MIT All-Stars Shine at TED’s 30th

March 29th, 2014

Conference attendees experiment with littleBits, a DIY electronics kit created by Ayah Bdeir SM '06. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Biomechatronics engineer David Sengeh SM '12 speaks at a TED Fellows Talk. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Nicholas Negroponte '66, MAR'66 predicts that one day we'll acquire knowledge in pill form. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Peter Diamandis '83, SM '88 announces a new competition for future TED talks on artificial intelligence. PHoto: Ryan Lash/TED

Rodney Brooks believes that human/robot partnerships will lead to new manufacturing models. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Khan Academy founder Sal Khan '98, MNG '98 speaks about the future of education. Photo: Bret Hartman/TED

Hugh Herr SM '93 greets Adrianne Haslet-Davis and her dance partner Christian Lightner. Haslet-Davis performed for the first time since losing part of her left leg in the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Marco Tempest introduces his robotic friend EDI (Electronic Deceptive Intelligence). Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Physicist Allan Adams explains the Big Bang theory, with assistance from comic strip xkcd. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

TED celebrated its 30th anniversary this month with a weeklong conference called The Next Chapter. What began as a small gathering featuring short (≤18 minutes) talks has grown into a worldwide media phenomenon, with more than 1,600 talks available online.

In honor of its anniversary, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) welcomed back some of its “All-Star” speakers from previous years. Kicking things off was MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte ’66, MAR ’66, whose 1984 TED talk predicted tablet computing and online shopping. Negroponte offered a new prognostication this year—that one day, we will acquire knowledge by simply ingesting a pill.

Other TED All-Stars with MIT ties included:

MIT was well represented throughout the week, both onstage and off:

Using the virtual reality technology Oculus Rift, attendees had the chance to experience Eyewire, a game developed at Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT that is crowdsourcing a map of the brain.

LittleBits creator Ayah Bdeir SM ’06 and biomechatronics engineer David Sengeh SM ’12 joined a TED Fellows Talk, billed as a session in which attendees should “expect the unexpected.”

Physics professor Allan Adams took on the fundamental nature of the universe, as well as an explanation of Big Bang discovery, illustrated by the comic strip xkcd.

Nancy Kanwisher ’80, PhD ’86, MIT’s Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, compared the brain to a Swiss Army knife.

Hugh Herr SM ’93, who heads the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab, spoke of next-generation bionic limbs—and a first dance.

Ray Kurzweil ’70 explained his theory of the hierarchy of the brain.

Rodney Brooks, MIT professor emeritus and cofounder of iRobot, predicted that in the future, humans will work alongside robots, leading to a new manufacturing model.

XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis ’83, SM ’88, announced a new competition for future TED talks on artificial intelligence.

And “cyber illusionist” Marco Tempest, a Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab, showed up with his robotic friend EDI (Electronic Deceptive Intelligence).

TED’s The Next Chapter conference offered a wide range of opinions on how society and technology will evolve in the next 30 years. We’ll find out in 2044 which predictions became reality.

Watch more talks and read news
from the TED 30th anniversary event.



Leave a Reply



, , ,