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TED Day 1 – Session 1

My attempt to live blog the sessions.


– First speaker is Erik Petersen who is a futurist and global analyst with 7 futures. He says the future will revolve around 7 key themes:
1) Population growth / demographics – be a big gap between high growth countries and low growth countries; global aging – by 2050 the number of older persons will be higher than the number of younger people for the first time in history. Implications will be felt in savings/pensions; skills capacity.

2) Strategic resources: food – immediate priority is to double the food capacity by 2050; also the same with water; energy challenge is the increasing demand.

3) Technology: Computation – sheer scale of deep computing going on right now; Biotechnology and genomics – more pressure to diffuse these technologies right now; Nanotechnology – remarkable conversion from research to development. Upshot is that these drivers offer the possibility of improving the quality of our world.

4) Global information and data flow: eroding sovereign prerogatives; gap between knowledge proficient and knowledge deprived.

5) Global economic integration: What are the drivers? China current 4th largest economy. BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China could significantly affect global power if they keep growing at the rates they are growing right now. They could overtake G6 by 2040 if momentum is sustained. Problem though is income stratification in these countries. 225 richest individuals have accumulated wealth that is equal to 2.7 billion people who are the bottom of the pyramid.

6) Conflict – increasing conflict situtations around the world.

7) Governance – 22nd largest economic entity in the world is Walmart. What are the implications for nation-states. Dot.gov falling behind dot.org and dot.com

– Has 18 minutes to convince us that history has direction.
– What is next for the world – global governance, what does this mean more like regional governance, weapons control, or WTO.
– On balance history is a net-positive, most people tend to win-win situations. There is a moral dimension to history
– But growing lethality of hatred see e.g. Danish cartoons action + response – we need more moral progress. Learn to appreciate the humanity of the other side even if you don’t necessarily completely understand their behavior.

SPEAKER 3 – Nicholas Negroponte

– Spoke about the One Laptop per child idea.
– Why is he doing it? 1) Children are our most precious natural resource; 2) The solution to poverty and other big problems = education; 3) Teaching is one but not the only way to achieve learning.
– Non-profit association with $20 million funding for manufacturing and design.
– 3 rules: scale, scale, scale goal is to launch 7-10 million in 2007, 100-200 million 2008. 7 large diverse countries. They won’t launch without scale, this helps bring the price down.
– Laptop economics: 60% of laptop cost is sales, marketing, distribution, display is about20%, support of self and windows 20% (laptops today slower than ever – like an obese person using their own energy to move themselves)
– One laptop will have no sales and marketing cost, will be pared down to reduce self-support costs, big remaining cost will be display. Will be open source, skinny Linux. Kids will do the maintenance – lot of people don’t believe this is possible but he does.
– Not fully worked out yet, should be ready in a year.
– 7 countries targeted – China, India, Thailand, Egypt, Nigeria, Brazil and Argentina. They are dealing mostly with the Ministry of Education.
– Gray market issues are a challenge – trying to make sure that it is very unique that there is no market for it e.g. no Post office trucks are stolen.
– Economics: initial launch with central governments then to philanthropic organizations, child-to-child funding etc.
– Not providing education content that will be in country.

Speaker 4 – Hans Rosling on global health trends.

– Was paying too much attention to blog well. This summary from a past presentation gives you a good idea of his talks.
– One thing I like was his focus on contexualizing – for instance he spoke about Africa not being a monolith so the prescriptions for the continents problems should not be monolithic. He said that stats/data is there, but it’s not being used smartly.
– Check out his site Gapminder.org for really cool graphics on human development trends. Think of the site as a google for human development.

OK, that’s it for Session 1. Hope this is useful (hint hint let me know). My battery is dying so not sure if I can cover session 2.

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