My favorite TED talks…

Inspirational food for thought

As part of the input that I have, has become a very intriguing source, in part because the topics are extremely diverse and people invited to speak at a TED conference usually have mastered the art of making their topic approachable and yet interesting.

Here are some of the talks I would recommend, each with a quick blurb of mine trying to sum up my experience of it:

Mark Applebaum: The mad scientist of music – in this challenging thought, Mark tries to make the point (if I understand him correctly) that for music to be enjoyed it has to be interesting–provocatively he says:

“Is it music? … This is not the important question. The important question is, is it interesting?”

Now, what makes music interesting for me is having just the right amount of “surprise” (that is, it is not boring by being too repetitive, but also not too outlandish to be incomprehensible). And maybe that is why it takes time to “get used to” music styles such as Jazz…

Alanna Shaikh: How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s – are there reasonable steps one can take to potentially make one of the worst possible outcomes of aging less scary to contemplate? And, most important of all, the kind of person you are might make this so much easier on all those around you. In her own words:

“I need a heart so pure that if it’s stripped bare by dementia, it will survive.”

Ivan Oransky: Are we over-medicalized? – our society has become very “good” at predicting medical conditions before they manifest (well, eager would be better, of course), such as “pre-hypertension”. But is it possible we are diagnosing too much? As Ivan put it:

“You all have a universally fatal condition. It’s called pre-death.”

And maybe related to that…

Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine? – what the healthcare system might need most is to re-focus on some of the basics. And…

Brian Goldman: Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?

Reggie Watts disorients you in the most entertaining way – a most wonderful performance of how, by playing with words and showing off the sounds a human voice can produce, a single man can seamlessly keep his audience captured. As a sample:

“So, as I say, before the last piece: feel not as though it is a sphere we live on… Rather, an infinite plane which has the illusion of leading yourself back to the point of origin”

David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence – it’s an intriguing question to ask: how much creativity lies in me (and, in fact, in each of us), and how can I tap into it. A very inspiring, personal story that tries to shed some light on this question.

Danny Hillis: Back to the future (of 1994) – a great visionary is looking in the future, back in 1994:

“If transportation technology was moving along as fast as microprocessor technology, then the day after tomorrow I would be able to get in a taxi cab and be in Tokyo in 30 seconds.”

We’re all part of an evolution that is yet to take place. And we should have enough humility to make room for the notion that we, the human species, might not yet be the end of it…

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