The theme was Dream. Because dreams matter. And TED2016 was dedicated to the greatest dreams we are capable of dreaming. Our event covered two sessions out of a week of mind-altering, breath-taking, awe-inspiring ideas. As promised, it was a week to stare hard at humanity’s toughest challenges, to listen to our greatest thinkers, artists and storytellers. A week to stir the blood.
The sessions we selected lived up to every expectation.
We closed with Session 6 — titled Code Power — a mental bow to the pervasiveness of code in our world. See the recaps below, in chronological order.
Linus Torvalds transformed technology not once, but twice. First, with the Linux kernel, which helps power the Internet; and again, with Git, the powerful source code management system used by software developers worldwide. ‘I’m not a visionary,” he says “I’m an engineer… I want to fix the pothole that’s right in front of me before I fall in.”
Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, presented an inspiring talk about the work that she does to fix the broken code of society. Lamenting the “bravery deficit” in girls, she highlighted the fact that where boys often say “There’s something wrong with my code,” girls would say “There’s something wrong with ME.”
Mary Norris, known as the Comma Queen, has been copy-editor for The New Yorker for three decades.The goal of copy-editors, she says, is not just to prevent mistakes but to give each thought emphasis. Mary upholds the rules of grammar and style, but far above that, she aims to “make the author look good.”
R. Luke DuBois is an artist who codes. He makes unconventional portraits using data. In one of his works, a gun fires a blank every time a 911 call reports a shooting. “You call this data visualization,” he says. “When you do it right, it’s illuminating. When you do it wrong, it’s anesthetizing. It reduces people to numbers. So watch out.”
Meron Gibtrtz opens his talk with this powerful line: “Today’s computers are so amazing, we fail to recognize how terrible they are.” He and his team at Meta are working on changing that. Using a combination of augmented reality and holograms, they are creating a more natural computer where “You are the operating system.”
Raffaello D’Andrea is an autonomous systems expert who develops quadcopters and other flying craft that can reliably coordinate and carry loads, autonomously build tensile structures, and cope with disturbances. On stage, he demos a range of these machines to give us a dazzling glimpse of what propelled flying will soon be like.