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TED Session 1: Juan Enriquez, P.W. Singer…

The theme is REBOOT.

1. Futurist Juan Enriquez

First, the economy.
Leverage = bad.
You have to stand behind currencies.
We must banish entitlement.
Only 18% of the U.S. federal budget is discretionary.
Punchlines coming from Flickr and Photobucket pics — hard to get down in writing.

Cells have quick development curve then level off.

Biological tissue engineering — stem cell research — generating organs — “life happens” — happening quickly

Robots — also advancing quickly

Bringing three trends together — athletes with prosthetics winning Olympics in the future. Hearing aid implants. “These are machine generations not human generations.”

Historically versions of hominids have overlapped.

Enriquez proposes new species of hominid: “homo evolutis” — our grandchildren are going to be beginning to live it — hominids that take control over their own species. “The Ultimate Reboot.”

Essentially we are making ourselves extinct. Yay!

2. P.W. Singer, military analyst

Robots change war. Mankind’s monopoly on war is breaking down in our lifetime.

Warfare going open source — a lot of robotics is off-the-shelf

Two trends:
Power of individuals against governments reinforced
Expansion of terrorism: Al Qaeda 2.0/Next-gen Unabomber

Relevant to NewTeeVee: The future of war is going to be a YouTube war — new technologies record everything they see. Thousands of clips of Iraq warfront footage from drones on YouTube. Soldiers call this “war porn,” set it to pop music. This ability to watch more but experience less creates a wrinkle in the public’s experience with war. But these are just the ESPN Sportscenter version of the game — not seeing the player in person — just slam dunk highlight reels.

We do things in the video game war that we wouldn’t do in person. What are “oops” moments with robots in war? What is unmanned slaughter? Armed autonomous systems with full authority to use force aren’t even here yet (but they’re coming).

The question we all should ask is: it our machines or is it us that’s wired for war?

3. New electric motorcycle (and company) introduced: Mission One, by designer Yves Behar and engineer Forrest North. Goes 150+ MPH. Sending info to Earth2Tech. Here’s the release.

4. David Hanson, artist and robotics researcher. Working on incorporating expression recognition into lifelike robots. Perceives your emotion through facial expressions — could be the seeds of robotic empathy.

5. Bill Gates.

Six months into new job. The market does not drive people to do the right things. Only by paying attention to these things — having brilliant people who care — do we make as much progress as we need to.

I am an optimist.

Malaria — how do we stop a deadly disease that’s spread by mosquitoes?

Because the disease has been eliminated in richer countries, they don’t care. More money put into baldness. Million deaths per year, 200 million people suffering from it at any one time, holds back economies. Releases mosquitoes into audience as illustrator!

We need communicators, social scientists, mathematicians, drug companies to get people to use bed nets, talk about it, analyze.

Education — how do you make a teacher great?

Top 20% of students in U.S. have gotten a good education, best in the world compared to other countries’ top 20%. But that’s starting to fade on a relative basis. And the education that the balance of people are getting is weak and getting weaker. Economy only provides opportunities to people with a better education.

We need to reward and retain good teachers — 10 percentage points difference between most effective teacher and least effective teacher — would close the achievement gap with Asia. What effects percentile gain in math the most? Masters degree in education — not at all. Teach for America — a little. Math major — a fair amount. Past performance — overwhelming. There are some people who are very good at this, and we’ve done almost nothing to draw that in.

Giving teachers data on how good they are helps.

Relevant to NewTeeVee: Digital video is cheap. Putting a camera in a classroom and giving feedback on teaching is very practical in public schools. Take video clips of great teachers and distribute them to other teachers. Assign videos of great courses to students. Put them on DVD to make them even more accessible.

Q&A: On economy: the next 3-4 years are going to be very tough. On encouraging overpopulation: The more disease there is, the more kids parents have to had to help take care of them in adulthood. Population growth correlated with poor health conditions. On Malcolm Gladwell’s “outliers” theory: it’s a cycle of luck and skill that lead to my outcome. Is philanthropy a hobby? It’s not about the legacy, it’s about the day-to-day activity. Huge setback in polio eradication in Nigeria in the last year, was there for the last three days, it’s fun to work on.

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