claimed that it was an immature technology, and voted it down.

Re:Coal Liquefaction (2)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178817)

?! Amm ... well ... that is kinda stupid. It is well known. We will not run out of fuel for a while. Don't worry about the tabloids. You can also get oil from tar sands by running steam through. The problem with both solutions is that heaps of energy is needed. The Germans got a two for one deal. 2 liters of coal dust give you one liter of fuel. Problem is that the other liter goes up on smoke .. I mean CO2. Now CO2 is a three for one deal. For every KG of coal you burn, you end up with 3 kg of CO2 ... kind of a bummer. (Oh there is fly ash, but hey that's toxic now but we can shove that in your back yard ... cool ?)

As for the tar sands, the steam needs energy. The energy will come from ... probably nuclear.

The energy solution you want is nuclear. No emissions. Creates no real pollution.You are pretty much left with less than you started. (If you don't count the irradiated walls and bits)

G

Re:Coal Liquefaction (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179021)

>>Problem is that the other liter goes up on smoke .. I mean CO2.

Which I talked about. There's actually a demand for high percentage CO2 air.

>>The energy solution you want is nuclear. No emissions.

Absolutely. For the power grid.

But nuclear has nothing to do with gas prices, except indirectly, as it will free up more coal to be converted into gasoline.

Re:Coal Liquefaction (2, Insightful)

WingedHorse (1308431) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179263)

Why should gasoline be used? As far as I see, electric cars can do the trick. I'm not saying that today but really, we are looking for what to do within the upcoming years and I see electiricity (and thus nuclear) based cars as feasible solution as liquified coal.

Also I find it interesting what americans think of the gas prices. "Oh no, 4 dollars! Our economy might collapse!". Well, know what? It's 2.5 times as much here in Finland (and most of Europe at that) without economy having collapsed. So could someone who panics about those things explain what's all the fuss about?

Why oil price increase equals economic trouble (3, Interesting)

FeatureBug (158235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24180301)

Oil is a fundamental commodity in economic terms because changes in its price cause changes, with different time lags, in the prices of all other goods and services. An increasing oil price causes inflation. A severe increase causes severe inflation. It's the price increase, not the absolute price, that's important.

The oil price has more than doubled in the last year, and quadrupled in the last three years. There has never before been such an extreme, sustained increase in the oil price. This will cause severe inflation, and the economic consequences will be severe.

This is what's causing all the fuss. The economies of the world are in the early stages of heading into a very severe inflationary recession. Some people go further and anticipate economic collapse, others fear something similar to The Great Depression [wikipedia.org]. The technical term for it is stagflation [wikipedia.org]. Investors look for ways out of trouble, but the consensus is that there is no easy way out of this one. Some investors have therefore panicked. Panic is dangerous because it fuels itself, making the panic worse.

You are not going to see the same impact in Finland because Finland has much higher fuel taxes than in the USA, so the price increase of retail fuels has been much smaller in Finland than in the USA. But recession in the USA, which is the world's largest economy, will be felt in other countries, including Finland.

Re:Coal Liquefaction (-1, Flamebait)

nickname29 (1240104) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178871)

You are right in that coal liquefication (CTL) is a viable technology. Gas to liquid fuels (GTL) is however more viable than CTL. Sasol (the âoeevilâ South African company) built a fairly large GTL plant in Qatar (in association with Chevron). It is interesting to note that the price of coal have also risen significantly in the past few years.

Best of all, it's a mature technology. It was used to power the entire Nazi war machine in WWII, and South Africans under apartheid. Not because evil countries have an affinity for it, but because they were cut off from the world's oil supplies.

Love it how you simplify complex geopolitical situations into evil and not evil. I bet that you can add the USA to the front of that list (at least 3rd behind USSR) of yours if we include body count, foreign governments overthrown, foreign invasions (e.g. Iraq if you forgot) or torture. Now you only need a CTL plant!

Re:Coal Liquefaction (2, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179033)

>>Sasol (the âoeevilâ South African company) built a fairly large GTL plant in Qatar (in association with Chevron).

I never said Sasol was evil. In fact, my father (an ordinary man, not a bigwig) has talked with them several times about the cost of building their plants, how much gasoline would cost per barrel coming out of it, etc.

>>Love it how you simplify complex geopolitical situations into evil and not evil.

You must be new here.

And yeah, it's not especially surprising, since I don't want to end up writing a bloody dissertation about everything from the Siege of Stalingrad (which was about Nazi oil) to institutionalized racism and the reactionary riots in South Africa which were quite monstrous for their part. It's Slashdot. People just skip the large posts anyway.

