Amy Robinson

EyeWire, MIT, Founder, TEDx Global Music Project
Cambridge, MA, United States

About Amy

Bio

Amy runs EyeWire, a game to map the brain at MIT. EyeWire is played by over 100,000 gamers and allows anyone with an internet connetion to help discover how the mind makes you who you are.

Amy founded and curates the TEDx Global Music Project, an initiative that collects, remasters and shares the best live music from TEDx events around the world. She curates TEDxMIT and formerly TEDxHuntsville. Amy is a partner and creative director of HealthSterling where she scales crowd-sourced Healthy City programs.

When employing her neural networks outside of a professional setting, Amy is ambidextrous and the first person to give an autotuned presentation at a TED Conference. She likes a sciences, strong breezes, exploration and information visualizations.

TED Conferences

TED2015, TED2014, TEDActive 2013, TEDActive 2012, TEDActive 2011, TEDGlobal 2010

Areas of Expertise

Water quality, Health, Crowd Sourcing

An idea worth spreading

We social creatures must share inspiration to excel at innovation. The way we approach the world determines what we can make of it. If we look at obstacles, such as war or space travel, as opportunities to create solutions, we advance not only our own capacity to catalyze a positive change in the world, but the starting point of future endeavors. Cheers.

I'm passionate about

rhetoric, history, world travel, reading, writing, being outdoors, posture, algorithms, dancing, adrenaline, gardening, laughter, symmetry

Talk to me about

Natural Capital, Ideas and Opinions, Eurekas. Complex systems, ecology, neurology, living with passion.

People don't know I'm good at

I am ambidextrous.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

68224
Amy Robinson
Posted over 1 year ago
How might gaming and crowd-sourcing change the future of science?
Great comment! FoldIt has an interesting case study here -- they compared their players to software called Rosetta, the best in the world at folding proteins. While initially the software was better, the humans surged ahead when it came to taking shirt tern risks in anticiaption of longer term gains. Meaning that humans would put a protein in a higher energy state (an outcome you do not want) in order to play it into a lower one. Human strategies win in part because they include experimentation and risk taking that the computer is simply not capable of doing.
68224
Amy Robinson
Posted over 1 year ago
How might gaming and crowd-sourcing change the future of science?
I like the idea of paralleling a CPU to mental processing. One of the taglines of EyeWire is "we need something more powerful than a supercomputer -- you." We rely on humans to make decisions that AI can't. We should call it augmented intelligence. Certainly not all science can use a gamified, crowd-sourced method; however, I think that an ever increasing range of scientific endeavors can utilize power the crowd approaches to accelerate research. Data analysis is a hurdle almost all researchers face and one that is well-tailored to citizen science. As researchers become more apt and innovative through crowd sourcing, I think they will come up with ever novel applications and unique usages -- that's why I think it will transform science. If you asked most professors just five years ago how they would involve the general public in their research, most would have said they wouldn't. Today, many still hold that opinion. I think in the future, few will resist this symbiotic form of scientific discovery.
68224
Amy Robinson
Posted over 2 years ago
As a TEDx organizers I wish there were this feature on ted.com/tedx. Please propose a suggestion or an idea around future functionality.
Integrate the TEDPrize/ City 2.0 Our community wants ways to act on ideas worth spreading. They generate more ideas than our team at TEDxHuntsville can implement - if there is a way to help them share and collaborate without our oversight or perhaps collaborate with other TEDx communities who want to get involved beyond a conference, that would be valuable. It would also be great to browse TEDx design inspiration like website screenshots, branding, promo videos. This content could be submitted and ranked by users. I also really like TEDxAmsterdam's Ideas worth doing initiative that shares and ranks actions by various TEDx-ers. Would be a great way to inspire action worth spreading!
68224
Amy Robinson
Posted over 2 years ago
Can we "engineer" our own interests through repeated exposure?
Great question! Engineered experiences do, I think, lead to the evolution of interest. I answer in the context of my experience with TED. It began online and evolved into attending a TEDx event. This inspired me to organize a TEDx in my city. I ended up going to the first of many TED Conferences where one small sentence changed what I realized was possible in human interactions - a small sentence which was a result of other interactions that started with bits (watching TEDTalks) that together impacted my interets so much that i drove 2 hours to that first TEDx and have now adopted "ideas worth spreading" as a daily philosophy. That small sentence is "So what inspires you?" and it is the first thing one stranger said to me at TEDGlobal. That just..doesn't happen. But it did. And from there something changed. Many little things changed. I began slipping little curiosities into conversations and experimenting with interactions. I began to realize that I can catalyze a conversation into a meaningful exchange if I open up and do the uncomfortable, asking questions that encourage others to go deeper than a chat - to really share who they are, what they are passionate about and why. This generates interest engineering. Before you know it you'll be writing philosophical emails to great minds and getting thoughtful responses. You will discover new ideas as those minds link you up with people and ideas you never knew existed. If you explore ideas you love with friends old and new and particularly explore who it is with whom you interact, you will find that engineering interest is two fold and can be instigated both internally and by others. Curate conversations. Seriously, try saying "what inspires you?" more often. Or ever. It takes guts. They'll give you a perplexed look and then you'll set fourth into a splendid conversation, bits of which may change who you become. And maybe you'll be that person who inspires interest in others. You're well on the way :)