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7 Of The Best TED Talks On Data

A collection of the best TED Talk videos on data.

Friday is always a great day to sit back and watch a few inspiring videos. For all the other data nerds out there, here’s my picks of the 7 best TED Talks on data and related technology. All the videos include Chinese subtitles, hope you enjoy, and let us know what you think.

1 - Tim Berners-Lee - The year open data went worldwide
At TED2009, Tim Berners-Lee called for “raw data now” — for governments, scientists and institutions to make their data openly available on the web. At TED University in 2010, he shows a few of the interesting results when the data gets linked up.

My Thoughts - Open sources data influences us in such a major way these days. Through on-line cooperation, people can use this type of data in many different ways. The real-time map making and application in Haiti earthquake event is really impressed. Any little thing we do may help the world change!

Read - 5 Easy Way To Learn More About Big Data


2 - David McCandless - The beauty of data visualization
David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

My Thoughts - Visualizing data with graphics makes it so much easier for people’s brains to absorb the information and digest the meaning behind the data. Information design is a fascinating new job in current era of big data era. It also reminds us to be careful how interpret that data we get. Absolute volume size and the relative value always brings us different views and angels on issues.

Read - Should You Be Visualizing With Intensity Maps?

3 - Hans Rosling - The best stats you've ever seen
You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”

My ThoughtsAlthough this one is a bit old, it’s really amazing to see data change by time, just like an animation. It tells the story by itself. The speaker also shows us how the emergent countries have changed since the 1980’s. The changing pattern of the world might not be the same as we thought. Great Talk!

Watch - How Good Is Your Data?

4 - Agüera y Arcas - Augmented-reality maps
In a demo that drew gasps at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos new augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft.

My ThoughtsMore map data and 3D imagery are now available in the public market then ever before. Working in the data industry I’ve witnessed this trend first-hand.  It’s fascinating to watch the trend or people applying maps to so many different aspects of daily life.

Read - Innovative Ways To Use Social Media Data On Maps

5 - Aris Venetikidis - Making sense of maps
Map designer Aris Venetikidis is fascinated by the maps we draw in our minds as we move around a city — less like street maps, more like schematics or wiring diagrams, abstract images of relationships between places. How can we learn from these mental maps to make better real ones? As a test case, he remakes the notorious Dublin bus map.

My Thoughts If you’re like me and have a horrible sense of direction, you’ll smile when you hear the speaker talk about how people recognize city maps in the brain. This is really a cute talk. It also helps us understand how hard it is to make a public transportation map. The job is really scientific and work of art!

Read - 5 Mapping Tools That Can Make Your Job Easier

6 - The dark side of data - Todd Humphreys - How to fool a GPS
Todd Humphreys forecasts the near-future of geolocation when millimeter-accurate GPS “dots” will enable you to find pin-point locations, index-search your physical possessions … or to track people without their knowledge. And the response to the sinister side of this technology may have unintended consequences of its own. (Filmed at TEDxAustin.)

My Thoughts  People are using GPS more and more, but there is always a phobia about being tracked. Todd talks negatively about a couple of devices and some technology that can fool or avoid GPS tracking, but I still believe that most of this technology is trying to help humans without any real bad intension. The complex part has always been humans fear of technology.

Read - How To Use Bad Data In Good Ways

7 - Gary Flake - is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?
Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web.

My Thoughts   We usually surf the webs from dot to dot, page to page. The speaker introduce an interesting new way and method to get information and pattern from millions web pages. Step back to view the pages and see the pattern to dig out the information.

By Sam Ho 
SVP, Data Intelligence

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