B1 Intermediate 1791 Folder Collection
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I want to start with the story of how I kind of broke the law,
and kind of manipulated thousands of people
to get what I deserved.
It's the mid 1990s, I'm 15 years old,
and ever since childhood, I wanted to become a music producer.
But I had a big problem:
music studios were luxurious and expensive,
and to make electronic music, you had to get these modules,
each module with a specific purpose.
One module would create piano sounds, another one would create echo effects,
and a third one would give you synthesizer sounds, and so on.
So, to make a full record, you had to get a bunch of these,
which quickly exceeded thousands of dollars,
money which we didn't have.
So, as I was jamming along on my cheap Casio keyboard
and surfing the web, something amazing happened.
A Swedish software company shows up, and they announce their brand new product.
They said, "With our product, you can get as many modules as you want,
you can create as many sounds and effects as you want,
in you computer."
And boy, did I get excited. Things went fast.
I quickly learned how to master every button and lever in this program,
and after a while, I had a bunch of good tracks in my repertoire.
So, I thought to myself, "Wow, my music actually sounds good now.
I am as good as the people they play on the radio."
So, I wanted to be in the record store.
But to get there, I had to get past the gatekeepers,
the big record labels deciding who can and who cannot be
on the record store shelves.
So I did what everyone told me to do: I burned my tracks on CDs,
and I sent them to the best labels in the world.
Months went by, weeks went by,
nobody answered me, and I got devastated.
But I happened to know the record industry's worst enemy.
Napster had emerged around the same time,
a software that let you share your music in mp3 files
with anyone in the world.
People got to poke around on the folders in your computer
and you got to poke around on their computers,
and download music from each other.
And every day, hundreds of people would come to my computer
and download music from me, and I quickly noticed an obvious trend.
When a famous artist had just released a new album,
people would come in droves to download that album from my computer.
So, I got an idea:
"What if I take two of my best tracks,
and I tuck them gently into the folders of other famous artist's albums?"
And I would photoshop the album covers and the backside,
and change the track lists, so to avoid suspicion.
Nobody noticed a thing,
and now, hundreds, thousands of people were downloading my music,
without even knowing it and without even wanting it.
So my music spread like wildfire, and people started to notice.
Discussion forums on the web tried to figure out,
"Why are there two tracks the album I downloaded from the web,
but in the store, I can't find these tracks on the CD?"
They wanted to know, "Who's this guy making this music?"
They actually liked my music.
So, all of a sudden, I was a semi-famous personality
in the underground music world.
So, long story short,
this little maneuver got me in contact with some important people,
and a while later, I got to sign record deals
with three of the best companies at that time.
Now, here's the irony of it all:
the same technologies - the Internet and digital music sharing -
that helped me achieve this were the same technologies
that would turn the music industry upside down and almost destroy it.
Because why would you buy a CD anymore,
when the convenient click of a mouse button
would give you the same product for a fraction of the price
and a fraction of the time?
That leads us to one of my favorite quotes, made by Ayn Rand decades ago,
but I think it's more relevant than ever.
She said, "You can avoid reality,
but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."
And before I tell you what I think this reality is,
I'll let these words from a Newsweek article in 1995 speak for themselves:
"People predict that we'll soon buy books and newspapers
straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.",
Clifford Stoll wrote, sarcastically.
In 2012, people spent USD $1 billion online per day,
during the holiday season,
and that was the same year Newsweek had to end its print run
and go all digital.
So, I know that we're all aware that technology can show up
and transform our world overnight,
but I still think that we underestimate how fast technology can come
and transform everything.
So, what if I ask you: what is the speed of technology?
Can we actually measure it?
Well, I won't be able to give you a number as an answer,
but I can tell you this:
25,000 years ago, one of the first human technologies emerged,
the art of painting and drawing.
>From then until we figured out agriculture,
it took astounding 50,000 years,
but from agriculture until we figured out writing and the wheel,
it only took 5,000 years.
