Elon Musk closed the TED conference, which ends a phenomenal week of artistic struggle, stunning limitations, and serious entrepreneurial wisdom. One quote from his Q & A with TED head Chris Anderson captures the spirit of the week.
Why do I do this? We assume technology automatically improves. It does not. It only improves if a lot of people work hard to make it better… Ancient Egypt created the pyramids, then, generations later, they forgot how. Romans had the aqueduct system, then forgot how. By itself, technology actually degrades.
The theme is the hidden hand: The ideas that power our world that can wreck us when we go in autopilot. It can be our ego, as Pope Francis (yes, that Pope Francis) shared mid-week, or our stress, which celebrated neuroscientist Dr. Rebecca Brachman explained, or our fear, as Tim Ferriss showed in the ultimate way to get conquer it.
It is also the wisdom of algorithms that run our lives, with FireEye’s Laura Galante explaining the war happening with fake news, and ORCAA Algorithmic Auditing’s Cathy O’Neil on the biases built into the systems when create.
Even the relatively lighthearted interview with sports superstar Serena Williams had the underpinning tension that sexism, racism and other factors made her tough rise to the top of her field more difficult.
From the talks on the stage to our conversations on the floor, TED 2017 has brimmed with bringing the hidden to light. Much of the week was spent not processing the current turbulent time, but better understanding the impulses, technology and algorithms that are quietly creating our future.
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