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Has technology truly taken over lives? Watch these 10 TED Talks that explore our complex relationship with technology.

Cal Newport: Why You Should Quit Social Media

About the speaker:
Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University and the author of five books about improving performance at school and in the workplace.

Summary:
Does quitting social media make you an unemployable Luddite? Computer scientist Dr. Cal Newport doesn’t think so. In this eye-opening talk, he debunks three objections commonly offered up as rationale for keeping that all-important Facebook account.

James Brindle: The Nightmare Videos of Children’s YouTube — and What’s Wrong With the Internet Today

About the speaker:
James Brindle is an artist and writer based in London whose work deals with the ways in which the digital world reaches into the physical and offline one.

Summary:
Writer and artist James Bridle uncovers a dark, strange corner of the internet, where unknown people or groups on YouTube hack the brains of young children in return for advertising revenue. From “surprise egg” reveals and the “Finger Family Song” to algorithmically created mashups of familiar cartoon characters in violent situations, these videos exploit and terrify young minds. They tell us something about where our increasingly data-driven world is headed.

Eli Pariser: Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”

About the speaker:
Eli Pariser is the author of “The Filter Bubble,” about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview. He is the CEO of Upworthy, a website for “meaningful” viral content and president of MoveOn.org, a progressive public policy advocacy group and political action committee.

Summary:
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble.” We’re no longer exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Adam Alter: Why Our Screens Make Us Less Happy

About the speaker:
Adam Alter is an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Psychology at New York University and the author of Drunk Tank Pink, a book that explores the forces that shape how we think, feel, and behave within the digital age.

Summary:
What are our screens and devices doing to us? Psychologist Adam Alter studies how much time screens steal from us and how they’re getting away with it. He shares why all the hours you spend staring at your smartphone, tablet or computer might be making you miserable and what you can do about it.

Scott Galloway: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Manipulate Our Emotions

About the speaker:
Scott Galloway is a Professor of Marketing at the New York University Stern School of business. He is a public speaker and author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

Summary:
The combined market capitalization of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google is now equivalent to the GDP of India. How did these four companies come to infiltrate our lives? In a spectacular rant, Scott Galloway shares insights and eye-opening stats about their dominance and motivation. He reveals what happens when a society prizes shareholder value over everything else. Followed by a Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson. (Note: This talk contains graphic language.)

Tristan Harris: How a Handful of Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds Every Day

About the speaker:
Tristan Harris is the director and a co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology, and co-founder of the Time Well Spent movement. He is a former Google Design Ethicist developing a framework for how technology should “ethically” steer the thoughts and actions of billions of people from screens.

Summary:
A handful of people working at various tech companies steer the thoughts of billions of people every day, says design thinker Tristan Harris. From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube autoplays, they’re all competing for one thing: your attention. Harris shares how these companies prey on our psychology for their own profit and calls for a design renaissance in which our tech instead encourages us to live out the timeline we want.

Jennifer Golbeck: Your Social Media “Likes” Expose More Than You Think

About the speaker:
Jennifer Golbeck is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the same university.  She is also the author of the book, “Analyzing the Social Web.”

Summary:
Do you like curly fries? Have you “liked” them on Facebook? Find out the surprising things Facebook (and others) can guess about you from your random “likes” and “shares.” Computer scientist Jennifer Golbeck explains how this came about, how some applications of the technology are not cute and why we should return the control of information to its rightful owners.

Sherry Turkle: Connected, But Alone?

About the speaker:
Sherry Turkle has spent 30 years researching the psychology of people’s relationships with technology. She is the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT.

Summary:
As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication. This talk will have you thinking deeply about the new kinds of connections we want to have.

Jon Ronson: When Online Shaming Goes Too Far

About the speaker:
Jon Ronson is a journalist and documentary filmmaker whose works include “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “The Psychopath Test.”

Summary:
Twitter gives a voice to the voiceless, a way to speak up and hit back at perceived injustice. But sometimes things go too far. In a jaw-dropping story of how one un-funny tweet ruined a woman’s life and career, Ronson shows how online commenters can end up behaving like a baying mob. He says it’s time to rethink how we interact online.

Kashmir Hill & Surya Mattu: What Your Smart Devices Know (and Share) About You

About the speakers:
Kashmir Hill is a privacy pragmatist who writes about the intersection of law, technology, social media and our personal information.

Surya Mattu is a data reporter on Gizmodo’s Special Projects Desk, an R&D journalism resident at Eyebeam NYC and a Research Scientist at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media lab.

Summary:
Once your smart devices can talk to you, who else are they talking to? Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu wanted to find out. They outfitted Hill’s apartment with 18 different internet-connected devices and built a special router to track how often they contacted their servers to see what they were reporting back. The results were surprising and very creepy. Learn more about what the data from your smart devices reveals about your sleep schedule, TV binges, and even your tooth-brushing habits. This talk reveals how tech companies are using this information to target and profile you. (This talk contains mature language.)

All TED Talk summaries were taken from www.ted.com.

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