Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A TED India link worth sharing
















In less than 36 hours, an international clique of 40 boffins, raconteurs, artists, and technocrats will assemble at the Infosys campus in Mysore to give an 18 minute talk which for many, will be the speech of their life.

The format tries its best to be some kind of a band-aid for a generation of Twitter-addled fragmented minds, and has it’s own Ten Commandments, asking of its speakers not to trot out the usual marketing schtick -- no sales pitches or selling from the stage, but to dream a great dream, and dazzle the audience with something never seen or shared before.

The event, known as TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) was popular around in the Silicon Valley circles for two over decades, but it wasn’t until 2006, when it offered talks of the speakers online, free for download with a Creative Commons license, that the brand went viral.

TED’s popularity owes much to the zest and energy of its videos – a combination of rhetorical discourse, laptop-powered techno-wizardry, slides and visualisations, all told with wit and clarity of mind.

TED’s online videos have been streamed over 100 million times, and India, country-wise, polls the second most number of viewers, says the event’s co-founder, Chris Anderson. “The speakers are compelled to think about the most important thing they could say. The format translates well over the Internet, which is far more fragmented in its attention span.”

The most popular videos hosted by the site include the Sixth Sense augumented reality demo by MIT whiz-kid Pranab Mistry, Steven Pinker’s lecture on the myth of violence which argues that we are living in the most peaceful time of our species’ existence, and Hans Rosling’s lecture, told in the style of a TV weatherman that narrates how the whole of humanity, third world included, is getting more educated, rising out of poverty, and seeing greater life expectancy.

This does not imply that TED looks only at the bright side of life. TED Talks have had a few fairly animated speakers who have criticised the suburban sprawl (the speaker calls it the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world), the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (how seas of drifting plastic eventually form small islands the Pacific ocean), and industrialised food (in which the speaker examines the nexus between government subsidies to the agro industry and the resulting drop crop diversity in Western diets.)

The event will also showcase the work of 103 TED Fellows, visionaries born or working in South Asia. TEDIndia Fellows are, according to Web site, “A diverse group of men and women... Engineers, environmental scientists and pollution experts, human-rights activists, musicians, athletes and filmmakers.”

Still with me? Here’s the link worth sharing then.

You can see speakers live from TED India event at http://ted.indiatimes.com/
You will be able to see opening and closing sessions, of TED India, to be held at the Infosys campus in Mysore on November 5'th and 7'th.

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