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I'm an American, which means, generally,
I ignore football unless it involves
guys my size or Bruno's size
running into each other at extremely high speeds.
That said, it's been really hard
to ignore football
for the last couple of weeks.
I go onto Twitter, there are all these strange words that I've never heard before:
FIFA, vuvuzela,
weird jokes about octopi.
But the one that's really been sort of stressing me out,
that I haven't been able to figure out,
is this phrase "Cala a boca, Galvao."
If you've gone onto Twitter in the last couple of weeks,
you've probably seen this.
It's been a major trending topic.
Being a monolingual American, I obviously don't know what the phrase means.
So I went onto Twitter,
and I asked some people if they could explain to me "Cala a boca, Galvao."
And fortunately, my Brazilian friends
were more than ready to help.
They explained that the Galvao bird
is a rare and endangered parrot
that's in terrible, terrible danger.
In fact, I'll let them tell you a bit more about it.
Narrator: A word about Galvao, a very rare kind of bird
native to Brazil.
Every year, more than 300,000 Galvao birds
are killed during Carnival parades.
Ethan Zuckerman: Obviously, this is a tragic situation,
and it actually gets worse.
It turns out that, not only is the Galvao parrot
very attractive, useful for headdresses,
it evidently has certain hallucinogenic properties,
which means that there's a terrible problem
with Galvao abuse.
Some sick and twisted people have found themselves snorting Galvao.
And it's terribly endangered.
The good news about this is that the global community --
again, my Brazilian friends tell me --
is pitching in to help out.
It turns out that Lady Gaga
has released a new single --
actually five or six new singles, as near as I can tell --
titled "Cala a boca, Galvao."
And my Brazilian friends tell me that
if I just tweet the phrase "Cala a boca, Galvao,"
10 cents will be given
to a global campaign
to save this rare and beautiful bird.
Now, most of you have figured out that this was a prank,
and actually a very, very good one.
"Cala a boca, Galvao" actually means something very different.
In Portugese, it means "Shut your mouth, Galvao."
And it specifically refers to this guy, Galvao Bueno,
who's the lead soccer commentator
for Rede Globo.
And what I understand from my Brazilian friends
is that this guy is just a cliche machine.
He can ruin the most interesting match
by just spouting cliche again and again and again.
So Brazilians went to that first match
against North Korea,
put up this banner, started a Twitter campaign
and tried to convince the rest of us
to tweet the phrase: "Cala a boca, Galvao."
And in fact, were so successful at this
that it topped Twitter for two weeks.
Now there's a couple --
there's a couple of lessons that you can take from this.
And the first lesson, which I think is a worthwhile one,
is that you cannot go wrong
asking people to be active online,
so long as activism just means retweeting a phrase.
So as long as activism is that simple,
it's pretty easy to get away with.
The other thing you can take from this, by the way,
is that there are a lot of Brazilians on Twitter.
There's more than five million of them.
As far as national representation,
11 percent of Brazilian internet users are on Twitter.
That's a much higher number than in the U.S. or U.K.
Next to Japan,
it's the second most represented by population.
Now if you're using Twitter or other social networks,
and you didn't realize
this was a space with a lot of Brazilians in it,
you're like most of us.
Because what happens on a social network
is you interact with the people
that you have chosen to interact with.
And if you are like me, a big, geeky, white, American guy,
you tend to interact with a lot of other geeky, white, American guys.
And you don't necessarily have the sense
that Twitter is in fact a very heavily Brazilian space.
It's also extremely surprising to many Americans,
a heavily African-American space.
Twitter recently did some research.
They looked at their local population.
They believe that 24 percent
of American Twitter users are African-American.
That's about twice as high as African-Americans
are represented in the population.
And again, that was very shocking to many Twitter users,
but it shouldn't be.
And the reason it shouldn't be is that on any day
you can go into Trending Topics.
And you tend to find topics
that are almost entirely African-American conversations.
This was a visualization done by Fernando Viegas
and Martin Wattenberg,
two amazing visualization designers,
who looked at
a weekend's worth of Twitter traffic
and essentially found that a lot of these trending topics
were basically segregated conversations --
and in ways that you wouldn't expect.
It turns out that oil spill is a mostly white conversation,
that cookout
is a mostly black conversation.
And what's crazy about this is that
if you wanted to mix up who you were seeing on Twitter,
it's literally a quick click away.
