Internet life in spotlight at global TED gathering

June 21, 2012 by Glenn Chapman

The TED conference, known for taking an innovative look at cutting-edge issues, will delve into whether the Internet is making the world more open or closed at a gathering in Scotland on Monday.

The theme of this year's TED Global will be "radical openness" as talks on and off stage in Edinburgh explore the implications of crowd sourcing, blogs, smartphones and other culture-changing features of the .

"Is the world more open or not?" TED Global curator Bruno Giussani asked rhetorically while discussing the concept-shaping presentations and discussions at the coming event.

"You have forces going in both directions; what are the implications for society, governance and us as individuals?"

Specifics of talks at the five-day gathering were kept secret, but the eclectic line-up of speakers ran a gamut from US Navy Admiral and NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis to Chinese blogger Zhao Jing and singer Macy Gray.

In trademark TED style, each speaker is challenged to give "the talk of their lives" in 18 minutes.

Those slated to take the stage include a bio-fuel guru, the founder of a startup that lets people rent their vehicles to neighbors, a film visual effects maestro, and a musician who became a sensation by turning the + social network video "hangout" sessions into interactive concert venues.

"People who are pushing the boundaries will be looking at the impact of technology and what it changes," Giussani said.

The talks will cover "anything from designing for the bottom of the pyramid -- poor people in developing countries -- to how technology is used by () Anonymous or governments," he said.

Talk topics will include a criminologist's study of "future crimes" -- offenses that haven't happened yet -- and the invention of a camera that can see around corners.

Organizers of the prestigious annual conference in California in 2005 launched a global version of the event imbued with a more international mindset and attention to world affairs.

"While the in California represents the roots and core of TED, TED Global represents the expansion of the wealth of ideas around the world and bringing that community into the conversation," Giussani said.

TED's long-stated catchphrase is "Ideas worth spreading."

Issues in play at the conference are expected to include how best to get Internet technologies into the hands of "the next billion people" and whether governments have what it takes to keep pace with Internet-driven change.

"We are certainly not the ones to tell you how the future is going to be," Giussani said with a smile.

"This is about creating the space for collective, creative and constant brainstorming about how we are going to get there."

Along with political figures, scientists, technologists, dancers, authors and scholars, TED Global promised to include surprise presentations focused on "digitally driven openness."

Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conferences started 28 years ago in California as annual enclaves where elite thinkers got together to explore life from challenging or unusual perspectives.

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

TED talks have legions of followers on the Internet and have been broadcast on television stations around the world.

Explore further: TED shedding elite conference image

Related Stories

TED shedding elite conference image

March 15, 2011

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

Elite conference series to land in Baghdad

November 2, 2011

TED, a decades-old conference series that aims to bring together experts in a variety of fields, will open its inaugural Baghdad gathering in 10 days, organisers said on Wednesday.

TED Talks take to TV

May 6, 2010

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

TED Talks take to iPad

October 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.

Technology and creativity go "full spectrum" at TED

February 26, 2012

Technology, art and magic will mix in perspective-bending ways this week as the prestigious TED conference continues transforming from an elite retreat to a global movement for a better world.

Recommended for you

New technique spots warning signs of extreme events

September 22, 2017

Many extreme events—from a rogue wave that rises up from calm waters, to an instability inside a gas turbine, to the sudden extinction of a previously hardy wildlife species—seem to occur without warning. It's often impossible ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.