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Our top five TED talks – Tech edition

Our top five TED talks – Tech edition

Since 1984 TED, a nonprofit ‘devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading’, has been bringing together the most influential thinkers of our day to discuss technology, entertainment, design and much more. The best talks from two annual conferences each year are posted online at www.ted.com and this is one of our favourite sites to spend time. Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee and prepare to be inspired!  

As we’re in the digital industry, it’s only fitting that we would be drawn to the technology section. But the talks are about much more than the latest Google Analytics updates. They approach technology with questions about how it’s changing our relationship with the physical world, with other people and with ourselves.

Here are our top five favs.

Eli Pariser: Beware online ‘filter bubbles’

His initial experience with the Internet meant a connection to the world and he could see the benefit to society and democracy. But, he says, there’s a shift in how information is flowing online and it could be a big problem – it’s called the filter bubble. “There is no standard Google anymore.”

Algorithmic editing is taking place online, on Google and Facebook for example, the results that you’re seeing are quite different than the person one computer over. He said, “One engineer told me there are 57 signals that Google looks at – everything from what kind of computer you’re on to what kind of browser you’re using to where you’re located.”

“We need the Internet to be that thing that we all dreamed of it being. We need it to connect us all together. We need it to introduce us to new ideas and new people and different perspectives. And it’s not going to do that if it leaves us all isolated in a Web of one.”

Rives: If I controlled the Internet…

Rives in a performance poet from America and his stuff is just amazing. This poem about how the Internet would be if Rives had control is beautiful and funny and smart. A must see! Keeping in mind that this was written and performed in 2006, the references may be slightly outdated, but the message is still incredible!

Evan Williams on listening to Twitter users

Whilst this talk feels a bit dated because it’s introducing Twitter and discussing its early stages of evolution, what’s fascinating is how the platform is the way it is because of our participation. They watch the way we use it and adapt it to make it easier, such as the @username and the # to track keywords. Best quote “When you give people easier ways to share information, more good things happen.” Brilliant!

Adam Ostrow: After your final status updates

“All of us are creating an archive of digital content that will live on long after we’re gone. It’s going to become possible for our digital personas to continue to interact in the real world long after we’re gone thanks to the vastness of the amount of content we’re creating and technology’s ability to make sense of it all.”

What does your online persona reveal about who you are, what you like, how you spend your time? Worth a thought…

Kevin Allocca: Why videos go viral 

TED – it’s not just for adults. TED is working on a youth initiative and this is one of the first talks that was aired for TEDYouth. Besides being absolutely hilarious, Kevin shares the three elements necessary to make videos go viral…

“In a world where over two days of video get uploaded every minute, only that which is truly unique and unexpected can stand out…Tastemakers, creative participating communities, complete unexpectedness, these are characteristics of a new kind of media and a new kind of culture where anyone has access and the audience defines the popularity…No one has to green light your idea.”