TED Tech Preview: Robots, Crowdsourcing and Bill Nye
Please excuse the #humblebrag for a second, but little old me is somehow headed to the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., this week, and I’ll be reporting on it here for AllThingsD.
As will Kara Swisher, who’s been going to TED since the dawn of time — check out her February 2000 coverage of “The Billionaires’ Dinner” — though she assures me that the yearly dose of techno-optimism is enough to drive her to drink bottled water and drive an SUV.
TED curates a potpourri of talks and performances on technology, entertainment and design (which is where its name comes from). In recent years, the conference has gotten larger and gained fame through the release of talks online, and the facilitation of independently organized “TEDx” events around the world.
This year’s TED theme is “Full Spectrum,” which is pretty vague, but it looks like there will be some trends around urban planning, robots and climate change.
At the risk of extracting one part from the greater whole, I delved into the program and pulled up some of the talks that look to be more techie, at least on the surface. Here they are:
Sarah Parcak is a “space archeologist” who uses satellite images to find archeological sites.
Peter Diamandis is chairman of the X Prize and Singularity University, and just wrote the book “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.”
Henrik Scharfe studies people’s interactions with robots, with the help of one that looks just like him.
You may remember DARPA Director Regina Dugan as the surprise hit of our D9 conference last year.
Jack Choi is CEO of Anatomage, which makes 3-D anatomy-imaging software.
Donald Sadoway is an MIT professor who has made a battery using “liquid metal.”
Vijay Kumar is a University of Pennsylvania professor who studies multi-robot formations.
T. Boone Pickens is the oil baron who now supports alternative sources of energy.
Former Microsoft marketer Lior Zoref is delivering “the first-ever crowdsourced TED talk.”
Jen Pahlka is founder of Code for America. She’ll also be keynoting SXSW in a couple weeks.
Frank Warren created the community confession blog PostSecret.
MIT professor Sherry Turkle wrote “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”
David Kelley founded IDEO and Stanford’s D School.
John Hodgman is a PC. His latest book is “That Is All.”
Jared Ficklin works at frog design and visualizes music.
Bill Nye is the Science Guy.
Cesar Kuriyama edits together one second of video from every day of his life.
Whew, that’s already a lot — and I’m sure there will be offstage demos and shenanigans to write about, too. Let me know what you want to hear about most.