Over the past couple of years, it’s been pretty clear that online video can be used for so many interesting purposes. YouTube has allowed amateurs everywhere to share music videos, funny videos, creative mash-ups, and all sorts of user-created content. Hulu has provided pretty high-quality, on-demand professional TV episodes. News sites like CNN and the New York Times have used online videos to enhance news reports. But one of my favorite uses of online video has to be TED. TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design”, and it is a non-profit group dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading”. They organize conferences all over the world every year with speakers like Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Chris Anderson, to discuss new ideas relating to technology, science, business, and all sorts of global issues. And even though TED conferences are difficult to get into, they make their conference videos available online, and these are really thought-provoking discussions that are totally worth your time.
For example, this following TED video is a speech given by Tim Berners-Lee. He literally helped create the world wide web 20 years ago, and now he discusses what he thinks his current project, which he hopes will “do for numbers what the Web did for words, pictures, video: unlock our data and reframe the way we use it together.” It’s so cool to hear him talk about what it was like building the web 20 years ago, and how he originally wanted to make it easier to share documents. And then now we hear his vision of creating a web where raw, linked data is the core functionality. He encourages the audience to yell, “Raw data now!” I think having more and more linked data available on the web could make it easier for scientists to tackle certain issues, but I’m really curious what the privacy implications are for so much openness and shared data on the web. It could definitely make finding certain information easier, but what kind of privacy safeguard would we have? Who would regulate something like that? And how would we determine what format raw data is presented in?