TED shedding elite conference image

Mar 15, 2011
The TED conferences are forging ahead with a transformation from elite intellectual gatherings to global exchange of thought-sparking ideas.

The TED conferences are forging ahead with a transformation from elite intellectual gatherings to global exchange of thought-sparking ideas.

TED later this year will open its online talks platform to developers who will be free to dream up new applications for channeling TED.com content to smartphones, tablet computers or other Internet-linked gadgets.

"If we want to spread ideas, one of the most important things we can do is reach people on different platforms around the world," TED media director June Cohen told technology trendsetters at the South By Southwest festival that ends Tuesday in Texas.

Renowned scientists, political leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and musicians have taken to the stage at the technology-focused gatherings where they are urged to give the "talk of their lives" in 18 minutes.

The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conferences started 27 years ago in California as annual enclaves where elite thinkers got together to explore life from challenging or unusual perspectives.

The nonprofit Sapling Foundation began making recordings of talks available online as podcasts in 2006, then began streaming videos free at a TED.com website the following year to reach a global audience.

TED talks have legions of followers on the Internet and have spread to television stations around the world.

"It completely flipped from an elite gathering, expensive and closed to an ecosystem that was free and open," Cohen said.

Late last year, TED released an application that lets the popular videos be viewed on Apple's iPad.

Volunteers have been translating TED Talks into myriad languages, and next month the website will begin posting presentations originating in tongues other than English.

"Even we at TED found these steps pretty frightening," Cohen said of the decision to go against traditional business wisdom of hiking a commodity's value by keeping it exclusive and scarce.

"But what we have actually learned is that all the unintended consequences of this openness have been explosively positive."

While making the talks available free, TED raised the conference fee to $6,000 and sold out faster than ever, she noted.

Explore further: Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

TED Talks take to iPad

Oct 14, 2010

Perspective-shifting TED Talks took to culture-changing iPads with the release Thursday of an application that lets the popular videos be viewed on Apple's hot tablet computers.

TED Talks take to TV

May 06, 2010

Thought-sparking TED talks that have won legions of followers on the Internet are spreading to television stations around the world.

Famed TED talks available in multiple languages

May 13, 2009

The organizers of the famed annual TED conferences on Wednesday began making the thought-provoking lectures by giants of technology, science and the arts available in dozens of languages.

World-shaping minds inspired at TED gathering

Feb 27, 2011

Mind-boggling science and undertakings that overwhelm the senses are in store at a TED conference to inspire the brilliant and accomplished to change the world for the better.

Kindle Singles debuts pithy digital works

Jan 27, 2011

Amazon on Wednesday released the first of a new line of short digital books pitched as quick, captivating works for its popular Kindle electronic readers.

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

Sep 19, 2014

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 0