Those of you who have read my newsletters in the past, know about my passion for the TED Conference. Day one kicked off today, and it lived up to expectations. I will share a few highlights of the day and fill in some details later when I go through my notes in more detail.
From a business technology perspective there were two sessions today that caught my attention. The first was an addition to the planned agenda. It was a presentation by Jeff Han from NYU showed a new generation of computer interface that just blew my mind. I can best describe it as an extremely sensitive touch screen that allows you to touch it at multiple points at the same time and move things in multiple dimensions. A video demo of this is available on Han's website.
Two examples really illustrated the power of the invention. The first was a photographers light table (where you could move images around just like you would if they were on a table with your hands, but then re-size them by pulling on them). The second was a globe similar to Google Earth where you could zoom in and out, but also move around topography. He jokingly wished that Google needs to install a couple of these interface devices in their lobby. Larry Page was deep in coversation with him as I left the hall - maybe wishes do come true.
The second thing that hit me was not really a new technology, but an older one, but with a new deployment that has tremendous potential to change the world. Many of you have read Nicholas Negroponte's work, especially his best seller Being Digital. He spoke on his latest passion, the $100 laptop computer. This is a tremendously ambitious project to get laptops in the hands of all school aged children. To accomplish that, he and his team have created and prototyped a "$100 computer" (actually it is $137 now, but they expect prices to drop). He talked about the impact computers are having when they are placed in the hands of young people in developing countries, or even in US schools. My bet is this project will take off because of Negroponte's passion, and the success he has had so far.
Vice President Al Gore closed the day with a tremendous presentation on global warming. I don't care where you stand on politics, this was not a partisan message. This was a wake-up call that every global citizen needs to hear and heed. He spoke with commitment, heart and a real dedication to trying to solve a problem that is not receiving the attention it needs. I plan to learn more about this as the week goes on, and will post as I do. Just suffice it to say that the global warming is starting to impact our world today, and if we don't work together to address it, the impact will be disastrous - in the near future.