Want to experience being inspired, entertained and educated at the Same time? Theres the perfect package on the net— t2 tells you how and why.
Once youve checked your mail, chatted with friends and watered your tomatoes on Facebook, what do you do on the Net? Most likely, nothing that will stay with you till the next morning.
Or, you may just find yourself being inspired by some of the brightest minds of their generation — Bill Gates, James Cameron, Shekhar Kapur, Jamie Oliver.... On Ted.com, you will quickly discover that anything is possible.
What is TED?
TED, short for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is devoted to ideas worth spreading. Founded by Richard Wurman in 1984, it has been owned by The Sapling Foundation since 2001, spearheaded by TED host and curator Chris Anderson. TED grew into a phenomenon around 2006, when the TED conference talks, held at Long Beach, California, were made available at www.ted.com as well as other popular websites (like YouTube.com). After a gruelling selection and evaluation process, the handpicked speakers give the talks of their lives on an aspect of their work or passion, which covers such diverse areas as technology, behavioural economics, art and even cooking.
A few talks to get you started…
Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman:
The riddle of experience vs memory
James Cameron : Before Avatar… a curious boy!
Ken Robinson: Schools kill creativity
On your mind
From the three broad categories, the talks have spread their horizons to include just about anything riveting. So you can watch multiple amputee Aimee Mullins give a tear-jerking talk about how she became a world-record breaking athlete, model and actress despite being born without her femur bones, or writer Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love speak about taming the beast that is creativity.
And now there is even more to attract Indians to TED, with TEDIndia debuting in Mysore last year. TED has permanent conferences in Oxford and California and has happened in Africa. They were keen on India, says TEDIndia co-host Lakshmi Pratury, also a TED fellow. They dont have the bandwidth for more than two conferences spread over the world in a year, though they do feel the need. As a result, the first in association with TED venture in India, The Ink Conference, was born. It is now scheduled to be an annual affair, being held from December 10 to 12 this year. The strategy and speakers will come from TED, which will also distribute the content. Praturys Ixoraa Media (which organised TEDIndia) will manage it.
Why should you log on?
TED makes you feel awed, inspired and curious, you will feel like Alice in Wonderland, says Soumyak Kanti De Biswas, director, Tin Can, a performing arts group.
The scope of what you can learn on TED is limitless. Take William Kamkwamba for example. The Malawian was 14 when he built a windmill from waste to produce electricity. At the TED Global Conference in Oxford last year, William, now aged 22, was heard echoing Obama. Trust in yourself, was his message. (The TED platform is nothing if not daunting: William confessed to being so nervous before his first presentation that he wanted to vomit.)
Bill Gatess talk on mosquitoes, malaria and education in February 2009 left the audience in awe — and squirming. I brought some (mosquitoes) here, just so you could experience this. Well let those roam around the auditorium a little bit. Theres no reason only poor people should have the experience, he said.
India Talks on TED
On what India needs to do to become a superpower
The rise of cricket, the rise of India
We are the stories we tell ourselves
One of the biggest reasons to tune in must be to sample the jaw-dropping technology that is shaping our lives — before it has actually been revealed to the rest of the world. One of the biggest sensations on the site is the demonstration by Indian origin MIT prodigy Pranav Mistry, who has developed SixthSense, a wearable device that promises to meld the physical and digital worlds through an intuitive and affordable gadget that combines sensors and projector with computing ability.
If nothing else, you should watch TED to be in good company. In the live audience you can spot leaders, business icons and Nobel-prize-winning scientists. Celebrity fans include Will Smith and Cameron Diaz. Rock star Bono is one of the recipients of the TEDPrize. Chef and food activist Jamie Oliver is another. (Apart from $ 100,000, the winner gets One Wish to Change the World. Oliver, the 2010 winner, wished to create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity.)
|Ted fan: Cameron Diaz
How can you be there?
If the Net experience has left you thirsty for more, you can make it to the conference itself as an attendee. Unfortunately, the 2011 event at California is sold out. But you can watch the site for more details — and remember that there is more action coming up in India.
There may well be more programmes through a new initiative named TEDx. This allows individuals and organisations to host their own TED events. BITS Pilani hosted one such event at its Goa campus in February. Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) also hosted one in March. Attending one of the global events in person wont come cheap (try $ 6,000), but can you really put a price on inspiration?