Wednesday, February 4

Watching the TED Talks: Reboot

This afternoon, I am enjoying the live stream from Long Beach watching a number of fantastic speakers and performers. I will live-blog over the event.


Hanson Robotics - demonstrating expression-based robots - androids, expression engines. Reminds me of the concept that are coming out of the Willow Garage efforts. Character Engine robotics - could make machines empathetic (but would the military want it?)

Naturally 7 - The award-winning gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz and soul septet from New York City. Site:
Great videos here: Naturally 7 in Paris Subway Naturally 7 "Feel It In The Air Tonight"

Bill Gates - speaking on philanthropy.
Life expectancy gone up, and child mortality went down.
Measles has been reduced - can we do the same with malaria?

How do you stop a disease spread by mosquitoes?

Today - malaria is now based in the poor countries (200M people at any one time suffering)
He releases a jar of mosquitoes in the audience (nervous giggle by audience)
Tools get evolved around - the disease can figure out where to go next...
Gates discusses the challenges on how to address the problem of malaria - and how to solve the problems found within the system of governments, tools, drugs and such.

How do you make a teacher great?

In the US, we have built great 20% of the students - and they have done amazing things. Need to find a way to allow for the rest of the country to benefit - in science, maths and such.
Over 30% of kids do not finish high school - in the US, for minority kids - over 50%.
If you are lower income, you have less than 30% of graduating with a four-year degree! Easier to go to jail than getting a college education.
What are the characteristics of the top quartile teachers?
  • Masters has little effect on a "good teacher"
  • After a teacher gets "good", time does little to "improve over
  • Slightly better teachers leave the system.
KIPP is doing it. In a normal school, metrics are not captured - teacher unions are keeping the measurements out (e.g. principal not able to come in except with permission). In NY, the Teacher Improvement Data is not allowed to be used outside of the teachers use alone.
How to overcome the challenges?
  • Video the good teachers and make the courses available over the 'net
Book: "Work Hard, Be Nice" shows the KIPP program. Can make a difference in millions of lives.

Q/A: "Bill Gates Releases More Bugs"
  • Economy: next four years are going to be tough, but he wants to make sure that the poorest are not ignored.
  • BGFoundation - $3.8B spent in global health care issues - need diversity of ideas and more money [head shake here - did Bill Gates just say "diversity of ideas"?]
  • Key thing to reduce population growth is to improve health - problem has been that when the disease burden is HIGH, the population creates more to overcome the disease burden.
  • How can we keep the "dotty" teachers without making them "vanilla"? We need to objectively look at how they do "well". It should be a meritocracy - allowing for eccentricity.
  • BG got good because luck and skill occurred - and then he got "nurtured" by other people - sort of the journeyman/apprentice program.
  • What will be on BG's tombstone?
Ben Zander - Wishing TED their 25th Birthday
In human responses, there are : Resignation, Anger or Possibility - and TED has always chosen possibility

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