Inspirational Talks With Far Reaching Impacts

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Sean Follmer: Shape-shifting tech will change work as we know it

Sean Follmer is a human-computer interaction researcher and designer. He is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, where he teaches the design of smart and connected devices and leads research at the intersection between human-computer interaction (HCI) and robotics. Follmer received a Ph.D. and a Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab in 2015 and 2011, respectively, and a BS in Engineering from Stanford University. He has worked at Nokia Research and Adobe Research on projects exploring the frontiers of HCI.

  • As tools have become more and more complex, we need more complex controls to control them. And so designers have become very adept at creating interfaces that allow you to manipulate parameters while you’re attending to other things.
  • The computer is fundamentally flawed , because it doesn’t really allow us to interact with our hands and capture the rich dexterity that we have in our bodies. Therefore we must create new technologies that link back to human touch.
  • Dynamic shape displays can really change the ways that we remotely collaborate with people. So when we’re working together in person, I’m not only looking at your face but I’m also gesturing and manipulating objects.


Wael Ghonim: Let’s design social media that drives real change

Wael Ghonim is a computer engineer, an Internet activist, and a social entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Parlio, a new media platform for public conversations that rewards civility. Wael is a senior fellow at Ash Center for Democratic Governance at Harvard University. Wael spent 6 years at Google during which he used to head up Marketing and Product in the MENA region responsible of driving the growth of Google’s products across the region and evangelizing the use of the Internet and growing the Arabic content in the region.

  • Today, our social media experiences are designed in a way that favors broadcasting over engagements, posts over discussions, and shallow comments over deep conversations.
  • Social media is a crucial tool in campaigns. can help a decentralized movement arise. It can make people realize that they were not alone.
  • Due to social media we tend to only communicate with people that we agree with,and thanks to social media, we can mute, un-follow and block everybody else.
  • Because of the speed and brevity of social media,we are forced to jump to conclusions and write sharp opinions in 140 characters about complex world affairs.


Dambisa Moyo: Economic growth has stalled. Let’s fix it

Dambisa Moyo’s work examines the interplay between rapidly developing countries, international business, and the global economy — while highlighting opportunities for investment. She has travelled to more than 60 countries over the past decade, studying the political, economic and financial workings of emerging economies, in particular the BRICs and the frontier economies in Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Her latest book, Winner Take All: China’s Race for Resources and What It Means for the World, looks at how commodities markets influence much more than the global economy — and examines the possible consequences of China’s unprecedented rush for commodities such as oil, minerals, water, and food, including the looming specter of commodity-driven conflict.

  • Unless and until we solve economic growth and create sustainable, long-term economic growth, we’ll be unable to address the seemingly intractable challenges that continue to pervade the globe today, whether it’s health care, education or economic development.
  • Developed economies continue to see debts and deficits, the decline and erosion of both the quality and quantity of labor and they also see productivity stalling.
  • 90% of the world’s population lives in emerging markets, on average, 70 percent of the population is under the age of 25.   In these countries, it is essential that they grow at a minimum of seven percent a year in order to put a dent in poverty and to double per capita incomes in one generation.
  • Economic growth matters powerfully for the individual. If growth wanes, the risk to human progress and the risk of political and social instability rises, and societies become dimmer, coarser and smaller.


Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

Andy Puddicombe wants you to take a break — not just from work, but from your own mind, which is so full of anxieties about the world and anxieties about its own anxieties. To help you do that, Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, co-founded Headspace, a project to make meditation more accessible to more people in their everyday lives. Puddicombe also writes prolifically for the Huffington Post and the Guardian, on the benefits of mindful thinking for healthy living.

  • We are so distracted that we’re no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things that are most important to us, and the crazy thing is that everybody just assumes,that’s the way life is, so we’ve just kind of got to get on with it.
  • On average, our minds are lost in thought almost 47% of the time. 47% at the same time, this sort of constant mind-wandering is also a direct cause of unhappiness.