Top 4 TED Talks – August Edition

This post is a little late in the offing. There’s been a lot going on and I will tell you all about it soon, but first – the four TED talks that made me a tad bit wiser in August.

Why is colonialism (still) romanticized? | Farish Ahmad-Noor : Sometimes it is a great orator, sometimes it’s a great lesson and when both combine, they sound something like this. Farish Ahmad-Noor opens our eyes to how despite thinking we’ve come so far, we really haven’t because of our tendency to romanticize the past. The ideas of colonial capitalism continue to define our thinking, our actions and our dreams. We never question how we have developed our view of nature, our identity and our image of everything around us. We need not be trapped by history; we need not be the victims of history. Maybe now is the time to finally question why we think the way we do.

Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman: Forever now, countries have realized that poverty is a hindrance to development and yet all proposed solutions fail. Providing education or life skills does little to battle the scarcity mindset. We, in the same situation, would make the same poor decisions. Margaret Thatcher was wrong. Poverty is not a personality defect and as long as we think of it as one, we are never going to solve it. The solution is seemingly simple. Give them the money to pull them out of the depths of poverty – a solution that is actually much cheaper than we believe. “Guaranteed basic income” is a good idea. The only question is – why has it not been accepted yet?

3 principles for creating safer AI | Stuart Russell: Humans are fast losing out to AI. In our race to create an intelligent ally, we might end up creating a generation of robots that are far more intelligent than we are. Is this a good thing? I am not so sure. This isn’t me being paranoid but understanding that if we design poorly, every worst nightmare will come to life. We are already living one nightmare and I do not want to witness another. Unfortunately, I have seen AI being built and not a single one I know follows any of these principles. Yet, once we hear these rules (altruism, humility and observing human choices), they seem obvious. Spare 18 minutes and watch this video.

A new stock exchange focused on the long-term | Michelle Greene: The time is ripe for businesses to rethink existing models and a new stock exchange might be the unexpected answer. This eye opening talk discusses the drawbacks of the traditional stock exchange that focuses on quarterly reports and short term orientation. As organizations begin to take on roles traditionally held by government and accept responsibility for the society, a new form of legal contract is a promising start. I am personally rooting for the long term stock exchange (LTSE) and can’t wait for it to make the world a better place; because I believe it truly can.

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