3 TEDx talks you need to watch if you use the Internet

The Internet. We all use it. You could be using it right now. Those who follow Silicon Valley’s aristocracy have seen it glorified as the real land of the free — the setting of a self-regulating, radically open, data-dense, utopian wonderland built on the tenants of hacker culture. But is it really that great? Maybe. But it’s also riddled with problems.

Below: The struggle to own the Internet’s future… The fight against trolls… What crowdsourcing isn’t good for…


The battle for power on the Internet: Bruce Schneier at TEDxCambridge

A civil war wages for the Internet. As large institutions, like governments and corporations, try to restrict online behavior, tech-adept Internet cowboys fight for a sovereign world wide web. But if you’re not in either group, and you’re not a world-class coder, you may currently stand in the crossfire. Security expert Bruce Schneier examines your fate and offers three suggestions that could get you out of this unharmed.

The problem with “Don’t Feed the Trolls”: Steph Guthrie at TEDxToronto
As anyone who’s ever been on YouTube knows, Internet trolls are prolific. Racism and sexism are their bread and butter, and their indiscriminate vitriol has led to the blanket mantra, “Don’t feed the trolls!” Steph Guthrie calls that attitude into question. Arguing that the Internet should never be a safe place for prejudice, she urges us to reject the honorific of “troll” and treat vulgar commenters as bona fide bigots.


Can we really trust the crowd? Jens Krause at TEDxGhent

Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, blah, blah, blah. A lot of Internet elite like to espouse the “wisdom of the crowd,” quite a few TED and TEDx speakers included. But Jens Krause has made a life of studying how crowds, or swarms, make decisions. It turns out that crowds can make terrible decisions sometimes, depending on the type of problems they’re facing. Whether you’re about to launch a big crowd-sourced project at work or simply trying to find the best place to eat tonight, his results are worth knowing.

The TEDx YouTube channel reaches its 100 millionth video view! 5 great moments in TEDx Talks history

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4 years of TEDx Talks views

Spring has been an exciting season for TEDx. In March, the program celebrated its 4th birthday; and now — just two months later — we’re excited to announce that the TEDx YouTube channel has reached its 100 millionth video view.

In 2009, the TEDx program was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading," to empower individuals, communities and organizations to bring ideas to the local level, with independent organizers curating TED-like events all over the world. Now, with over 6,000 events having taken place (with at least one on every continent!) and 30,000 talks online, TEDx is truly a global movement.

So, how did we get to 100 million views? Well, one, through the hard work of TEDx’s ever-expanding network of volunteers, who put on amazing events because they believe in the power of ideas. And, two, because of you, dear video viewers, curious enough about the world around you to watch talks about things like the fruit fly brain, the economic system of Trindad and Tobago, and the very best way to use a paper towel.

And, now, to celebrate this milestone: 5 great moments in TEDx Talks history…

image1. A 12-year-old app developer: Thomas Suarez at TEDxManhattanBeach
Thomas Suarez was just 9 years old when he taught himself how to build iPhone apps, and only 12 when his talk at TEDxManhattanBeach went viral. Currently, Thomas’s talk had one of the biggest spikes in viewership in TEDx history.

image2. How to 3D print a house: Behrokh Khoshnevis at TEDxOjai
After Behrokh Khoshnevis’s TEDxOjai talk on the possibility of a house constructed completely by machine was posted on Reddit last August,  views on YouTube exploded. Currently, the Reddit thread has 1,249 comments, which make up some very interesting conversations. Check it out here.

image3. Seeing beyond my suffering: Ali Taleb Almarrany at TEDxSanaa
Only two months after its upload, Ali Taleb Almarrany’s talk at TEDxSanaa on overcoming obstacles to become a successful TV journalist became the TEDxTalks YouTube channel’s 6th most viewed talk ever. Pretty impressive.

image4. There are no women’s issues: Jackson Katz at TEDxFiDiWomen
Jackson Katz’s powerful TEDxFiDiWomen talk on violence and sexual assault made waves on the Internet after Upworthy featured it on their homepage, claiming that it “might turn every man who watches it into a feminist.”

image5. The First Taste: Saatchi & Saatchi at TEDxSydney
Probably the most adorable upload on the TEDxTalks YouTube channel to date, The First Taste, produced by the folks at Saatchi & Saatchi, has already been featured by Good Morning America, The Huffington Post, and Mediabistro — just weeks after premiering at TEDxSydney. The video shows 7 youngsters trying foods for the first time, from anchovies to Vegemite. As our talks manager says, “Cute kids always win.” 


[At TED], we have found over the last few years that all the best things that have been done have been done by the community at large. When you open up and let the crowd contribute, amazing things happen.Our first experience was with giving the talks away (on YouTube). People shared the talks and it flew all over the Internet, and suddenly lots of people knew about TED that didn’t before. So far from the big risk of giving away our crown jewels, we ended up with an event that a lot of people are talking about.With TEDx, it was another attempt to tap into and empower our global community. Even though it sounds risky to give away your brand, by offering these free licenses with a clear set of rules of what they can and can’t do, we thought it was worth the risk. We have been totally amazed by how many people have taken up the chance to hold their own TEDx event and in general how amazing in quality those events are.We average about seven TEDx events a day now. You could not build an organization that could run 2,000 conferences a year by itself, certainly not in three years.

— TED Curator Chris Anderson talking with SFGate about TED and TEDx.
Photo via Brian Doyle

[At TED], we have found over the last few years that all the best things that have been done have been done by the community at large. When you open up and let the crowd contribute, amazing things happen.

Our first experience was with giving the talks away (on YouTube). People shared the talks and it flew all over the Internet, and suddenly lots of people knew about TED that didn’t before. So far from the big risk of giving away our crown jewels, we ended up with an event that a lot of people are talking about.

With TEDx, it was another attempt to tap into and empower our global community. Even though it sounds risky to give away your brand, by offering these free licenses with a clear set of rules of what they can and can’t do, we thought it was worth the risk. We have been totally amazed by how many people have taken up the chance to hold their own TEDx event and in general how amazing in quality those events are.

We average about seven TEDx events a day now. You could not build an organization that could run 2,000 conferences a year by itself, certainly not in three years.

— TED Curator Chris Anderson talking with SFGate about TED and TEDx.

Photo via Brian Doyle