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  • [This is an improvised talk (and intro)

  • based on a suggested topic from the audience.

  • The speaker doesn't know the content of the slides.]

  • Moderator: Our next speaker --

  • (Laughter)

  • is an --

  • incredibly --

  • (Laughter)

  • Is an incredibly experienced linguist

  • working at a lab at MIT with a small group of researchers,

  • and through studying our language

  • and the way that we communicate with other people,

  • he has stumbled upon the secret of human intimacy.

  • Here to give us his perspective, please welcome to the stage,

  • Anthony Veneziale.

  • (Applause)

  • (Laughter)

  • Anthony Veneziale: You might think I know what you're going through.

  • You might be looking at me here on the red dot,

  • or you might be looking at me on the screen.

  • There's a one sixth of a second delay.

  • Did I catch myself? I did.

  • I could see myself before I turned,

  • and that small delay creates a little bit of a divide.

  • (Laughter)

  • And a divide is exactly what happens with human language,

  • and the processing of that language.

  • I of course am working out of a small lab at MIT.

  • (Laughter)

  • And we are scraping for every insight that we can get.

  • (Laughter)

  • This is not often associated with a computational challenge,

  • but in this case, we found that persistence of vision

  • and auditory intake

  • actually have more in common than we ever realized,

  • and we can see it in this first slide.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Immediately your processing goes to, "Is that a hard-boiled egg?"

  • (Laughter)

  • "Is that perhaps the structural integrity of the egg

  • being able to sustain the weight of what seems to be a rock?

  • Aha, is it in fact a real rock?"

  • We go to questions when we see visual information.

  • But when we hear information, this is what happens.

  • (Laughter)

  • The floodgates in our mind open much like the streets of Shanghai.

  • (Applause)

  • So many pieces of information to process,

  • so many ideas, concepts, feelings and, of course, vulnerabilities

  • that we don't often wish to share.

  • And so we hide,

  • and we hide behind what we like to call the floodgate of intimacy.

  • (Laughter)

  • And what might that floodgate be holding?

  • What is the dike upon which it is built?

  • Well, first off --

  • (Laughter)

  • we found that it's different for six different genotypes.

  • (Applause)

  • And, of course, we can start categorizing these genotypes

  • into a neuronormative experience and a neurodiverse experience.

  • (Laughter)

  • On the right-hand side of the screen,

  • you're seeing spikes for the neurodiverse thinking.

  • Now, there are generally only two emotional states

  • that a neurodiverse brain can tabulate and keep count of at any given time,

  • thereby eliminating the possibility for them to be emotionally, sometimes,

  • attuned to the present situation.

  • But on the left-hand side, you can see the neuronormative brain,

  • which can often handle about five different pieces

  • of emotional cognitive information at any given time.

  • These are the slight variances that you are seeing

  • in the 75, 90 and 60 percentile,

  • and then of course that dramatic difference

  • of the 25, 40 and 35 percentile.

  • (Laughter)

  • But of course, what is the neural network

  • that is helping to bridge and build these different discrepancies?

  • (Laughter)

  • Fear.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • And as we all know, fear resides in the amygdala,

  • and it is a very natural response,

  • and it is very closely linked with visual perception.

  • It is not as closely linked with verbal perception,

  • so our fear receptors often will be going off

  • in advance of any of our cognitive usage around verbal and words

  • and cues of language.

  • So as we see these fear moments,

  • we of course are taken aback.

  • We stumble in a certain direction,

  • generally away from the intimacy.

  • (Laughter)

  • Now of course, there's a difference between the male perception

  • and the female perception

  • and of trans and those who are in between, all of those as well,

  • and outside of the gender spectrum.

  • (Laughter)

  • But fear is the central underlying underpinning

  • of all of our response systems.

  • Fight-or-flight is one of the earliest,

  • some say reptilian, response to our environment.

  • How can we disengage or unhook ourselves from the horns of the amygdala?

  • (Laughter)

  • Well, I'd like to tell you the secret right now.

  • (Applause)

  • This is all making much, much too much sense.

  • (Laughter)

  • The secret lies

  • in turning our backs to one another,

  • and I know that that sounds absolutely like the opposite

  • of what you were expecting,

  • but when in a relationship you turn your back to your partner

  • and place your back upon their back --

  • (Laughter)

  • you eliminate visual cues.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • You are more readily available

  • to failing first,

  • and failing first --

  • (Laughter)

  • far outweighs the lengths we go to

  • to appeal to others,

  • to our partners and to ourselves.

  • We spend billions and billions of dollars

  • on clothing, on makeup,

  • on the latest trend of glasses,

  • but what we don't spend money and time on

  • is connecting with each other

  • in a way that is truthful

  • and honest

  • and stripped of those visual receptors.

  • (Applause)

  • (Laughter)

  • It sounds hard, doesn't it?

  • (Laughter)

  • But we want to be aggressive about this.

  • We don't want to just sit on the couch.

  • As a historian said earlier today,

  • it's important to get up and circumvent sometimes that couch.

  • And how can we do it?

  • Well yes, ice is a big part of it.

  • Insights, compassion and empathy:

  • I, C, E.

  • (Applause)

  • And when we start using this ice method,

  • well, the possibilities become much bigger than us.

  • In fact, they become smaller than you.

  • On a molecular level,

  • I believe that that insight

  • is the unifying theme

  • for every talk you have seen so far at TED

  • and will continue as we of course embark

  • on this journey here on this tiny planet,

  • on the ledge, on the precipice,

  • as we are seeing, yes, death is inevitable.

  • (Laughter)

  • Will it meet all of us at the same time,

  • I think, is the variable we are inquiring.

  • (Laughter)

  • I think that timeline gets a bit longer

  • when we use ice

  • and when we rest our backs upon one another

  • and build together,

  • leaving behind the fear

  • and working towards --

  • (Laughter)

  • they'll edit this part out --

  • (Laughter)

  • a ripened experience of love,

  • compassion,

  • intimacy based on a truth

  • that you are sharing from your mind's eye

  • and the heart that we all can touch,

  • tactilely feel,

  • have maybe potentially a mushy experience

  • that we don't just throw out because it is browned,