7 TED Talks you should watch if you want to succeed in the tech world

Important technological discoveries are made every day. Staying current and understanding the modern tech community is vital to one’s entrepreneurial or scientific success. Thankfully, it’s easy (and entertaining) to stay abreast of the strides being made with TED Talks. The Talks can be watched in a single sitting, and usually only take up 10 to 40 minutes of your time on average. It’s nearly impossible to come up with an excuse not to watch them.

Whether you’re a sponge for innovation or you own a business involving tech, you’ll benefit from the occasional TED Talk. Here are seven that are sure to educate and inspire you.

Image from Waterville Opera House.

Chris Milk: How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine

Chris Milk, a former music video director, shares his inspiring story about how he uses virtual reality to tell emotional stories about the human experience, and how this virtual reality creates empathy in its users.  In his Talk, Milk states that “…the true power of virtual reality. It’s not a video game peripheral. It connects humans to other humans in a profound way that I’ve never seen before in any other form of media. And it can change people’s perception of each other. And that’s how I think virtual reality has the potential to actually change the world.” For anyone questioning the human side to technology, this video is essential.

Fei-Fei Li: How we’re teaching computers to understand pictures

This TED Talk features Fei-Fei Li, a computer vision expert. She discusses the fact that computers have made strides in being able to identify elements in pictures but also mentions how computers are on the way to being able to understand what they are identifying—just like humans can. Fei-Fei is full of incredible insight and teaches viewers about the work it takes to make this important idea come to life.

Rana El Kaliouby: This app knows how you feel—from the look on your face

This Talk makes an important point about how our devices, the things we hold and use on a daily basis, have no idea what we are feeling emotionally. However, scientist Rana El Kaliouby plans to change that. She showcases a demo of a program that can read facial expressions. This Talk enlightens users by showing a new type of technology that could change the way that humans interact with technology.

Nick Bostrom: What happens when our computer get smarter than we are?

This TED Talk dives deep into the discussion of just how smart our computers are, and what is going to happen to us and the world as their intelligence continues to advance. Nick Bostrom believes that our computer will one day overtake us, and says that “machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make.”

Mallory Soldner: Your company’s data could end world hunger

We all know that corporations donate to charity from time to time, but what if your company could help save the world with their data, instead? Mallory Soldner teaches viewers how companies can solve real-world problems by donating their untapped data—it’s a way to donate something useful and get one step closer to solving some of the world’s biggest issues.

Christopher Soghoian: Your smartphone is a civil rights issue

Privacy expert Christopher Soghoian discusses how the smartphones we all use can determine how closely we are being monitored. This Talk discusses the security divide with the world’s leading mobile devices and mentions how it is not only a cyber-security issue, but a civil rights issue as well. In the video he states,  “If the only people who can protect themselves from the gaze of the government are the rich and powerful, that’s a problem. This talk is sure to be insightful for all smartphone users.

Chris Urmson: How a driverless car sees the road

I’m sure you have seen the self-driving cars being tested around the Valley; but do we know how they work? Chris Urmson goes in-depth on the topic of how these cars function and know what to do next while on the road. This talk focuses on how the driver is statistically the most unreliable part of the car, and how these self-driving cars are aiming to remove humans from the driver seat.

Listening to a TED Talk during your commute or out by the pool may just motivate and inspire you enough to make the next great stride. What tech TED Talks do you love?

Katherine Sorensen

Author: Katherine Sorensen

Katherine is a writer who holds a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University and works for Coplex, a local startup studio. In her spare time, Katherine can be found writing poetry, reading graphic novels, and watching Friends on Netflix for the 8th time in a row.

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