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TED talks

March 5, 2011

TED talks (TED stands for Technology, Education and Design http://www.ted.com/talks) are invaluable research tools, with speakers and seminars on a wide spread of topics. Two in particular have been of interest latley – one which was shown in a research seminar, and one which I found whilst browsing the TED site.

Joanna Blakley; Lessons from fashions free culture (April 2010)

This talk was interesting, highlighting subjects and issues I’d never even considered before. I had no idea that fashion designs are uncopyrightable as the base structure is considered too “utilitarian” to be copyrighted. I wouldn’t be fair for a particular company or designer to own the rights to …say jeans or the t-shirt, as they are too basic.

In the context of the art world, it’s considered a sin to copy or imitate exactly someone else’s painting or sculpture, but its acceptable to refrence it – its even encouraged. if not, no one culd ever make another landscape painting, or make a sculpture of a human being, as its been done before. But what about ideas? Can someone own an idea? With brands and companies constantly bombarding us with produccts, information, documentries and programmes, are any of our ideas really our own? Inspiration comes from everything around us, yet some of these things are so highly protected, can we have the chance to make our own creations that are entirly original? Who owns the copyright on Nature? This thought reminded me of a film – “The man who sued God” (Director Mark Joffe, 2001) who tried to sue God (the church as the physical representative) for a storm damaging his boat. Should someone be held accountable for these things, if we can put copyright on things?

Some of the things that Joanna mentioned that are uncopyrightable are quite humorous; Recipies, Automobiles, furnature designs, magic tricks, hairstyles, tattoos, jokes, game rules, perful=mes and firework displays to name a few.

Daniel Kahneman; The riddle of experience verses memory (march 2010)

I was interested in this talk, as currently I’m looking into memories, in particular how we remember and why we remember certian things.  The talk was really interesting and I made quite a few notes…

There is a confusion between our experience, and our memories – about being happy IN your life, and being happy ABOUT your life.

The Experencing self lives in the present, knows the present, and is capable of reliving the past. the Remembering self, keeps score, maintains the story of our lives – our memory tell the story – it shapes how our Experiencing self reacts to new situations. Time is the critical element the distinguishes these two selves. The remembering self makes all the decisions. We think of the future as anticipated memories. This phrase really struck with me – what we do on a daily basis, is determined by the remembering self that draws up the memories and tells our experencing self how to react.

There was an interesting Thought Experiment which Kahneman did; If for your next vacation, you knew you would have all your photo’s destroyed, and have a drug to antithesis you (no memories of it), would you still choose the same vacation?

This was interesting; you could do anything you like – things which you would normally dislike – as your remembering self would have no influence on your decisions after the holiday. We do or decide to avoid certian things as we have bad past memories of events. Our memories hold us back, even if its to avoid feeling certian things again – we may not go rock climbing due to a small childhood injury. Or we choose to tidy up afterourselves so as not to anger someone and feeling bad about it. I didn’t realise just how much past memories and experiences influence our future. To think that a memory I have may hold me back is horrible.

One last thought Kahneman spoke of, was happiness. He said that true happiness is spending time with people we like. not even particulary doing things we like – our remembering self remember the people we like and this makes us happy – in the past and in the future. I realise that its not the gig or the party that made the night really awesome – but the people I was there with.

So overall in the case of experience verses memory – we can’t help what we remember, but we need to try and contextualise it – and not let it affect us and hold us back in our future. But sometimes it does protect us from harm and its important to learn from past experiences. And spend time with those people you like – it will make you happy, I guarantee it!

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