Many artificial intelligence researchers expect AI to outsmart humans at all tasks and jobs within decades, enabling a future where we’re restricted only by the laws of physics, not the limits of our intelligence. MIT physicist and AI researcher Max Tegmark separates the real opportunities and threats from the myths, describing the concrete steps we should take today to ensure that AI ends up being the best — rather than worst — thing to ever happen to humanity.
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When journalist Mariana Atencio was seven, her father sent her from her home in Venezuela to a summer camp in Brainerd, Minnesota. Unsurprisingly, she was treated like an outsider. Over the course of many more such camps and a senior year in an American high school, she discovered that the best way to belong was to embrace the qualities that made her different. In this deeply personal talk, Atencio describes how these early lessons helped her succeed as an immigrant and as a journalist.
In this joyful, heartfelt talk featuring demos of her wonderfully wacky creations, Simone Giertz shares her craft: making useless robots. Her inventions — designed to chop vegetables, cut hair, apply lipstick and more — rarely (if ever) succeed, and that’s the point. “The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don’t always know what the best answer is,” Giertz says. “It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn’t the answer, but at least you’re asking the question.”
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Technology should work for us, but what happens when it doesn’t? Comedian Chuck Nice explores the unintended consequences of technological advancement and human interaction — with hilarious results.
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Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. He calls out the two main offenders (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make the workplace actually work.
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As CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Musimbi Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can expand and grow. She introduces us to the Maragoli concept of “isirika” — a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility to care for one another — something she sees women practicing all over the world. And she calls for those who have more to give more to people working to improve their communities. “Imagine what it would look like if you embraced isirika and made it your default,” Kanyoro says. “What could we achieve for each other? For humanity?” Let’s find out – together.
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We’ve all heard that robots are going to take our jobs — but what can we do about it? Innovation expert David Lee says that we should start designing jobs that unlock our hidden talents and passions — the things we spend our weekends doing — to keep us relevant in the age of robotics. “Start asking people what problems they’re inspired to solve and what talents they want to bring to work,” Lee says. “When you invite people to be more, they can amaze us with how much more they can be.”
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Driving in Johannesburg one day, Tapiwa Chiwewe noticed an enormous cloud of air pollution hanging over the city. He was curious and concerned but not an environmental expert — so he did some research and discovered that nearly 14 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2012 were caused by household and ambient air pollution. With this knowledge and an urge to do something about it, Chiwewe and his colleagues developed a platform that uncovers trends in pollution and helps city planners make better decisions. “Sometimes just one fresh perspective, one new skill set, can make the conditions right for something remarkable to happen,” Chiwewe says. “But you need to be bold enough to try.”
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Hacking, fake news, information bubbles … all these and more have become part of the vernacular in recent years. But as cyberspace analyst Laura Galante describes in this alarming talk, the real target of anyone looking to influence geopolitics is dastardly simple: it’s you.
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We’re on the brink of a future beyond what we can fathom — a future with driverless cars, designer babies, intelligent robots, and digital doppelgangers. Who will you choose to be in that future? How will it change you?
Here are four fascinating questions to get you thinking. See what you would choose — and ask your friends what they think too.
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