(Welcome to the UCLA Anderson Blog's coverage of TED Week. Our guest blogger for TED Week is Swati Desai, who will be tracking the various TED talks as we live stream them and also taking notes on various panels. For more information on the TED Week schedule, please click here.
Swati is a UCLA alum (Anderson, PhD, 1992 and Engineering, MS, 1984) and the link to her website is www.swatidesai.com.
Text all you want, you may be becoming smarter!
Do you believe that texting represents the decline and fall of writing as we know it? Or do you get annoyed at such implications? Be cautious, the answer may give away your age! Do you know that as far back as 1871, the Harvard University president complained about “bad spellings” of young people? Complaining about the decline of good grammar seems to be the thing to do as you get older.
Columbia University Linguistics professor John McWhorter says not to worry about such complaints because all you are doing is really practicing a new language ... call it fingered speech!
This ever evolving fingered speech has its own connotations, lol. Wait. I don’t mean Laugh Out Loud. That was in the olden days. Now “lol” means a marker of empathy. "Slash" is this all relevant to Andersonians? “Slash” is just another way of saying “that makes me think”. So by learning to text “properly” you may be becoming bilingual/bidialectal. Isn’t that supposed to increase cognition? Just don’t forget to retain your mother tongue!
Would you like to invest in developing a new universal language making Google search more effective?
This language also can turn your iPad into a communicator for the speech-impaired.
The rate of diagnosed cases of autism is increasing at an alarming rate. Autistic people have trouble processing and translating abstract ideas into spoken language. Ajit Narayanan has come up with a set of rules that convert pictorial representation of key terms into a sentence with words arranged in the right way. He calls this set of rules “free speech” which is underneath his iPad software used to help autistic kids to form complex sentences. He claims that this is a universal language because it uses pictorial representation as the building blocks. Since our brains process information using images of this type, learning a new language language for initiating Google search and by using “free speech” would be like learning your mother tongue. He has a start-up which makes the software to teach English to all types of kids.
Ajit speculates that using free speech would make Google search more efficient because then anyone can use Google search regardless of whether they understand English! Free speech would be used to initiate the Google search and also to translate the results back into the user’s language.
This is currently his speculation. Surely he is going to get to meet several interested parties at TED – the place where new ideas blossom.