Re:Coal Liquefaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179123)

People just skip the large posts anyway.

He just kept talking in one long incredibly unbroken sentence moving from topic to topic so that no one could interrupt him it was really quite hypnotic

Re:Coal Liquefaction (1)

nickname29 (1240104) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179339)

and the reactionary riots in South Africa which were quite monstrous for their part.

It was not really that large. One of the largest riots in which people was killed was the Sharpeville riots. In this (when some 20 young policemen with no riot training fucked up hugely), 69 people died. In modern day South Africa over 40 people are killed daily because of crime related violence. In the recent Xenophobic attacks on foreigners more than that died and a greater number of people where displaced.

Between March 2003 and August 2007, 350 people died daily (average) in Iraq. If you compare this to the numbers above you will see that it is a bit larger â" and this occurred each and every day. This also occurred in a population that is only 65% as large as South Africaâ(TM)s.

Also bear in mind that your incarceration rate for black people in the US today is 6 times higher than that of black people in South Africa during racial segregation. Why do you imprison generations of black people?

since I don't want to end up writing a bloody dissertation about everything from the Siege of Stalingrad (which was about Nazi oil)

Fair enough â" but then donâ(TM)t make grossly incorrect statements. At least preface such statements with I know we âMericans are the prime evil force in the world. And I know it would be wrong for me to judge less evil countries, but here it goesâ¦

Re:Coal Liquefaction (2, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179837)

I think America, taken on the whole, is quite a lot less evil than the Nazis and the South African regime. Now if you want to talk individuals... feel free.

Re:Coal Liquefaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179375)

Mr. Feinstein's pockets are too well lined with green from the oil companies to turn his back on them.

He may also have something embarrassing that could leak out if he doesn't vote the right way.

Just sayin'

Next Generation Artificial Neural Networks (4, Informative)

Potatomasher (798018) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178787)

There have been many breakthroughs in neural networks recently, which allow us to train "deep architectures" (with many hidden layers). This was not feasible with traditional backpropagation. This work by Hinton/LeCun/Bengio has led to a resurgence in the field of ANNs, with some experts now believing general AI to be attainable within the next decade.

Anyone interested should have a look at Geoff Hinton's Google Tech talk [youtube.com] on the matter. A very interesting talk for anyone in machine learning. He does a way better job of explaining it then I could. Fast forward to 21:30 for the live demo.

Re:Next Generation Artificial Neural Networks (2, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179019)

The problem with backprop is that its a gradient descent method. That works, but its not really likely to produce the best results.

More and more researchers are turning to evolutionary computation for neural network training. It's interesting, but its a convergence of known techniques which are both well understood by the scientific community.

As interesting as it is, it's not new. People have been doing it for almost ten years now.

Re:Next Generation Artificial Neural Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24180219)

Anyone interested should have a look at Geoff Hinton's Google Tech talk [youtube.com] on the matter. A very interesting talk for anyone in machine learning. He does a way better job of explaining it then I could. Fast forward to 21:30 for the live demo.

Seconded. That is absolutely fascinating stuff and looks like it could have real world applications in not too long time at all.

Two inventions spring to mind. (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178825)

First, the inflatable satellite dish. [gatr.com] Second, the six stroke engine. [wikipedia.org]

-jcr

Re:Two inventions spring to mind. (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179917)

Heh. And just the other day, I was thinking about 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines, and it hit me that there were probably a lot of other possibilities that could yield worthwhile results. Thanks for the link!

MEMs (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178829)

They are becoming cheap, and are being put everywhere.

I think it's worth imagining amazing things with these toys

G

Oh, the usual (3, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178841)

You know, like, cold fusion, quantum computers, immersive VR. Stuff like that. I read somewhere all that and more is coming in the next five to twenty years. Oh, and that 110 MPG Mustang that goes from 0-60 MPH in 3 seconds flat. Should be a crowd pleaser.

Missing the point in rarified air. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24178873)

My opinion, based on the skyrocketing ticket cost and viewing conference videos:

The problem with past TED conferences is that the attendees - and the speakers - simply believe that they are better than 99.999% of the human population.

They are the *thinkers*, the *titans of industry*. But they don't *do* anything. They just talk about it and make big, feel-good hand-waving gestures about their patented, locked-up ideas.

I'd like to see this corrected. Either through picking presentations that are somewhat realistic - or using the presentations as a focal point to bring the right people together to get these ideas moving.

Re:Missing the point in rarified air. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178947)

the attendees - and the speakers - simply believe that they are better than 99.999% of the human population.

