Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's that time of year when the blood starts to tingle with anticipation of the upcoming TED conference, carefully nurtured by a string of messages from the TED group about the delights that await us.

This past year, I've relived earlier TEDs through the wonderful TED web site and enjoyed many new speakers. I've noticed more and more people discovering TED, and enjoying the stimulation of TED talks online.

The theme for this year's conference is WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW. The program introduction talks about the many complex and discouraging problems facing the world - climate change, health care or the global economy. There seems to be little to celebrate. TED hopes to 'have a different kind of conversation', with incredible people with powerful ideas. Well, we've always expected that from TED. But the hope is that these ideas, if given half a chance, could make a long-term difference to our futures. TED's not afraid of making big promises.

This year's speaker line-up looks great. There's a cluster of presentations by medical people - a couple of epidemiologists, a cancer researcher, a physician, a molecular geneticist, and a chemist developing a lab on a chip. Sir Ken Robinson is coming back, a favourite from the past. Add to that philosophers, designers, technologists, philanthropists, activists, scientists and mathematicians, and I don't think I'll be bored.