Last week was a busy week at GroundFloor Media as the team and some invited clients took to the Internet to watch the live webcast of TED2011: The Rediscovery of Wonder. The fourth session, Deep Mystery, was one of the more dense, mind bending sessions and as such it’s taken me a bit to make sense of what to write in this blog.
The session featured:
• Antonio Damasio, neuroscientist
• Felisa Wolfe-Simon, geobiochemist
• Aaron O’Connell, physicist
• Maya Beiser, cellist
• Deb Roy, cognitive scientist
While much of the science 101 was tough to absorb on just one cup of coffee (or five), I greatly appreciated the progression of the conversation, which loosely boiled down to the fact that we are all made up parts and that those parts have both physical and emotional elements that make up our selves. As individuals walking through this world, our selves are not just insulated beings, our environment regularly influences us – just bump us in one direction or heat us up slightly and we will change.
Layer a bit of human interaction onto all of this biology, physics and chemistry and you have the whole person – dynamic and ever changing, which is a good thing.
Case in point, Deb Roy’s young son had every move tracked for the first two years of his life by video surveillance cameras installed in every room of the home. The cameras captured his movements, but also recorded every word he heard and later spoke in his young life. The point? To track his language acquisition and identify patterns not only in how we learn language, but also in how information is communicated and shared.
Extrapolate this household experiment out to the conversations taking place daily via social media and the potential is extraordinary to identify what captures our collective attention and who cares. Roy and his team may have created the best social media monitoring tool ever!
The PR industry may not get our hands on it for a decade or more, but it’s exciting to understand what’s possible with new technology and how the work we are doing today mapping out conversations for our clients is a precursor to something much bigger in the future. A future that connects us all based on our passions and shared interests – with or without the coffee.