Oh, you're a mind reader, I take it? You're on very thin ice when you presume to state what anyone else believes.

But they don't *do* anything.

I beg to differ. Just off the top of my head, James Watson has been a speaker there, and I'd say that discovering the double helical structure of DNA definitely qualifies as "doing something".

-jcr

Total information freedom (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 5 years ago | (#24178943)

802.11s or like wireless, software radio, and maybe unlicensed (and uncontrollable) whitespace radio use. Something a lot like OLPC's mesh.

Combine that with good open portable machine, handheld-sized.

Make cheap and distribute.

Route around damage by censors in the most fundamental way, by routing around the physical structure of the internet.

Repressive regimes lose all control of information, and as a bonus, ISPs, telco backbones, and hosting companies become obsolete! Whee!

Could be a long way off... But it's the stuff of my dreams. I'd put a sticker that says "This machine kills fascists" on mine.

GNU/Linux (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179015)

2008, the year of the Linux desktop

So it befalls to me (4, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179043)

Let's get it out of the way:

I'd like to see a beowulf cluster of Linux servers running Duke Nukem Forever on virtualised copies of Vista, whilst at the same time running a grid/distributed computing program that's testing proteins for possible AIDs/MRSA cures in spare GPU cycles - the whole lot powered by solar cells using a revolutionary optical coating, with the standby generator powered by algae-derived biofuel. The whole system to be owned by the former Soviet Union and housed in a hybrid solar/hydrogen-powered car, driven by Natalie Portman, with room in the back for three Senior citizens from North Korea to sit confortably while playing aforementioned game.

Oh, and the whole lot has to be available 'within the next 5 years' - as confirmed by NetCraft.

I'm sure I've missed something - help me out here guys.

Re:So it befalls to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179369)

Let's get it out of the way:

I'd like to see a beowulf cluster of Linux servers running Duke Nukem Forever on virtualised copies of Vista, whilst at the same time running a grid/distributed computing program that's testing proteins for possible AIDs/MRSA cures in spare GPU cycles - the whole lot powered by solar cells using a revolutionary optical coating, with the standby generator powered by algae-derived biofuel. The whole system to be owned by the former Soviet Union and housed in a hybrid solar/hydrogen-powered car, driven by Natalie Portman, with room in the back for three Senior citizens from North Korea to sit confortably while playing aforementioned game.

Oh, and the whole lot has to be available 'within the next 5 years' - as confirmed by NetCraft.

I'm sure I've missed something - help me out here guys.

Vista EULA denies using it as a virtualized OS unless you pay for ultimate version. (I'm not even kidding.)

Re:So it befalls to me (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179587)

beowulf cluster of Linux servers running Duke Nukem Forever on virtualised copies of Vista, whilst at the same time running a grid/distributed computing program that's testing proteins for possible AIDs/MRSA cures in spare GPU cycles

Dude, you wouldn't have spare cycles if you were running vista directly on the hardware, much less if it were virtualized.

Tell speakers to make shorter introductions. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179159)

Many TED talks start with a 10 minute introduction before they get to the point. This means that I have to watch for 10 minutes before I discover its the talk is really worth watching. This format works well for a conference where people cannot leave the room, but it doesn't work well on internets sites like Youtube where people have a fairly short attention span.

I personally find that around half of the TED-talks are worth watching, so it is a big investment for me to spend 10 minutes before I get to hear what the talk is about. I think you would get more internet attention if you advised speakers to keep their introductions shorter.
 

Re:Tell speakers to make shorter introductions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179759)

Maybe TED targets an audience that doesn't suffer from ADD.

Re:Tell speakers to make shorter introductions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24180385)

Hehe, but then again the slashdot audience does.

Impact on the evolution of mankind (1)

ixiWildflowerixi (1313267) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179193)

What I'd like to see is if there's any research being done about the effect that all these technological and medical advancements have on humans as a species.

Let's assume mankind will make it another 100 years and fix all social and environmental issues of our time, the next "big thing" will be having to counter the effects introduced by our humanitarian efforts.

Natural selection among humans has completely stopped. In general, this is certainly a good thing.

But it does have a huge downside. Due to our medicine, mankind is becoming more and more prone to illness. Bad eyes, bad ears, bad immune systems... they're no factor anymore and are propagating.

Social nets make it possible that the, let's say, "not so smart" people are breeding exponentially faster than the "smarter" ones. While intelligence isn't solely a "gene-thing" it seems to be suggested that the "potential" is limited by genes.

