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11 TED Talks Every Web Developer Must Watch

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Written By: Rachel Sanders

The internet is constantly evolving as web developers watch with interest. New ideas and software are moving to the forefront, and the most respectable websites are looking to develop and adopt the latest technologies. The way we use the internet in the future will be dependent on the knowledge and skills of web developers, both of which are vastly different than they were several years ago, as evidenced by a couple of the videos below. The following TED Talks provide inspiration and insight for those who can’t wait to contribute to the next big thing.

  1. Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Google: Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, revolutionized the way we use the internet. Both are still working to ensure their company remains the leading search engine. Their desire to foster innovation is evident and exciting given everything they’ve already accomplished.
  2. Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the web: The future of the web is almost unimaginable considering how far we’ve come in the first 5,000 plus days of its existence. Kevin Kelly, the founding executive of Wired magazine, speculates about its evolution. For example, he predicts it will exceed humanity in processing power by 2040, and the web, a great big machine, will essentially become an extension of humans.
  3. Tim Berners-Lee on the next web: The man who invented the world wide web understands it still has huge potential, and many great ideas have gone unfulfilled. His focus now is on linked data and making web surfing more transparent.
  4. Tim Berners-Lee: The year open data went worldwide: Berners-Lee’s cry for "raw data now" in the previous year’s Talk was heard loud and clear, and we’re beginning to see what he intended. We’re now able to gain insight into social patterns anywhere in the world by piecing together data and producing a visualized result.
  5. Gary Flake: is Pivot a turning point for web exploration?: According to Flake, "the whole of the data [we] consume is greater than the sum of the parts." Pivot, the program he showcases in this Talk, arranges data, producing trends we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. It’s an efficient way to extract knowledge from the overload of data in existence.
  6. Chris Anderson: How web video powers global innovation: Web developers recognize the power of the web and its ability to spread knowledge throughout the world. Chris Anderson, founder of Future Publishing and curator of the TED Conference, discusses the emergence of web video and the resulting concept of Crowd Accelerated Innovation, "a self-fueling cycle of learning." Online video makes communication easier for everyone, as explained in the Talk itself, and could allow everyone to contribute their unique knowledge to the cycle.
  7. Chris Anderson of WIRED on tech’s Long Tail: Not to be confused with Chris Anderson of Future Publishing, Chris Anderson, editor at Wired, outlines the four basic stages of successful technology. Recorded several years ago, the principles discussed by Anderson, namely Moore’s Law, remain applicable to today’s quickly-advancing technological world.
  8. Jeff Bezos on the next web innovation: The dot-com boom and bust that occurred in the early 2000s (when the Talk was recorded) reminds Bezos of the electric energy in its infancy. He conveys that the internet is still in its very early stages and is a long way from reaching its vast potential.
  9. Brewster Kahle builds a free digital library: Kahle claims that "universal access to all knowledge is within our grasp," and he’s making it a reality by building an enormous digital library with every book, song and video in existence. His ambition to achieve what many people see as impossible is certainly admirable, something anyone can appreciate.
  10. Rives controls the Internet: The aforementioned TED talkers have been dreaming about the immense possibilities of the internet. Rives, poet and star of "Ironic Iconic America," does it in a lighthearted manner, openly imagining what it’d be like to email dead people, among other things. A rare occasion in which personal warmth is added to the cold neutrality of the internet.
  11. Ze Frank’s web playroom: Another fun video for those whose lives revolved around the internet. Ze Frank, online comedy extraordinaire, talks about how he has forged real connections between people using the power of the internet, a reminder that it can be much, much more than just a confluence of information.

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