Some of my favourite TED talks

I want to speak about TED, which in my honest opinion is one of the best sites that exist in the internet at the moment. TED could be summarised as some of the best presentations related to “Ideas worth spreading”, given by some of the most outstanding individuals of our time. For the (I hope few) of you who have watch a TED talk, I really encourage you to go to their site right now, even before finishing reading this. I have been spending some of my otherwise painful commuting time on watching some TED talks. The main reason of this post is to recommend and summarise some of these talks focused on data science and technology.

Data Science: I love the intersection of data analytics, data visualisation, and real world-scale problems. For this reason alone, and even ignoring the fact that they are also some of the most entertaining presentations I have seen, Hans Rosling’s talks must be in this list. I recommend them all, but this talk is arguably the one that started his current world reputation and fame (at least in some circles). He tell us the story about world demographics and wealth, and how they have been changing over the modern times. Another stunning presentation that I recently enjoyed is the data visualisation and clustering of the entire TEDx talk archive done by Eric Berlow and Sean Gourley.

General: No one can refute the argument that Bill Gates is one of the most influential people in the history of IT. In addition to this, in conjunction with his wife Melinda, he is a very active philanthropist. Both Bill and Melinda Gates are focusing a lot of their time on their foundation and some of the most fundamental questions for humankind. Part of the story and the reasons behind this part of their lives is illustrated in this very personal talk/interview.

Technology: Although a little bit outdated, I love two presentations given by the people who created two of the most powerful companies ever created, Google and Amazon. Jeff Bezos talk illustrates how internet has changed and how it will change in the “future” by comparing the web with the electricity. On the other hand, Sergey Brin and Larry Page presentation about “The genesis of Google” is a must-see for any technologist, especially for those related to web search. One of the funniest moments is when they describe how the Google Doodle was created with the idea that Google brand should change every day just after experts in marketing advised them that the most critical factor for a business is a brand that never changes. This is one of the best examples of lateral thinking that I have seen. The last talk that I would recommend summarises the last 30 years of tech, especially focused on the advances on the human computer interaction field by one of its main contributors, Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the MIT Media Lab.

There are several other talks related to a disparate set of topic such as health, energy, education or even architecture that I will share in the future. However, they would make will make this list too long to be useful at this point.

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