Technology empowers the less intelligent, the less skillful, the less creative to be just as successful as the rest of the population.

Now, again. I don't want it to appear that I'm against medicine, social behavior or technology... but due to those three evolution seems to be currently working against us and it's admittedly a very scary thought to me.

This whole issue seems to be a big taboo. Most likely due to the terrible and misguided ways that were employed in our past to solve this.

I'd be interested to see if there's research being done on these issues and to get to know if there's anything that can be done to address them.

It's more interesting than it sounds. (3, Interesting)

catwh0re (540371) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179247)

"Entrepreneurial mycologist Paul Stamets seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords. The focus of Stamets' research is the Northwest's native fungal genome, mycelium, but along the way he has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas. There are cosmic implications as well. Stamets believes we could terraform other worlds in our galaxy by sowing a mix of fungal spores and other seeds to create an ecological footprint on a new planet." http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html [ted.com]

Datamining (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179355)

I wasn't really aware of datamining until a lecture not too long ago, given by a handful of enthousiasts and I was sold; just possible implementations and new approuches to the way we approach data is just mindblowing and is just so freaking cool.
The subject seems soo specific yet its implemenation in our large databases becomes more important and relevant.

SQLServer datamining [sqlserverdatamining.com]
Datamining blog [msdn.com]
XMLA [xmlforanalysis.com]

Hydrogen Cars & Nanotubes (1)

DeadlyEmbrace (740321) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179367)

Presently existing home built kits for producing hydrogen gas for car fuel supplements is a good stepping stone to eventual fully water powered cars. See: http://www.hydrogengarage.com/ [hydrogengarage.com] Nanotube technologies have just scratched the surface. Once more cheaply produced these will assist in space exploration; personal protection; harnessing power (wave power) and a large number of other areas where super strong, light materials can be leveraged.

Hydrogen On DEMAND vehicles (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179423)

Hydrogen on demand vehicles. Storing hydrogen in tanks is utter crap, the signature of corporate fascism and naysayers.

A HHO hydrogen on demand vehicle would change the world.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179413)

I hear somewhere a conference is working on a buzzword/B.S. filter that filters out pretentious "superstars" and focuses on real technology produced by mere mortals :)

True artificial intelligence... (2, Insightful)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179659)

This is a MUST SEE TED issue -
Jeff Hawkins - Founder - Numenta

Jeff is the inventor of the Palm & Handspring. He has gone on to start up a phenomenal research company that has figured out how the brain learns, and has adapted it to solve the problem of artificial intelligence. He is close to solving the problem of having computers being able to actually SEE.

From showing a computer a line drawing of a sail boat, the computer can crawl Google images and pick out actual pictures (clip art) and photos of sailboats from any orientation, from the top, side, rear, bottom, just as a human could.

http://snipurl.com/rsa2008 [snipurl.com]

and the answer is .... WATER (2, Interesting)

wamatt (782485) | more than 5 years ago | (#24179845)

Dean Kamen's converting sewage (or absolutely *any* contaminated water) into pure clean water at fraction of the cost has the potential to change the world on a huge scale. Especially Africa.

He has has spoken at TED before. He is a pure legend.

http://gizmodo.com/370698/colbert-first-vid-of-dean-kamens-miracle-water-distiller [gizmodo.com]

OK he invented it a few years ago, but hopefully its ready for rollout.

Tesla Roadster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24179879)

It is going to change the world alright...

How about Haptic Radar (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24180143)

Haptic Radar [slashdot.org] seems like an interesting tech demo for TED. On one hand it could be useful to the visually impaired, on the other, it gives some insight into how people go about perceiving the world.

Biggest AND Most Exclusive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24180189)

Wow, that's the most oxymoronic thing I've heard all year.

Power (1)

orsocio (955882) | more than 5 years ago | (#24180331)

Power isn't a "technology" as such but it is possibly the fundamental property determining who does what in this world. All the TED attendees are people with substantial personal power, and they are in a unique position to appreciate the power relations at play in the world today.

The most interesting thing I heard from Obama's campaign was the "Google for Government" initiative, which allows the public to use search technology to track how tax dollars are spent. Offering this kind of transparency through technology is a great example of cutting-edge use of a not-so-cutting-edge technology, and if implemented well, substantially changes the power relations at play in the US.

I haven't got any ideas of other people doing similar work but if we are serious about steering the planet on it's optimal course we have to give exposure to people who want to use technology to break down long-held power structures. An example is the WITNESS [witness.org] initiative that places camcorders into the hands of people under oppression. TED gave this a platform back in 2006 here [ted.com].

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