Blaise Agüera y Arcas works on machine learning at Google. Previously a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, he has worked on augmented reality, mapping, wearable computing and natural user interfaces. He was the co-creator of Photosynth, software that assembles photos into 3D environments.

Why you should listen

Blaise Aguera y Arcas' background is as multidimensional as the visions he helps create. In the 1990s, he authored patents on both video compression and 3D visualization techniques, and in 2001, he made an influential computational discovery that cast doubt on Gutenberg's role as the father of movable type.

He also created Seadragon (acquired by Microsoft in 2006), the visualization technology that gives Photosynth its amazingly smooth digital rendering and zoom capabilities. Photosynth itself is a vastly powerful piece of software capable of taking a wide variety of images, analyzing them for similarities, and grafting them together into an interactive three-dimensional space. This seamless patchwork of images can be viewed via multiple angles and magnifications, allowing us to look around corners or “fly” in for a (much) closer look. Simply put, it could utterly transform the way we experience digital images.

He joined Microsoft when Seadragon was acquired by Live Labs in 2006. Shortly after the acquisition of Seadragon, Blaise directed his team in a collaboration with Microsoft Research and the University of Washington, leading to the first public previews of Photosynth several months later. His TED Talk on Seadragon and Photosynth in 2007 is rated one of TED's "most jaw-dropping." He returned to TED in 2010 to demo Bing’s augmented reality maps. As a Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft, he led a team of researchers and engineers with strengths in wearable computing, interaction design, digital maps, computer vision and graphics. At the end of 2013, he left Microsoft to work on machine learning at Google.

Fun fact: According to the author, Blaise is the inspiration for the character Elgin in the 2012 best-selling novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

What others say

"Perhaps the most amazing demo I've seen this year." — Ethan Zuckerman, TED attendee and Global Voices blogger

Blaise Aguera y Arcas’ TED talks

Blaise Aguera y Arcas on the TED Blog
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Ideas

The future is coming. 6 ways it will change everything

March 24, 2014

by Blaise Agüera y Arcas, Google How will our minds be blown in the next 30 years? Well, that’s quite a long time, given the acceleration in history. Still, I’ll be brave and make six hypotheses. 1. Machine Intelligence I think that just as the Internet has been such a great driver of change across […]

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Quotes from Blaise Aguera y Arcas

This is taking [photos] from everybody — the entire collective memory of what the Earth looks like — and linking all of that together.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas
TED2007 • 4.2M views May 2007
Jaw-dropping, Ingenious
[With Photosynth,] all of those photos become linked together, and they make something emergent that’s greater than the sum of the parts.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas
TED2007 • 4.2M views May 2007
Jaw-dropping, Ingenious