Last year, my friend Jay Moorthy told me about TED, and I've heard about it here and there. Lisa Strausfeld also mentioned TED when she lectured about Richard Saul Wurman (known for his book Understanding USA, where famous designers created information graphics about statistical data in the U.S.). For those of you who don't know about it, TED is the acronym for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Some notable speakers and performers have been Al Gore, Malcolm Gladwell, Cameron Sinclair, Nicholas Negroponte, Jeff Han, Tracy Chapman, Sirena Huang, an 11-year-old concert violinist, and even our own ZeFrank (who taught Creative Acts at ITP). It costs about 5g's to go, and you have to be invited, but all of the money goes to charitable organizations. Anyway, they have free podcasts of past speakers, under TED TALKS, which I try to listen to.
This year, I was really interested in Theo Jansen's works (I first heard about him in Living Art). He does these amazing kinetic sculptures, and he's one of the speakers at TED this year. Also, Hod Lipson, who is doing some work in robotics. His robot like of looks like a starfish, which can be seen in the BusinessWeek slide show about TED. I think he's also created a DIY Desktop fabricator for less than 2g's. And also, Nick Sears, from ITP, will be talking about his thesis, the newer 3D orb, and presenting the initial iteration (shown at the 2006 ITP Winter Show).
Bill Clinton, Lawrence Lessig, Paola Antonelli, Zaha Hadid, Richard Branson, and They Might Be Giants will also speak and perform this year.
Here are some recommended links, some are repeated from above:
BusinessWeek's Slide Show on some speakers [which include Theo Jansen, Hod Lipson, and Nick Sears]