>From writing and the wheel
till we figured out how to organize our societies into cities and states,
it only took 2,500 years.
And from city states till we figured out the experimental method,
only 1,900 years.
And from that to industrialism, only 325 years.
And from industrialism till we invented electricity, the telephone and the radio,
only 95 years.
And from that to the first vacuum tube computers, only 65 years.
And from primitive computers to the modern PC, only 38 years.
And from modern computing to the Internet, it only took 15 years.
And from the Internet to smartphones, the Cloud and mobile computing,
it only took 12 years.
So, do you see what's happening here?
This is what Ray Kurzweil called "The Law of Accelerating Returns,"
essentially meaning that the more advanced we become,
the faster we become at advancing.
So, the answer to "How fast is technology?" -
well, technology is an accelerating force.
The future approaches us faster and faster all the time.
Now, we've looked at technology from a historical perspective,
so let's have a quick look at what's been going on just recently.
So, scientists have developed a smartphone device
that can scan you for HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes.
Take a quick blood sample, put it in the device,
and the results will on your smartphone displays in just 15 minutes.
A research group has developed a new kind of microscope
that can give you live 3D images of body organs in live animals.
In this example, you see the beating heart of a zebra fish.
This research group has developed a handheld laser probe
that can scan the brain for brain cancer tumors
live during surgery.
And finally, NASA together with Microsoft
have combined Microsoft's HoloLens technology
with images from the Curiosity rover on Mars to give scientists on Earth
virtual access to the surface of Mars.
So, scientists can walk around, collaborate and experiment,
without going to Mars.
Now, the things I just showed you, I think they're absolutely amazing,
but what I think is almost even more amazing
is the fact that the things I just showed you
are news announced only during the last 30 days.
This is just news from the last 30 days.
That's how fast technology is progressing.
So, here we are, with the Cloud, mobile computing,
and smartphones at our fingertips,
smartphones a thousand times faster, a thousand times cheaper,
and a thousand times smaller than the computers from the 1950s.
That's a billionfold progress in just 65 years.
And we have so much more cool stuff ahead of us.
Honda is developing humanoid robots that can walk, talk,
perform everyday tasks, such as pouring drinks, serving food,
and guiding guests around the building.
And they can even communicate with three persons at the same time.
Companies, with Google on the forefront,
are developing cars that can drive themselves,
and they drive better than human beings do.
And then, we have the mind-blowing, super computer at IBM,
by the name of "Watson".
Watson was designed to understand, analyze and speak human language fluently.
And to test its capabilities,
they uploaded to it all of Wikipedia, IMDB and other databases,
and then they sent the computer to Jeopardy,
to compete against the two humans champions of the day.
So, I'd like to show a quick clip of how that went.
(Video) Host: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for being here.
What do you say we play Jeopardy? Players: Alright.
Host: Let's get right into the Jeopardy round.
These categories: a man, a plane, a canal,
eerie, chicks dig me, children's book titles,
my Michelle, "M.C." 5 and, finally, vocabulary.
Ken, you're in the first position. Please make a selection.
Ken Jennings: I'm nervous to say this on TV. Chicks dig me, for $200. (Laughter)
Host: Kathleen Kenyon's excavation of this city mentioned in Joshua
showed the walls had been repaired 17 times.
Watson: What is Jericho? Host: Correct.
Watson: $400, same category.
Host: This mystery author and her archiologist hubby
dug in hopes of finding the lost Syrian city of Urkesh.
Watson: Who is Agatha Christie? Host: Correct.
Watson: Same category, $600.
Host: At the Olduvai Gorge, in 1959, she and hubby Louis
found a 1.75 million-year-old Australopithecus boysy-eyed skull.
Watson: Who is Mary Leakey? Host: You're right.
Watson: $800, same category.
Host: Harriet Boyd Hawes was the first woman to discover and excavate
a Minoan settlement on this island. Watson?
Watson: What is Crete? Host: Yes.
Watson: Let's finish. Chicks dig me.
