Monday, February 15, 2010

TED10 Fri AM: Microsoft and Google

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John Underkoffler

Score: 7 balloons

Fun demo of the hand-gesture UI developed at MIT Media Labs that Tom Cruise used in Minority Report.

Blaise Aguera y Arcas

Score: 8 balloons

Very cool demo of Microsoft technology that synthesizes photos in the public domain, stitching together a navigable, 3D virtual street view product (without having to dispatch trucks everywhere). Watch it for yourself....

Bill Gates
Score: 8 balloons

BIll Gates gave a great talk on the landscape of choices facing us in the energy arena. Since renewables are intermittent, and all the batteries on Earth can store only 10 minutes worth of the world's energy usage, we need to make nuclear power work. Tothat end Gates has funded Terrapower, which aims to make fuel out of Uranium 235, which is far more abundant and safer than enriched Uranium 238.

Sergey Brin

Chris Anderson interviewed Sergey about Google's changing posture toward China (and you can watch it here). Sergey responded openly about the difficulty of figuring out what is right to do as China enforces political censorship. "Some say I'm naive. That may well be true -- I wouldn't have started a search engine company in 1998 if I wasn't." However, Sergey wimpily dodged Chris' question as to whether Google found evidence that China was behind the cyber attack.

Soon after a Googler came on stage to demonstrate the Nexus One, which seemed uncharacteristically commercial for TED, until the end when Chris announced that Sergey brought enough unlocked Nexus Ones for everyone! Really.

Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin
Score: 7 balloons

The co-founders of the Kipps charter schools led what can best be described as a pep rally for educational reform -- low on content and but high on volume and fun.

The Kipps schools target underprivileged neighborhoods, and so far their 82 schools are delivering phenomenal results that have raised the high school and college graduation rates to be on par with national averages.

George Church
Score: 2 balloons

This Harvard biologist touched on many interesting topics, but did so incomprehensibly. He defines life as "replicated complexity" and discussed his work synthesizing molecules that somehow "mirror" organic compounds, but can't interact with the wild. Self-referential?

Gary Lauder

In the best short-format TED Talk so far, Gary Lauder reflects upon how we might organize traffic differently at a time when we care about carbon emissions.

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