TED Talk Feature – Think Your Email is Private? Think Again.

What is TED?

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

I have learned so much from TED during the past decade. My curiosity is often satisfied, at least for a short time after watching these short, inspirational talks. I really cannot say enough how amazing TED is and I was thinking of how I could spread the word. When I was thinking about this I thought of you, my dedicated readers. So with this in mind I am going to try to post and write about TED Talks on a regular basis right here… on The West Chester Technology Blog.

Most of the TED Talks I will feature will of course focus on technology and science but once in a while I will probably diverge from those arenas because inspiration comes in many forms.

My first TED Feature has us learning more about the “privacy” of our email.

Sending an email message is like sending a postcard, says scientist Andy Yen in this thought-provoking talk: Anyone can read it. Yet encryption, the technology that protects the privacy of email communication, does exist. It’s just that until now it has been difficult to install and a hassle to use. Showing a demo of an email program he designed with colleagues at CERN, Yen argues that encryption can be made simple to the point of becoming the default option, providing true email privacy to all.


OK friends this post has nothing to do with technology. This “talk” which can be found on TED discusses leadership. This was passed onto me by a colleague at Chester County. Very entertaining and thoughtful discussion on what makes a good leader using some great historical references to prove his point. His comments on Tivo, which is one of my favorite products of all time is sadly very accurate.

Are We Cyborgs?

Are we all turning into Cyborgs? That is the question that Amber Case discussed recently on TED. If you take the time to look around as you go through the day (any day it doesn’t matter) you surely can see this happening. It seems everyone has their attention on their smartphone, laptop or tablet, even while walking and driving. Our attention is drawn to these devices even while holding conversations with each other!

This is not surprising to Case and after you watch her 8 minute lecture on the topic you might agree that yes, we are indeed turning into cyborgs. Is this a good or bad thing that is happening to us? The conclusion is not as clear as you might think.