Saturday, March 8, 2008

TED Prize

Each year TED awards prizes to three individuals, consisting of $100,000, plus a wish that the TED community is invited to help fulfil. A lunch is held each year for each winner, and attendees at the lunch are invited to write ideas on the provided cards of how they could help make the wish come true.
There were some updates on the progress of past winners:
  • Cameron Sinclair is committed to providing low-cost, sustainable, locally-appropriate buildings (homes and community buildings) in response to global social and humanitarian crises. The Open Architecture Network, at http://www.openarchitecturenetwork.orgnow boasts almost 10,000 members and 1,500 designs, that are available free of charge to be used and adapted wherever there's a need.
  • Last year, the well-known biologist and naturalist E. O. WIlson, wished for an online Encyclopedia of Life that would capture both layman and specialist information about all the species in the world. We got a peek at some remarkable software developed for navigating this web site. You can see an example of what an entry would look like at It's an ambitious wish - to catalogue fully 1M species, and the dream is taking shape, but much remains to be done, including getting the enthusiastic support of the people who now hold much of this information.
  • Jhane Noujaim wished last year to create a day where people around the world could all watch the same movies at the same time, believing that such a shared experience would bring people together, and as the saying goes at TED, would make the world a better place. Pangea Day is scheduled for May 10, the deadline for movie submission was Feb 15, and the program will be seen on television, digital cinemas, outdoor screenings and private homes, and of course mobile phones (a major reason why Nokia has come on as a sponsor).
  • It's particularly worth mentioning Bono's wish from 2005 (in that first year three wishes were granted, before the realizing that the focus of one wish was better). One of Bono's wishes was to connect every hospital, clinic and school in Ethiopia to the Internet. After a TED delegation visited Ethiopia and met with many governmental, health and educational people, it was concluded that this was not an effective, or welcome, way to help, and that wish is no longer being worked on. It was good to see that thoughtful deliberation is applied ot all these wishes. THe TED conference in Tanzania last year was partly a desire to help in Africa by connecting and showcasing the best of what's going on there - addressing Bono's motications, if not his exact wish.

I'll tell you in a future post about this year's winners.

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