As the year comes to a close, the TED community is busy as ever. Below, a few highlights. Plant-robot hybrids are here. At the MIT Media Lab, researchers Pattie Maes and Harpreet Sareen have developed a new kind of “cybernetic lifeform”: a cyborg plant called Elowan that marries organic and digital technologies. Elowan’s robotic half […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Pattie Maes was the key architect behind what was once called "collaborative filtering" and has become a key to Web 2.0: the immense engine of recommendations -- or "things like this" -- fueled by other users. In the 1990s, Maes' Software Agents program at MIT created Firefly, a technology (and then a startup sold to Microsoft) that let users choose songs they liked, and find similar songs they'd never heard of, by taking cues from others with similar taste. This brought a sea change in the way we interact with software, with culture and with one another.
Now Maes is working on a similarly boundary-breaking initiative. She founded Fluid Interfaces Group, also part of the MIT Media Lab, to rethink the ways in which humans and computers interact, partially by redefining both human and computer. In Maes' world (and really, in all of ours), the computer is no longer a distinct object, but a source of intelligence that's embedded in our environment. By outfitting ourselves with digital accessories, we can continually learn from (and teach) our surroundings. The uses of this tech -- from healthcare to home furnishings, warfare to supermarkets -- are powerful and increasingly real.
What others say
“We like to invent new disciplines or look at new problems, and invent bandwagons rather than jump on them.” — Pattie Maes, Digital Journal
Pattie Maes’ TED talk
More news and ideas from Pattie Maes
By Liz Jacobs and Helen Walters It’s often said that good design is invisible design — it makes things easy and delightful without us realizing it. But as host Chee Pearlman reminds us at the top of the session, we’re here to honor the “D” in “TED.” From the artistic to the architectural to the […]Continue reading
Pranav Mistry is the MIT grad student behind Sixth Sense, a tool that connects the physical world with the world of data. He and his advisor at the MIT Media Lab, Pattie Maes, unveiled Sixth Sense at TED2009, and the Sixth Sense demo premiered yesterday on TED.com — and in both places, it has fired […]Continue reading