(Video ends) (Laughter)
Ashkan Fardost: So, for the first time in human history,
a computer has beaten us at knowledge.
And they didn't build Watson to compete on TV,
because after the show, they sent Watson to medical school.
And today, Watson is working in hospitals,
diagnosing cancer better than human doctors.
And they've put Watson on the Cloud
so that software developers around the world
can unleash the power of Watson in their apps.
So, artificial intelligence is not around the corner.
It's here and it's real, and it's here to stay.
So, you can avoid reality,
but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.
And I believe that reality is this:
when knowledge is for free, only your ideas are worth paying for.
And wow, do we need ideas now more than ever,
because the Internet was just a warm-up phase.
There's something much bigger and much more profound emerging.
It's what Neil Gross described in his 1999 article, when he said,
"In the next century, planet Earth will don an electric skin.
It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations."
Some call it "The Interne of Things."
Others call it "The Internet of Everything."
It's going to affect everything from manufacturing to education,
to finance and healthcare, and every other aspect of life.
Thought leaders are talking about a 14-trillion-dollar value at stake,
up for grabs in the coming seven years.
That's 23 times the GDP of Sweden, in value in just seven years.
I mean, think about it, computers and sensors have become so small
that we can basically connect almost everything to the Internet now, already.
And we're talking about connecting everything from our highways, our roads,
our traffic lights, our traffic signs, street lights,
to systems that can detect avalanches and forest fires before they even happen.
We're talking about systems that can monitor air pollution,
and check the well-being of the soil on our farms.
And we will even connect our own bodies using electronic skin patches and sensors
that connect directly with our doctors, healthcare institutions, and pharmacies.
But the real magic isn't that everything will be connected to the Internet.
The real magic is that everything will be able to communicate with each other.
Think about sensors in our cars and our roads
that can automatically detect a car accident.
They could automatically notify the nearest hospital
and the emergency services.
And they could tell the traffic lights and the traffic signs to redirect traffic
to make a clear path for the ambulance.
And if I'm a medical doctor and I'm nearby the accident,
the sensors could notify me too.
All of this within seconds, without human intervention.
And we can talk about the everyday, simple things of life,
like pollen sensors around the city communicating with your run keeper app,
so you can avoid jogging in pollen-heavy areas.
Or imagine your kitchen and your refrigerator keeping inventory
and ordering food for you automatically.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it's already happening.
Amsterdam is upgrading their street lights to Internet-connected LEDs.
The city of Santander is connecting their entire city step by step.
Already today, you can go on the web and check noise levels around the city,
or you can check where to find free parking spaces,
and track all the buses, and so much more.
Now, technology has the power to transform our world,
and technology is at your fingertips too,
just like technology helped me
turn my idea of becoming a music producer into reality.
Today, with devices like these,
the Arduino or the Spark Core,
you can turn any idea involving technology into reality.
And these devices are web-enabled
and they can communicate with everything on the Internet,
and to them you can connect sensors that can measure temperature,
gases, touch sensors, GPS devices, and so much more.
And the best part: you don't need any prior experience
in programming or electronics to use these.
For example, a 14-year-old kid in Chile, Sebastian Alegria,
used the Arduino to build an earthquake warning system
that was better than the Chilean government's million-dollar proposal.
And Arduino has been used in the world's first crowdfunded satellite.
And today, this is spinning around our planet,
conducting scientific experiments in space.
I used the Arduino to build wearable electronics for myself,
only after two months of practice, and I'm not a programmer,
and today, I'm using the Spark to build a pollen-detection system
for our city, for the web.
So, the world is changing, and it's changing fast,
but we need you and your ideas,
and we need you to turn them into reality,
because technology is at your fingertips too.
So we need you to turn your ideas into reality now.
Thank you.
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【TEDx】Internet of things - beyond our current imagination | Ashkan Fardost | TEDxÖstersund

1791 Folder Collection
richardwang published on November 21, 2015
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