Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Back to the Future

I just Netflixed a wonderful documentary, The Future We Will Create, about an annual event called TED which gathers together some of the world’s smartest and most innovative minds to share their ideas and inventions.

Predictably, some of it traverses into the realm of techno-geeky such as information graphics and user interfaces (interestingly showcasing the touch-technology that would become famous in the iPhone and Surface).

But what became really inspiring was how the convention selects three participants to pitch a “wish” and then see if everyone can come together to make those wishes a reality. It was impressive to see how every wish was an unselfish act of humanitarianism, which was the driving force behind this gathering. Every person highlighted was trying to make the world a better place, from Al Gore’s global warming agenda to Larry Brilliant’s goal to create a worldwide infrastructure to prevent and contain outbreaks of illnesses.

Currently, we are all inundated with such bleak, negative imagery such as war, terrorism, corruption (political and corporate), celebrity gossip, etc. that is was so nice to catch a glimpse of optimism and unabashed virtue. TED is an amazing forum for the world’s brightest to gather, trade ideas, collaborate to try to cure illnesses, educate the masses, house the poor, and generally make our lives better.

Personally, it was humbling to see such great minds on display. I’d always done well in science and math but I realized that I was not a scientist by nature. I may not be working to cure cancer, but it’d be nice to find a way to steer my career into something more beneficial to people. I’m certainly not daft enough to think that my photography or designs or whatever will save the world, so I’ll have to think of other ways to contribute.

For now, I can take some solace in the fact that I’m doing my best to not make the world worse off. Since I don’t drive a car, don’t use plastic bags, recycle, and barely use my A/C, I’m curious as to what my actual carbon footprint is these days.


J.Rock. said...

There are a ton of online calculators. Here is one from the EPA:

Laoser said...

Based on really rough estimates, my total emissions are less than 4,500 (which is pretty good compared to the average of 20,000 for one person). Woohoo!