THE MOTTO OF TED - the global set of conferences whose past speakers have included everyone from Bill Clinton, Richard Dawkins and Bill Gates, to designer Philippe Starck, model Aimee Mullins and a telephone book worth of Nobel Prize winners – is “ideas worth spreading”.
TED’s own idea is simple: stand some of the most interesting people in the world before a live audience and give them 18 minutes to deliver the talk of their lives.
In keeping with the theme of ideas worth spreading, here’s our pick of five of the most thought-provoking contributions from TED – some from this year’s European outing, and a couple of old favourites.
Kick your shoes off, sit back – and enjoy.
1. Lewis Pugh on the mind-bending, finger-bursting swim in a lake created from a melted glacier 5,300 metre up Mt Everest: how it almost killed him; and what it taught him about himself, and about climate change.
2. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on a rural childhood; how he started Amazon, and why anyone can be born gifted, it’s choosing what to do with those gifts that’s the real challenge.
3. Sheena Iyengar takes up the theme of choices – and looks at how culture and upbringing influence the choices we make, whether that’s how to take your green tea – or how anxious you are to please your Mum.
4. The buzz of TED 2009 was Pattie Maes’ talk introducing the concept of ‘Sixth Sense’ – technology so cool, it allows users to turn the palm of their hands into a calculator, take photos with their fingers or use their hands as a barcode scanner. Incredible, exciting – and very Minority Report.
5. From 2008, here’s Benjamin Zander on why everyone deep down loves classical music – and there’s really no such thing as being tone deaf. Share Tweet
A “VIRTUAL HUMAN” has been shown off at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Global conference in Oxford.
Microsoft has developed the technology, which features the “virtual human” – a boy called Milo – who interacts with other people through a screen. Milo reacts to the other person’s emotions, movements, and tone of voice.
In a demo featured on the BBC’s website, Milo interacts with a woman called Claire. As they speak, it becomes clear that Milo recognises Claire and can interpret her voice to identify what emotion she is feeling.
Peter Molyneux, Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios in Europe, is responsible for developing the technology.
He explained that he wanted to create an interactive experience where the character someone was talking to seemed alive, “that would look (you) in the eyes and feel real”.
Milo was first unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles 2009 but has not been seen since. Molyneux said that the technology was designed to interact in such a sensitive way that people believe Milo is real.
The game is designed for use with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 motion controller, Kinect.
The TED conference is running from 13 – 16 July and features speakers and performers with “ideas worth spreading.”
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