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TED: The Future We Will Create (DVD Review)

16 Dec, 2007 By: John Latchem


Street 12/18/07
$26.95 two-DVD set
Not rated.
Narrated by Daphne Zuniga.

The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference serves as an annual gathering of innovators reaching for the future, and a forum for networking to see how different ideas can be shaped and combined to improve lifestyles or provide practical solutions for a variety of problems.

The four-day event, for which 1,000 invitees paid $4,400 each for the privilege to attend, provides a stage for 40 speakers who get 18 minutes each to discuss anything they want. Topics range from technology demonstrations to sociological data to lectures on quantum physics, with some unique musical performances thrown in for good measure. The conference also awards a TED Prize, which grants three winners $100,000 each and lets them state a wish that would change the world, hopefully inspiring others in attendance to help.

Actress Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, “Melrose Place”), with co-director Steven Latham, chronicles the 2006 conference as an example of what TED has been doing for more than 20 years. This approach, as opposed to tracing the evolution of the conference's impact on global society over that time, lets the film hone in on a singular theme: problems affecting us on a global scale.

Among the speakers: global health professor Hans Rosling's investigation of how low fertility in industrialized nations correlates to higher life expectancy since 1962; computer scientist Nicholas Negroponte's quest to put a $100 laptop in the hands of every student in America; and research scientist Jeff Han's new fully interactive touchscreen computer.

The DVD includes the full video of several presentations, and an update of the 2006 TED Prize wishes.

Al Gore was on hand to give the global warming speech from An Inconvenient Truth. His presentation isn't included, since his DVD is readily available. But Gore's presence sets up a humorous moment. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins throws out a list of excuses people make about not achieving their goals, Gore adds “The Supreme Court.” Robbins calls him out, telling him the Supreme Court was not the main reason he lost, and that he could have won convincingly had he emotionally connected with people the way he does when discussing climate change.


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