Kelly Stoetzel and Rives with special guest hosts at TEDYouth 2012, November 17, 2012 in New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash
TEDYouth took place on November 17th, 2012 at the TimesCenter in New York. 25 speakers took the stage, igniting ideas in the minds of an audience of 400 New York high school students. Some highlights:
Rick Smolan, photographer and data evangelist
Rick Smolan’s larger-than-life photographs capture deeper meaning in everyday moments. (Watch his TED Talk.) Right now, he’s exploring how Big Data is reshaping our lives. Everything we do generates data — who we call, what we buy, what we tweet. In his talk, Smolan gives a brief tour of the ways this vast data allows us to get new views of our world — from a crowdsourcing app that allows for better earthquake prediction, to stunning imagery of pizza delivery in New York City on a Friday night, to Smolan’s own Data Detectives project which gives a way for teens to compare themselves to others around the world.
Jer Thorp, data artist
A data artist in residence at The New York Times, Jer Thorp takes big data and makes it understandable in beautiful visualizations. (Watch his TED Talk.) He’s created a visualization of people saying “Good morning” on Twitter, and of others tweeting “just landed” as they travel. In this talk, he introduces us to Cascade, The New York Times‘ initiative to visually chart the way people talk about their articles. “We are data-making machines,” said Thorp. “Big data can solve big problems.”
Jer Thorp at TEDYouth 2012, November 17, 2012 in New York, NY. Photo: Ryan Lash
Ayanna Howard, roboticist
How can we have robots on Mars and in war zones, but not yet have robots in our homes? The answer: because they aren’t smart enough yet. In this talk, Howard explains that she was surprised to find that her work involved learning about child development and watching monkeys — all in service of making robots that can mirror motions, learn muscle memory and, most importantly, interact with humans. Making a special appearance in her talk: Pleo, the robot dinosaur, who has her own TED Talk.
Tom Chi, technologist
Tom Chi runs Google X, which he calls the “department of science fiction” of the Internet giant. In this talk, he describes Google Glass, a head-mounted display — sort of like a pair of glasses — that can overlay digital experiences while a person interacts in the real world. While this technology sounds highly complex, he shares that making the first prototype took just a single day and that the hardest challenge was making them light and wearable..
Young Guru, music producer
Young Guru has worked with Jay-Z on 10 albums, not to mention other well-known artists. On the TEDYouth stage, Young Guru turned his eye to piracy. “What does piracy have to do with hip hop music?” he asks. “Hip hop is based off using other people’s music to make new music.” In this talk, he makes a case that what’s now considered piracy is actually the pushing forward of culture. He says: “All pirates are doing is remixing something else, so let’s not attack the pirate — let’s figure out how to make a better remix.”
Bobak Ferdowsi, Flight Director for the Mars Curiosity Rover mission (pictured below)
Not only did Bobak help land the Curiosity Rover on Mars, he became an Internet meme for his mohawk haircut. He reviews the extraordinary technology and techniques they used to land an SUV sized rover — overcoming such obstacles as the chance that the thrusters used on landing would blow a hole in the planet that the rover could never climb out of. (Watch NASA’s video on the “7 minutes of terror,” the time it took the rover to land.)
Kelly Benoit-Bird, Marine Biologist
Kelly uses sophisticated sound technology to explore how animals in the ocean find their food while trying to avoid being someone else’s dinner. It turns out that there is very little food in the ocean — in the 400 seat TEDYouth auditorium there would be the equivalent of one tub of movie popcorn. But it’s even more complicated than that — animals do best when food is clumped, so regions with large amounts of food for seals, say, might not support large populations if the food is spread out instead of clumping. Using advanced sonar, she’s found remarkable patterns in the way animals find their food. (Watch also: This TED-Ed lesson on the secret life of plankton.)
Maurice Ashley, Chess Grandmaster
Maurice is an International Grandmaster of Chess — in fact, in 1999, he was the first African-American to win that title. There is a myth that grandmasters can see 15 moves ahead. The truth is that in the first four moves there are 318,000,000 ways to play. So he and other grandmasters use a variety of techniques to look ahead. One is called “Retrograde Analysis,” a way of looking at what had happened before to figure out what will happen in the future. For example, a good way to proofread is to read an essay backward, to avoid the fact that our brain will fill in errors when we know what to expect. He uses this techniques in many other areas to solve problems, with great effect. Finally, is youth wasted on the young? Well, “If you can see the endgame, your youth will not be wasted on you.”
For the full least of speakers, visit the TEDYouth website >>
For more highlights from TEDYouth, visit the TED blog >>
Some talks will be released on TED.com, so stay tuned!