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Top TED Talks of 2011 To Inspire Tech Startups (marksoper.net)
177 points by marksoper on Jan 4, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

CAPTCHA creator Luis von Ahn goes from a annoying text entry box to motivating a 100 million people to translate the web for free.

This guy has a great sense of humour: "How many of you have filled out a CAPTCHA? How many of you find them really, really annoying? Yeh, I invented that"

He is also an amazing professor / educator. His class at Carnegie Mellon (15-251: Great Theoretical Ideas in Computer Science) is one of the hardest yet most entertaining CS courses at CMU. One of the first assignments involves a scavenger hunt with a randomly assigned team, across campus, based on challenging algorithmic puzzles inspired from many different areas of computer science.

In one semester, he found people who were copying on their homeworks by creating a website with solutions to a problem on an early assignment. Many people fell into the trap, even after he had given a very clear disclaimer to not use search engines to solve homework problems.

What a privilege to learn from him. Sounds like a hilarious and engaging man.

In addition to these: Check this out as well. Interesting talk about how computing from one of the Wolfram brothers. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/stephen_wolfram_computing_a...

Fair warning: this page loads ten flash videos that made my browser crawl for about 15 seconds(latest Chrome on Lion)

Here they are...

10. Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education


9. Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex


8. Harald Haas: Wireless data from every light bulb AND Cynthia Breazeal: The rise of personal robots


7. Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies


6. Lee Cronin: Making matter come alive AND Skylar Tibbits: Can we make things that make themselves


5. Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED Talk ever sold


4. Luis von Ahn: Massive-scale online collaboration


3. Stefon Harris: There are no mistakes on the bandstand


2. Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement


1. JR's TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out


Smooth as silk on OSX 10.6.8 and FireFox 8.0.1 for me !

Consider setting the Click-to-play option in about:flags. It's a built-in Flashblock equivalent for Chrome.

Given all of the distractions we have today, procrastinating is easier than ever. This is why I personally enjoyed this talk about "the battle between your present and future self" - http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goldstein_the_battle_between...

Very interesting until the middle, then he talks just about aging simulation and not about a solution.

The solution is provided by the simulation: to consider your future self and how happy you will be. I found it insightful and gave me pause for thought.

Can't agree on number 4 that invented captcha's. I saw that talk and he talks how annoying captcha was and how re-captcha would be so much better because it is actually used for a purpose. There is one word they know the meaning of and they use your translation of the word that they don't know the meaning of.

It's just horrible that in a time of great motivation that they still try to push a security issue to the end user. And for me they made it even worse with re-captcha because now you have to type 2 words.

A solution would be to know which is a computer and which is a real user, it's not impossible to do so.

"A solution would be to know which is a computer and which is a real user, it's not impossible to do so."

It seems like you have revolutionary knowledge that could change the course of human history. Or you're just trolling. Since you are not pointing to any actual approaches and hundreds of thousands of engineers have not yet come up with what to you is just "a solution" that doesn't even require further specification, I will go with trolling.

Figuring out remotely whether you are dealing with "a human" without any interaction (or, particularly, interaction less than a captcha, or even -gasp!- a two word captcha) is very definitely impossible. Think about it - how do you know whether it's a human? Well, you say, the black box device that he is sitting at has made sure that he is! And how does that machine transmit data to you? Over that data line that this supposed human is sitting right next... I guess you will see where I'm going with this.

One more suggestion.

Both Damon Horowitz's talks are great:


Specially the "moral operating system". Everyone doing something with data should listen to that.

Yep, I really liked the moral operating system talk as well - really powerful stuff. There's more on it here: http://venturebeat.com/2011/05/14/damon-horowitz-moral-opera...

I recommend watching "Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex" from this list.

Makes one think of self-assured designers vs. AB testing, how trial and error is much better approach to the design of a site than God complex approach.

#1 and #2 are both very very impressive. And Roy is funny too.

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