27 Apr 2009, 4:09 p.m.

Some Highlights from TED

You need to know about TED, if you don't already. TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment and Design" and is essentially an annual conference renowned for the quality of its speakers and presentations.

You can't go to TED talks unless you're remarkably eminent - a former US president or Nobel Prizewinner, say - but it is to TED's eternal credit that you can watch hours and hours of video recordings of talks online, for free.

The subject matter is eclectic, to say the least, but the one thing that all the talks have in common is that they are utterly fascinating. It's kind of tricky to pick highlights, and far easier to just dive in and spend hours clicking around. But nevertheless, here are three talks from TED that particularly appealed to me.

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27 May 2008, 5:19 p.m.

Clay Shirky on the Cognitive Surplus

I came across this via a recent post on Jeremy Zawodny's blog, and found it fascinating.

I've been meaning to post something about this for a while, ideally accompanied by insightful and witty commentary. But that didn't happen so I figured I'd let Clay's presentation, from this year's Web 2.0 Expo, speak for itself.

In short, by the term Cognitive Surplus, Clay is referring to the huge amount of spare time and spare brain power that you guys have. That cognitive surplus has so far been swallowed up by the cultural black hole of TV, but little by little people are turning away from TV, and towards more interactive media, specifically the 'net. The upshot of all of this is that we might just be in the throes of something that rivals the industrial revolution in its significance.

I think he may well be right. You make up your own mind.

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