You click on that cookout tag, there an entirely different conversation
with different people participating in it.
But generally speaking, most of us don't.
We end up within these filter bubbles, as my friend Eli Pariser calls them,
where we see the people we already know
and the people who are similar to the people we already know.
And we tend not to see that wider picture.
Now for me, I'm surprised by this,
because this wasn't how the internet was supposed to be.
If you go back into the early days of the internet,
when cyber-utopians like Nick Negroponte
were writing big books like "Being Digital,"
the prediction was that the internet
was going to be an incredibly powerful force
to smooth out cultural differences,
to put us all on a common field of one fashion or another.
Negroponte started his book with a story
about how hard it is to build connections
in the world of atoms.
He's at a technology conference in Florida.
And he's looking at something really, truly absurd,
which is bottles of Evian water on the table.
And Negroponte says this is crazy.
This is the old economy.
It's the economy of moving these
heavy, slow atoms over long distances that's very difficult to do.
We're heading to the future of bits,
where everything is speedy, it's weightless.
It can be anywhere in the world at any time.
And it's going to change the world as we know it.
Now, Negroponte has been right about a lot of things.
He's totally wrong about this one.
It turns out that in many cases
atoms are much more mobile than bits.
If I walk into a store in the United States,
it's very, very easy for me to buy water
that's bottled in Fiji,
shipped at great expense to the United States.
It's actually surprisingly hard
for me to see a Fijian feature film.
It's really difficult for me to listen to Fijian music.
It's extremely difficult for me to get Fijian news,
which is strange, because actually there's an enormous amount going on in Fiji.
There's a coup government. There's a military government.
There's crackdowns on the press.
It's actually a place that we probably should
be paying attention to at the moment.
Here's what I think is going on.
I think that we tend to look a lot
at the infrastructure
of globalization.
We look at the framework that makes it possible
to live in this connected world.
And that's a framework that includes things like airline routes.
It includes things like the Internet cables.
We look at a map like this one,
and it looks like the entire world is flat
because everything is a hop or two away.
You can get on a flight in London,
you can end up in Bangalore later today.
Two hops, you're in Suva, the capitol of Fiji.
It's all right there.
When you start looking at what actually
flows on top of these networks,
you get a very different picture.
You start looking at how
the global plane flights move,
and you suddenly discover that the world isn't even close to flat.
It's extremely lumpy.
There are parts of the world that are very, very well connected.
There's basically a giant pathway in the sky
between London and New York.
but look at this map, and you can watch this
for, you know, two or three minutes.
You won't see very many planes
go from South America to Africa.
And you'll discover that there are parts of the globe
that are systematically cut off.
When we stop looking at the infrastructure that makes connection possible,
and we look at what actually happens,
we start realizing that the world doesn't work quite the same way
that we think it does.
So here's the problem that I've been interested in
in the last decade or so.
The world is, in fact, getting more global.
It's getting more connected.
More of problems are global in scale.
More of our economics is global in scale.
And our media is less global by the day.
If you watched a television broadcast in the United States in the 1970s,
35 to 40 percent of it would have been international news
on a nightly new broadcast.
That's down to about 12 to 15 percent.
And this tends to give us a very distorted view of the world.
Here's a slide that Alisa Miller showed at a previous TED Talk.
Alisa's the president of Public Radio International.
And she made a cartogram, which is basically a distorted map
based on what American
television news casts
looked at for a month.
And you see that when you distort a map based on attention,
the world within American television news
is basically reduced to
this giant bloated U.S.
and a couple of other countries which we've invaded.
And that's basically what our media is about.
And before you conclude that this is just a function of American TV news --
which is dreadful, and I agree that it's dreadful --
I've been mapping elite media like the New York Times,
and I get the same thing.
When you look at the New York Times, you look at other elite media,
what you largely get are pictures of very wealthy nations
and the nations we've invaded.
It turns out that new media
isn't necessarily helping us all that much.
Here's a map made by Mark Graham
who's down the street at the Oxford Internet Institute.
A this is a map of articles in Wikipedia
that have been geo-coded.
And you'll notice that there's a very heavy bias
towards North America and Western Europe.
Even within Wikipedias,
where we're creating their own content online,
there's a heavy bias towards the place where
a lot of the Wikipedia authors are based,
rather than to the rest of the world.
