In 2013, TED published more than 250 talks, each with an idea worth spreading. And yet, certain ideas seemed to resonate throughout the year, as if speakers at different events were singing parts of the same choral symphony. As 2013 draws to a close, here is a look at some of the big ideas we parsed this year. Consider it the rousing finale to the year.
Humans and machines can work together to supersize growth.
At TED2013, Robert Gordon asked: Could it be that humanity’s greatest innovations are behind us? Economist Erik Brynjolfsson quickly countered, suggesting that if human beings can learn to “race with the machines” in the workplace, a major period of economic growth could be right in front of us. This idea ricocheted throughout the year: just this week, Marco Annunziata welcomed us to the age of the industrial internet, where smart machines that are…
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When I used to look at Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Brazil’s infamous shanty towns, dotting the city’s lush mountains overlooking its glorious shores, it was difficult to imagine the existence of such dire poverty. I had never seen anything like that anywhere I had been, nor had I seen anything like it in Lebanon. It seemed like an irreversible curse that a country, blessed with such beauty and with a people so happy and content with the simple pleasures in life, had to endure such injustice and inequality.
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Arthur Benjamin is perhaps the world’s leading mathemagician and, in today’s talk, he aims to show the creativity, beauty and wonder that is as much a part of math as logic. [ted_talkteaser id=1862]Stepping onto the TEDGlobal 2013 stage, Benjamin takes us on a spirited tour of the Fibonacci numbers, where the patterns to be found go far beyond simply adding two consecutive numbers to get the next. Math is the science of patterns, says Benjamin, and isn’t it incredible that as we note the arithmetical significance of this sequence, that we can also see it in action all around us?
“Fibonacci numbers appear in nature surprisingly often,” says Benjamin. “The number of petals on a flower is typically a Fibonacci number. Or the number of spirals on a sunflower or a pineapple.”
Benjamin’s talk reminds us of several other TED classics. Human beings have a proclivity for patterns, and…
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“We just want to remind people, for those who don’t know what is secularism, secularism doesn’t mean being against God, secularism is just the separation between religion and state, secularism makes all citizens equal before the law with the same rights, secularism leads us from confessionalism to citizenship.”
(Closing remarks on satirical show “CHI NN” on Lebanese Al Jadeed TV, February 4, 2013)
With raging discussions on a new electoral law and civil marriage in recent weeks, the role of religion has once again been brought to the mainstream political debate. The role of religion in politics and our daily lives is certainly nothing new in Lebanon.
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