TED 2010: Day 4 and Wrapup

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First, some notes on earlier talks here.

Yesterday I wrote about Bill Gates’ presentation. The video hasn’t been posted yet (Update: Gates’ presentation), but you can read an insightful slide-by-slide rundown by Nancy Duarte (who we’ve featured previously in MIT Sloan Management Review). And a few days back, I mentioned another Microsoft-related talk: Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ demo of a new mapping technology employing augmented reality. It really works and you can see it here:

And now, notes on the final day of TED 2010. By the last two sessions of the conference, after three days of one 18-minute marvel after another and three late nights of talking over those marvels with fellow attendees, you need something energetic to keep you sitting up straight and tall in your seat. And Saturday’s sessions offered some of that. Highlights included:

Sir Ken Robinson. His previous talk, from 2006, about rethinking education, was one of the first TED videos liberated for public viewing and remains the most-seen. This year’s talk went deeper in the same territory. If anything, it was even more iconoclastic, starting with the notion that reform of a broken model (what he considers the current public school situation in the U.S.) is insufficient and discussing how difficult it is to “disenthrall” ourselves from the “tyranny of common sense.” His talk will be up shortly and it’s worth seeing in its entirety; his notion of moving from the current approach to public education, which he terms industrial and linear, to a more “agricultural” and holistic (without the new age trappings) one is provocative and, after a while, inarguable.

Another superstar of the day was James Cameron, best known for films about 10-foot-tall blue people, big ships that sink, and what Arnold Schwarzenegger is really like. His autobiographical talk wasn’t short on self-regard, but it also wasn’t short on inspiration.

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