In the U.K., you can get up,
you can pick up your computer when you get out of this session,
you could read a newspaper from India or from Australia,
from Canada, God forbid from the U.S.
You probably won't.
If you look at online media consumption --
in this case, in the top 10 users of the internet --
more than 95 percent of the news readership
is on domestic news sites.
It's one of these rare cases where the U.S. is actually slightly better than [the U.K.],
because we actually like reading your media,
rather than vice versa.
So all of this starts leading me
to think that we're in a state that I refer to
as imaginary cosmopolitanism.
We look at the internet.
We think we're getting this wide view of the globe.
We occasionally stumble onto a page in Chinese,
and we decide that we do in fact have the greatest technology ever built
to connect us to the rest of the world.
And we forget that most of the time
we're checking Boston Red Sox scores.
So this is a real problem --
not just because the Red Sox are having a bad year --
but it's a real problem because,
as we're discussing here at TED,
the real problems in the world
the interesting problems to solve
are global in scale and scope,
they require global conversations
to get to global solutions.
This is a problem we have to solve.
So here's the good news.
For six years, I've been hanging out with these guys.
This is a group called Global Voices.
This is a team of bloggers from around the world.
Our mission was to fix the world's media.
We started in 2004.
You might have noticed, we haven't done all that well so far.
Nor do I think we are by ourselves,
actually going to solve the problem.
But the more that I think about it, the more that I think
that a few things that we have learned along the way
are interesting lessons for how we would rewire
if we we wanted to use the web to have a wider world.
The first thing you have to consider
is that there are parts of the world
that are dark spots in terms of attention.
In this case -- the map of the world at night by NASA --
they're dark literally because of lack of electricity.
And I used to think that a dark spot on this map
basically meant you're not going to get media from there
because there are more basic needs.
What I'm starting to realize is that
you can get media, it's just an enormous amount of work,
and you need an enormous amount of encouragement.
One of those dark spots is Madagascar,
a country which is generally better known for the Dreamworks film
than it is actually known for
the lovely people who live there.
And so the people who founded
Foko Club in Madagascar
weren't actually concerned with trying to change the image of their country.
They were doing something much simpler.
It was a club to learn English
and to learn computers and the internet.
but what happened was that Madagascar
went through a violent coup.
Most independent media was shut down.
And the high school students
who were learning to blog through Foko Club
suddenly found themselves talking to an international audience
about the demonstrations, the violence,
everything that was going on within this country.
So a very, very small program
designed to get people in front of computers,
publishing their own thoughts, publishing independent media,
ended up having a huge impact
on what we know about this country.
Now the trick with this is that I'm guessing
most people here don't speak Malagasy.
I'm also guessing that most of you don't even speak Chinese --
which is sort of sad if you think about it,
as it's now the most represented language on the internet.
Fortunately people are trying to figure out how to fix this.
If you're using Google Chrome and you go to a Chinese language site,
you notice this really cute box at the top,
which automatically detects that the page is in Chinese
and very quickly at a mouse click
will give you a translation of the page.
Unfortunately, it's a machine translation of the page.
And while Google is very, very good with some languages,
it's actually pretty dreadful with Chinese.
And the results can be pretty funny.
What you really want -- what I really want,
is eventually the ability to push a button
and have this queued
so a human being can translate this.
And if you think this is absurd, it's not.
There's a group right now in China called Yeeyan.
And Yeeyan is a group
of 150,000 volunteers
who get online every day.
They look for the most interesting content in the English language.
They translate roughly 100 articles a day
from major newspapers, major websites.
They put it online for free.
It's the project of a guy named Zhang Lei,
who was living in the United States during the Lhasa riots
and who couldn't believe how biased
American media coverage was.
And he said, "If there's one thing I can do, I can start translating,
so that people between these countries
start understanding each other a little bit better."
And my question to you is:
if Yeeyan can line up 150,000 people
to translate the English internet into Chinese,
where's the English language Yeeyan?
Who's going after Chinese,
which now has 400 million internet users out there?
My guess is at least one of them has something interesting to say.
So even if we can find a way to translate from Chinese,
there's no guarantee that we're going to find it.
When we look for information online,
we basically have two strategies.
We use a lot of search.
And search is terrific if you know what you're looking for.
But if what you're looking for is serendipity,
if you want to stumble onto something
that you didn't know you needed,
our main philosophy is to look to our social networks,
to look for our friends.
