17 July, 2010

TED session 12: Waging Peace

And so to the last session - as always, it's gone so fast and the combination of TED miasma, overload and sheer fatigue creates a unique altered state that takes a day or two to subside - hence the famous 'TED crash'.

Julian Assange, Whistle blower
Julian founded and runs Wikileaks, the website that invites whistle-blowers globally to send in their stuff, check it and then publishes the classified documents. This is powerful: their activity changes the outcome of the Kenyan election. They are struggling for the resources to grow (their people have to be very well qualified). The TED audience voted him a hero rather than a villain, though clearly his organisation is walking a fine line and could cause great damage as well as do great good. He seems to have a firm hand and care about this, however.

Stefan Wolff, Ethnic conflicts scholar
Ethnic conflict and civil war has declined in frequency by 30% over the last 20 years. However ceasefires are no guarantee of peace.We must have leadership, civil society, diplomacy and also well designed institutions if we are to keep this decline happening.

If we embrace complexity and use good visualisation techniques we will discover that there is clarity and simplicity on the other side. Complexity is not complication. Patterns are the guide to understanding.

William Perrin, Community activist
He is Blair's former web advisor, and lives near Kings Cross in a rough area, and (like a growing number of local communities in the UK) is using the web as a tool for community action to improve the local environment and funnel community pressure for change to the authorities. He proposed a charter for government (still locked in a post/telephone world) about the Internet:
1 make the Internet into the primary communication medium
2 train people who don't know how to use it
3 change all the institutions to make them web-compatible
Agreed - though I was sitting next to him and he could not stop accessing Twitter on computer/smartphone throughout others' talks (which is against TED rules) so he may be a little hooked on this stuff!

Mallika Sarabhai, Dancer, actor, activist
Absolutely brilliant combination of dance, acting, poetry and political message - of woman moving into her full power and glory.

Zainab Salbi, Activitst and social entrepreneur
Quote: "War is not about sound; it's about the silence of humanity." Women understand war as well as men - if not better, since they are so often victims of it and they are primary in the healing from it, often the only way hatred can be stopped from cycling through the generations through their good influence on their children. So why are women excluded from peace negotiations? We must support women if we are to have peace.

And that's it. 700 semi-conscious TEDsters with fried brains file out to go punting and say goodbye for another year. It's been a fine TED for me: some highs and lows as always, and much to absorb over the coming days and weeks. For me right now, the mushroom replacement for styrofoam, the luminous Elif Shafak, the inspiring Jessican Jackley and Sugata Mitra and the thought-controlled computer were the standouts among many great talks. 

Now to process dozens and dozens of business cards... if only there were an iPhone app to take pictures of them and get them straight into Contacts. I gather Google has such a thing on the Android so maybe it won't be long.

So long to TED until July 2011.

Posted via email from Julian Treasure's posterous


  1. Thanks for all the updates, was great getting highlights.

    Here are just a couple of iPhone apps that let you photograph your business-cards and use OCR (optical Character Recognition) to 'read' the information and add it to your contact list as you had hoped to do.



  2. thanks julian - yes i was merrily tweeting away - didn't know it was against the rules !

    if you are interested in the negative aspects of sound have a look at the noise pollution case i spoke about at TED


  3. Thanks William - TED is a world of its own and some of the rules are unguessable. They all come from a good heart through - as did your talk. Great to hear of a successful anti-noise case like CEMEX. I congratulate you for an example that can give inspiration to millions of others facing similar problems. The WHO estimates that 2% of Europe's population is suffering severe sleep disruption due to noise - which is over 16m people! So more power to you and any else who takes on this huge issue.

  4. Thanks to Anonymous for the iPhone card reader suggestions. Actually on researching the one I chose is CamCard, which is working very well. Hooray!


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