An avenue of ways

Tedx Sf Notes And Thoughts

2017 TedX

My mother-in-law and wife gave me a great gift, tickets to this years TEDx SF. What follows are some notes and thoughts on the conference. The opportunity to step outside of the day-to-day tech mind space and explore various topics with thought leaders was enthralling. The frontier of what is possible due to ever cheaper technology, scalable distributed learning, and the passion for making a better side in the future is truly inspiring.

Quentin Hardy Do fear and compassion drive social progress? Where is the fear today about what is next?


Atul Butte Quantified Self: Learning is precise, doesn’t matter if data is roughly inaccurate. Feedback cycles between devices collecting and analysis/interpretation, does this have to be a human? Probably. De-identification. Data visualization of people moving between sickness states, then identify the percentage of likely held in that state. Idea: ResistBot style ‘get my medical records’ and forward to another service?

Andrew Hessel We can program cells today (Autodesk is doing this?) Synthetic yeast project. Human Genome 2? Mainly focused on synthetic biology, scientists weren’t sharing. GP-write

Neil Grimmer Can you personalize food? Habit company personalizing food?

Matthew Sweeney Smart to start with medicine delivery, clear need, urgent and tool to break through regulation. Cardiac arrest, deliver defibrillators via drones.

Sebastian De Halleux Ocean data is scarce, but what are we trying to measure, could it predict hurricanes? Neat approach to solar sensors.


Rebecca Altman Plastics usage lifespan, refrigerators to lids for coffee cups. Polystyrene being eaten by plankton and eventually ending up inside us. 8.3B metric tons of plastic. In 4 generations plastics have changed significantly - why are we so locked into disposable plastics?

Matthew Roszak Golem? Civic? Every tribe can tokenize their economy, award points, incentivize early adopters. SpaceChain?

Arthur Breitman Keynesian game - shilling point - if communication is expensive, they will find a solution. Like all currencies, people have to accept it, abide by the rules, based on the shilling point. Lots of active research, why? # of Arxiv papers. How do you move the shilling point? Forks are one approach. Play for legitimacy, using authority to creating that (Satoshi says). Forks are like a game of chicken, not an effective way to do governance. Focus on the common parts, we all have to innovate, how? Has to be merit focused, otherwise you get shilling points.

Mar Cabra CableGate, PanamaPaper, Record numbers of leaks and document dumps. Sharing is not the natural step for journalists. Federation is the only way to deal with the amount of data that is produced. Since everything is logged, this just gets harder. Pulitzer’s prize for Panama Paper, all made possible but the ICIJ. How do we archive and verify?

Gabe Zichermann 832m people are alcoholics? Everyone is an addict, the dopamergic loop makes us survive and push our lineage forward. Addiction treatments are really poor, need to think about it like preventative treatment, how to vaccinate people? Onward does this with Chatbot, AI. Own AI to block other gamified attempts to hi-jack your behavior or consciousness.


Jane Metcalf Partnership of Biome, Josiah the Oden crispr at home hacker, crazy ethical complications. Biohacker and citizen scientists exploring solutions, NIST is interested. We can be afraid or curious. Video games for ADHD? Synthetic Biology. Mango Materials, was methane to textiles. Already changing humans, selecting out mental health traits. “Unnatural selection”, germ-line editing. So much mis information in food, social echo tribal chamber. “NoGMO” on Salt, so ridiculous, FUD. Date to change your mind. What kind of species are we designing?

Joon Yun Homeostatic capacity goes away over life, need to change what we measure. Heart rate doesn’t change, but response to exercise - need some temporal resolution on diagnostics. Capacity building, try to prop stuff up (like blood pressure medicine). Make the body stronger what about giving blood pressure increasing medicine instead of lowering. Interesting thought about gene evolution works in death, but for knowledge. Stretch your range, we’re only species that goes towards the medium. Exercise different times of the day, different things. Meditate and Exhilarate. Increase dynamic range. Happy and Sad. Improve on Stage. Functional Longevity.

Elaine Fong What do you do when you are asked to design death? Death with Dignity in Washington, but Dr said “no” to sign off it. Easy to think of design as asthetics. But it’s a means of communication. DwD requires design because it requires discussion, a shared language, with a common goal. How difficult does a system need to be to say you want to die. Death is a universal experience, conversation we all have to have.

Nick Adkins Pinksocks gifting is cool, neat to see burning man ideas percolating.

Fran Guijaro What other words are like the SF fog, hiding stories. Homelessness is one, what are others?

Jack Gallant 1/3 of brains are the same in functional areas, 2/3’s are not. FMRI is spatial, EEG is temporal. Will be there soon!

Dan Everett Language is the first and best technology, homo erectus was around for 2m years 1/4 of sapiens. They explored. Even with only 11 sounds, they could communicate with only 2 (1,0 analogy). 3 signs. Indexes to physical world, Icon physical resemblance, Symbol culturally determined. G1, G2, G3 grammars. G1 is ordered word “drink, drive, jail”, G2 is hierarchical, G3 hierarchy and recursion. All animals communicate, but only humans use language.

Richard Socher counting blood cells, sentiment analysis, 2-iter DNM.


Omoju Miller Knowledge is acquired not infused, like you extend a building. Knowledge to come into your life, logical form and emotional form. Myth of innate ability.