What are they looking at? Maybe we should be looking at it.
The problem with this is that essentially
what you end up getting after a while is the wisdom of the flock.
You end up flocking with a lot of people
who are probably similar to you,
who have similar interests.
And it's very, very hard to get information
from the other flocks, from the other parts of the world
where people getting together and talking about their own interests.
To do this, at a certain point,
you need someone to bump you out of your flock and into another flock.
You need a guide.
So this is Amira Al Hussaini. She is the Middle East editor for Global Voices.
She has one of the hardest jobs in the world.
Not only does she have to keep our Israeli and Palestinian contributors
from killing each other,
she has to figure out
what is going to interest you
about the Middle East.
And in that sense of trying to get you
out of your normal orbit,
and to try to get you to pay attention
to a story about someone who's
given up smoking for the month of Ramadan,
she has to know something about a global audience.
She has to know something about what stories are available.
Basically, she's a deejay.
She's a skilled human curator
who knows what material is available to her,
who's able to listen to the audience,
and who's able to make a selection
and push people forward in one fashion or another.
I don't think this is necessarily an algorithmic process.
I think what's great about the internet
is that it actually makes it much easier
for deejays to reach a wider audience.
I know Amira.
I can ask her what to read.
But with the internet, she's in a position where she can
tell a lot of people what to read.
And you can listen to her as well,
if this is a way that you're interested in having your web widened.
So once you start widening like this,
once you start lighting up voices in the dark spots,
once you start translating, once you start curating,
you end up in some really weird places.
This is an image from pretty much my favorite blog,
which is AfriGadget.
And AfriGadget is a blog that looks
at technology in an Africa context.
And specifically, it's looking at a blacksmith
in Kibera in Nairobi,
who is turning the shaft of a Landrover
into a cold chisel.
And when you look at this image, you might find yourself going,
"Why would I conceivably care about this?"
And the truth is, this guy can probably explain this to you.
This is Erik Hersman. You guys may have seen him around the conference.
He goes by the moniker White African.
He's both a very well known American geek,
but he's also Kenyan; he was born in Sudan, grew up in Kenya.
He is a bridge figure.
He is someone who literally has feet in both worlds --
one in the world of the African technology community,
one in the world of the American technology community.
And so he's able to tell a story
about this blacksmith in Kibera
and turn it into a story about repurposing technology,
about innovating from constraint,
about looking for inspiration based on reusing materials.
He knows one world,
and he's finding a way to communicate it to another world,
both of which he has deep connections to.
These bridge figures, I'm pretty well convinced,
are the future of how we try to make the world wider
through using the web.
But the trick with bridges is, ultimately,
you need someone to cross them.
And that's where we start talking about xenophiles.
So if I found myself in the NFL,
I suspect I would spend my off-season
nursing my wounds, enjoying my house, so on and so forth --
possibly recording a hip-hop album.
Dhani Jones,
who is the middle linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals,
has a slightly different approach to the off-season.
Dhani has a television show.
It's called "Dhani Tackles the Globe."
And every week on this television show,
Dhani travels to a different nation of the world.
He finds a local sporting team.
He trains with them for a week, and he plays a match with them.
And his reason for this
is not just that he wants to master Muay Thai boxing.
It's because, for him,
sport is the language
that allows him to encounter
the full width and wonder of the world.
For some of us it might be music. For some of us it might be food.
For a lot of us it might be literature or writing.
But there are all these different techniques
that allow you to go out and look at the world
and find your place within it.
The goal of my Talk here
is not to persuade the people in this room
to embrace your xenophilia.
My guess -- given that you're at a conference called TEDGlobal --
is that most of you are xenophiles,
whether or not you use that term.
My challenge instead is this.
It's not enough to make the personal decision
that you want a wider world.
We have to figure out how to rewire
the systems that we have.
We have to fix our media.
We have to fix the internet. We have to fix our education.
We have to fix our immigration policy.
We need to look at ways
of creating serendipity,
of making translation pervasive,
and we need to find ways to embrace
and celebrate these bridge figures.
And we need to figure out how to cultivate xenophiles.
That's what I'm trying to do. I need your help.
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【TED】Ethan Zuckerman: How to listen to global voices

4605 Folder Collection
Ken Wang published on August 16, 2016
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