Hello, my name is Henrik and I am a TED addict

I’m always looking for fun, educational, productive or otherwise worthwhile things to do on my daily two hour commute to and from work – on the bus and on the subway. My current favorite “waste of time” is watching TED talks.

My second favorite thing right now is to, in a very enthusiastic way, tell my poor colleagues about all the amazing talks I’ve seen. I am something as unusual as an addict that is willing to share my drugs with others. Therefore I’m now telling the whole world, instead of just my colleagues, about what has inspired me lately.

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

This was one of the first TED-talks that really wowed me. Partly because new paradigms in education really interests me since I’ve always have thought – even while attending school myself – that something is seriously wrong in the current way we educate young people.

What’s demonstrated in this talk is how poor illiterate children living in the slums with no access to education in India have fun(!) teaching themselves – and each other! – stuff through a touch screen computer built into a wall of a building.

Truly fascinating!

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Grandmothers in India have been transformed into solar power engineers and experts in this project –  helping their villages to get access to “free” clean energy and thus transforming their lives completely!

This in itself is amazing, but the really fascinating part of this project is how these women teach women from other cultures, speaking other languages how to transform their villages using solar power. All the teaching and sharing of information is done using demonstrations and body language alone.

Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

Here an astounding proposition is made; babies are our – the human species – research and the development department. That’s a quite different view from how most people consider babies, often thinking it’s just a small human which needs constant attention and help to survive.

A very convincing clip of young boy trying figure out how to make a lamp light up shows how he is doing experiments, studying the results and then try a new hypothesis – just like a professional scientist!

Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that

In this fast paced talk we’re given a whirlwind tour of the state of the art of medicine. Incredibly cool technology is demonstrated and it really feels like watching a Star Trek episode.

Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong

If you ever have met one of those persons who always thinks they are right, this talk is really relieving since you finally get a glimpse into their minds and understands why they see the world as they do. Actually it’s those persons who should watch this, but I guess there’s no point since they probably would dismiss this talk as nonsense.

There’s nothing revolutionary in this talk, but it’s still caught my attention.

Sebastian Thrun: Google’s driverless car

Seeing the video footage of the driverless car zooming around on the busy streets of San Francisco is mind blowing. I had no idea that research in this field had gotten this far and it made want to have one of these cars right away. Imagine the sensation of just enjoying the ride instead of trying to stay 100% focused and avoid being bored to death by slow moving traffic.

Also imagine just “ordering” a car when you need it. The geographically closest free car matching your criteria would drive itself to your current location. A driverless taxi service more or less.

The future looks bright for the car.

Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education

This video really got me going. One guy started to make educational YouTube-videos for his younger cousins (I think) to help them understand math, physics, etc. Other people discovered the videos and started to make comments on YouTube. When he got a comment from one person who said that they had fun doing derivative calculus thanks to his videos he understood that he was onto something.

Bill Gates made a comment along the lines of “We’ve seen a glimpse of the future of education” after the talk.

Noreena Hertz: How to use experts

Now this talk is really interesting. Especially to me who love to watch experts giving fascinating TED-talks.

One thing really got me going. Noreena mentioned a case of a doctor missing a tumor on a PET scan image because the referring doctor thought that the patient was suffering from pneumonia. The other doctor’s diagnose affected so much that the doctor could think independently any longer.

What got me going here was, why not apply Linus Law to medicine? Let a lot of people watch different scans, test results, etc. from a patient to see if there is any consensus. Also, instead of discarding the extreme opinions – pay extra attention to them, because they might have seen something the others missed.

So, why not make all this available on the Internet and let anyone who wants participate. I think medical students and other people with a medical interest from all over the world would love to participate!


About Henrik Bergström

Software developer who loves to learn and share knowledge.
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