Throughout history, humans have been absorbed by mastering the challenges of their time. Over the past century, developments have been moving forward in an evermore breathtaking speed. We call it modern technology and it has made things possible that only few people dared to dream about as little as 20 or 50 years ago. So where is the edge of technology at today? What are the things which are possible today and are we still in control of what we started?
Dive into the fascinating world of modern technology with the following five TED Talks.
Mick Ebeling is founder of the Not Impossible Foundation, an organization that strives to make the impossible possible by connecting people and allowing them to unite their special skills to create the unthinkable.
In this talk he shares how he and his team managed to ‘unlock’ the graffiti artist TEMPT, who was paralyzed from head to toe by the nerve disease ALS. TEMPT only had his eyes left to communicate. Mick and his team developed a device called the EyeWriter, which can read eye movements and turn them into different forms of communication, including light graffiti drawings.
The EyeWriter is open source technology available to anyone who needs it. It was named one of the Top 50 inventions of 2010 by Time Magazine. Mick’s take home message is that nothing is impossible, it just takes people to make it possible.
Kevin Slavin is an entrepreneur, provocateur, and raconteur. He co-founded Are/Code, a company that designs games for various platforms, and Starling, a TV co-viewing network.
In this talk from the TEDGlobal held in July 2011, Kevin illuminates the role algorithms play in our world. He explains the complexity of algorithms in environments such as the stock market. He uses several examples to point out how humans have managed to write code, which has led to drastic results that no one truly understands and which subsequently no one can control.
Adam Ostrow is a new media entrepreneur and commentator, better known as editor in-chief of Mashable. Adam sets the stage for his talk with the following statement: “By the end of this year, there’ll be nearly a billion people on this planet that actively use social networking sites. The one thing that all of them have in common is that they are going to die.” He moves on to talk about what happens to our social media presence after we die and how it can be used by those left behind.
If you are interested in this topic, you should have a look at the following articles:
- 4 Online Resources To Prepare For Your Death & Digital Afterlife
- Entrustet Ensures Your Digital Assets Are Smoothly Passed On After You Pass On
- What Happens To Your Email and Social Networking Accounts When You Die?
Sebastian Thrun is a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford Uniersity. In this TED talk he introduces Google’s driverless car, the development of which he has been leading. Thrun showcasts video material demonstrating how a driverless car navigates the traffic in California, including San Francisco’s Lombard Street. In conclusion, he explores how this technology could save many human lives, as well as time spent in traffic during commutes to work.
Mike Matas is a software developer who has designed user interfaces and artwork for Apple. In this video he demonstrates Our Choice, the first full-length interactive book for the iPad and the sequel to Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.
What are the technological developments that fascinate you the most?