If you’re a geek then you probably already know too well how incredible TED Talks can be. Whether you’re into science, math, economics, or something else entirely, there is a TED Talk that will get you feeling inspired. We have found the best of the best, with 10 TED Talks every geek must watch.
Talk Nerdy to Me – Melissa Marshall
Filmed back in June 2012 this is still one of the greatest geek TED Talks of all time; it also has nearly 1.5 million views to prove it. Melissa Marshall is a communications teacher and an expert in helping people get their point across. Her skills in communication certainly excel in this video, in which she brings a message to all scientists around the world. She wants them to know that the public are interested in what science has to say, but we need to be able to understand it. Melissa explains how she first came across this problem when having to teach communications to engineering students, and how it gave her the idea to work with scientists to help simplify things. She shares some awesome tips on how to present complex subjects in a less complex way. Something all of us geeks could probably learn a thing or two about!
Robots That Fly and Cooperate – Vijay Kumar
Autonomous agile aerial robots – now that is something every geek can get behind! This TED Talk may have been filmed back in 2012 but it is the perfect insight into robotics, both then and now. After all, look how popular drones have become. Vijay Kumar is a roboticist, and a good one at that. He isn’t just taking the stage to talk about how great his robots are, however, he is there to discuss the future of robotics and technology. His autonomous agile aerial robots have a true purpose in the world today; they can be used for construction, they can be used to survey disasters, they can be used to help change the way our planet works. These little robots can swarm together, sense each other, and do a lot of things that we still don’t see happening 3 years done the line. Vijay is a true genius, a fellow geek, and someone who can command a stage well enough for us all to take interest. No wonder this TED Talk has over 3.4 million views and counting.
The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen – Hans Rosling
Hans Rosling is one of the most renowned TED Talkers of all time. His videos have tens of millions of views between them; this one has over 9.4 million alone. He’s a genius when it comes to stats, a global health visionary, and a data expert. He’s basically the ultimate geek. The reason we picked this one out of his many videos is simply because it was pegged as the number one TED Talk of all time by an even more ultimate geek; Bill Gates. If you get a real kick out of numbers then you’ll thoroughly enjoy any video by Hans Rosling, however this is easily one of his best. You will never see data presented to you in any way like this and his speech has a message too. What do we really know about this so-called developing world? Immerse yourself into this geeky data-fest and see what you think.
Meet the SixthSense Interaction – Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry
Prepare to have your mind blown with this TED Talk by Pattie Maes, featuring Pranav Mistry. Here they introduce you to the SixthSense, a project the pair have been working on in Pattie’s lab at MIT. This genuinely feels like something from another world, or at least from a sci-fi film set in the future. The clever technology consists of a projector, a camera, a battery and some finger markers. Pattie says that this equipment was just cobbled together and cost no more than $350. Now watch as Pranav guides you through what this incredible piece of kit can do, all in a video behind Pattie. You won’t believe that this TED Talk was given back in 2009. It does mean only 4 more years until it should (technically) be finished. Then every geek in the world is going to rush out and buy a SixthSense. We know we will be!
The Astounding Athletic Power of Quadcopters – Raffaello D’Andrea
Look, we’re geeks, so we’re going to be showing you a lot of robotic technology in this list of the ultimate geeky TED Talks. We have already seen autonomous agile aerial robots in one video, but how about the astounding athletic power of these quadcopters? These flying robots can think like athletes, whilst also being able to solve physical problems using algorithms that help them learn even more. These little drones have been around for quite some time, but you will never have seen anything like what Raffaello D’Andrea is about to show you. These quadcopters can balance, work together and even play catch. This TED Talk was recorded back in 2013 and you can already get drones that do a small fraction of what you see in this video. Not long and we may have astounding athletic quadcopters that learn as they fly.
Questioning the Universe – Stephen Hawking
No geeky TED Talk video is going to be complete without the genius that is Stephen Hawking. With nearly 7 million views since it was recorded in 2008, it is also one of the most watched TED Talks of all time. Questioning the universe features Stephen Hawking asking us all some big questions about the universe we live in. He wants to question how the universe began and how human life began, along with whether we are truly alone in this vast stretch of space. He may not have all of the answers but he does pose some interesting methods on how we may go about answering these questions. There is no denying that Stephen Hawking is a true genius when it comes to time and space, so this is a must-watch if that kind of thing ticks all of your geeky buttons. In fact, even if it doesn’t, just watch it anyway; you won’t be disappointed.
A Robot That Flies Like a Bird – Markus Fischer
We told you there would be more robot TED Talks to come! Only this one is slightly different and you’ll soon see why. These flying robots look nothing like the drones or quadcopters in some of the other geeky TED Talks we’ve looked at. They don’t move like those other robots either. This is the first robot that truly looks (and flies) like a bird. Markus Fischer is part of the team that created the SmartBird, which has been modelled on a seagull. After all, humans have always wanted to fly like birds, right? Watch as Markus explains why they decided to create a robot like this, what they want to achieve from their SmartBird, and then finally put the bird into the air. We still can’t get over the fact this was filmed in 2011. It truly is a masterpiece of technology that belongs in the future.
What’s So Funny About the Web? – Ze Frank
Ever heard of Nerdcore comedy before? If not then you’re in for a real treat. This TED Talk starts off just like a comedy routine, with Ze Frank showing exactly why he has earned his medal as a performer; and why he has performed several times at TED. True geeks and nerds will find his comical performance spot on, whilst also enjoying what he has to say on more serious matters; like his passion for helping people create simple yet addictive web tools. This may have been filmed all the way back in 2007 (that’s 8 years ago) but the comedy and the inspiration behind this TED Talk is everlasting. If anything, it will certainly give you a bit of a giggle after all of the science, math and data based talks you’ve ploughed through already. Make sure you check out his Nerdcore Comedy TED Talk from back in 2004 as well.
10 Top Time-Saving Tech Tips – David Pogue
David Pogue is a bit of a hero in the tech world; he is the technology columnist at the New York Times, a tech correspondent for CBS news, one of the best-selling authors of how-to books, and he has even penned a few ‘For Dummies’ books. When it comes to being a fully-fledged geek, David Pogue has it all. This may not be the most in-depth TED Talk of all time, and you’ll probably know most of what he says, but we’re willing to bet there’s one or two tricks in there that you don’t know. Honestly, we’re still getting over the space bar trick on web pages. Even the biggest geeks in the world are going to have their mind-blown by some of these 10 top time-saving tech tips. Over 4 million people have watched this TED Talk, so you know David must be saying something interesting!
The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain
Lastly, this is easily one of our favorite TED Talks of all time; and it’s perfect for geeks. Let’s face it, most geeks are naturally introverted and this can sometimes be a problem. Or so we think. Susan Cain talks about the power of introverts. In today’s society many people believe that being extroverted and social are the key to being a better person. However, Susan wants to look at how introverts can actually bring a ton of useful talents and abilities into this world. She doesn’t want people to be ashamed to be introverted, she wants to celebrate and encourage all of those hidden away talents. It quickly became one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time, with nearly 11 million people watching, which just goes to show there are more introverts than you think. Being a geek and being an introvert may go hand in hand, but so does being an introvert and having a creative mind…