TEDxConcordia - Losing Serendipity

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We are in serious danger of losing opportunities life changing serendipitous events. This is dangerous because we need these life changing serendipitous events to help us discover the things that …

We are in serious danger of losing opportunities life changing serendipitous events. This is dangerous because we need these life changing serendipitous events to help us discover the things that truly make us happy. This talk aims to make it clear where this danger is coming from, and what we can do to avoid it.

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  • \n
  • basic premise\n
  • \n
  • not talking about the cheesy movie\n
  • - talking about this kind of serendipity\n\n
  • For example, a friend of mine came Montreal for a conference, bumped into some really interesting people, and as a result ended up moving to Montreal, leaving his job that he was at for 10 years, starting a company, ...\n
  • ...and speaking at TEDxConcordia.\n- now that’s a great example of life changing serendipity.\n
  • - Let’s start off with some good news. \n- Overall, opportunities for serendipity are definitely increasing\n
  • - Let’s start off with some good news. \n- Overall, opportunities for serendipity are definitely increasing\n
  • - Let’s start off with some good news. \n- Overall, opportunities for serendipity are definitely increasing\n
  • - Thanks to things like foursquare, and twitter, and even facebook\n\n
  • the problem though is that life changing serendipity, the big serendipitous events that changes the course of your life, are in real danger of being lost\n
  • - and I think that’s pretty surprising\n
  • You would think that being so connected and so global, there would be many more opportunities for big serendipity events, where we can travel anywhere in the world we want and read news about everyplace we care about\n
  • - The reality is that we are still mostly living in our own close-knit clusters\n- if you look where people actually fly, which this map represents, it’s still focused on very few locations in the US and europe and asia, but continues to exclude most of the world\n
  • - Same thing with news\n- This is a map of the world distorted based on where people in the US read news about\n- For the US it’s obviously all about the US, and countries the US has invaded\n- This shows that we’re still living in our own bubbles \n\n
  • hanging out with people that are very similar to us, reinforcing those similarities\n
  • making us all more and more similar inside our clusters, all the while thinking we’re think different\n- we human have a very limited interest in trying new things that are outside their comfort zone, and we have filters to keep those other things out\n\n
  • - As this quote by the Sufi’s puts it, knowledge that takes you NOT beyond yourself is far worse then ignorance\n- unfortunately a lot of the technology that we’re coming to rely on to expose us to new things is making it too easy to stay in our own bubbles, by catering to inputs we supply based on what we think we like and want\n
  • - There’s a great book called Stumbling on Happiness, who’s basic premise is that we’re really bad at predicting what will actually make us happy, that we think we know what we want but really we don’t\n- we think we want the big car and the fancy house and the huge paycheck, but it turns out those things don’t actually make you any happier in the long run\n- and so without big serendipitous events, events that expose us to a vastly different ideas and experiences, we may not discover the things that make us truly happy\n- here are a few examples of what I mean\n
  • We tell recommendation engines such as amazon and netflix what we like, which means we’ll get more of the same kinds of things.\n- Amazon tells us what we should read based on what we’ve already read, and what others like us have read. We won’t be exposed to anything totally new.\n- We teach Pandora and itunes what music we like, which means we’ll be exposed to more of the same kind of music.\n
  • - We tell Google what kind of news we want to read, so we see only the news we want to see\n\n
  • We use Yelp to find the best restaurants around, going places that everyone else has already gone , killing that feeling of self discovery and serendipity\n
  • We gather in places where like minded people talk about like minded stuff, reinforcing the like-mindedness \n
  • We use dating sites that match us with people based on things we think we want, with questions like this “How often do you tweet?”.\n- I’m guessing most of the married people here would never have met if they based their meeting on how well matched they matched up on specific traits, I bet serendipity had a factor\n
  • - even things like google directions reduce our chances for serendipity, getting us straight from point a to b\n- getting lost and making a wrong turn is usually the part of the trip you remember most\n\n
  • - Here’s how I see it.\n- this circle represents the stuff you already like and are aware of, like your favorite band or your favorite food\n
  • - This represents the things that pandora and google news and amazon and yelp will expose you to\n
  • - But you’re missing out on a huge amount of other stuff\n- This circle is so big I couldn’t even fit it on the screen\n- and even though access to it has gotten much easier, we rarely take advantage of it\n- You miss out on maybe...\n
  • - But you’re missing out on a huge amount of other stuff\n- This circle is so big I couldn’t even fit it on the screen\n- and even though access to it has gotten much easier, we rarely take advantage of it\n- You miss out on maybe...\n
  • a new favorite song\n
  • or the best dessert you’ve never had\n
  • or maybe a new life calling\n
  • or that special someone that you’d never see on match.com\n
  • \n
  • not necessarily. \n- there are things like Foursquare and even groupon give you new opportunities for serendipity\n
  • I created a site that builds on foursquare to help serendipity along in the relationship department by telling you when the male to female ratio tips in your favor at your favorite bars and restaurants, which is what got me thinking about this topic\n
  • I think TED is amazing at fostering serendipity, showing power of getting different types of people together. Even their home page does a great job encouraging serendipity, showing you all kinds of different talks that have nothing to do with what you’ve previously watched or what you think you want to see\n\n
  • Frighteningly Chatroullete has a very similar type of mechanics and the same type of appeal, so I’m not sure what to think\n
  • NY times just released a special online version of their paper that defaults to what they call “Serendipity” view, where you see a bunch of different stories one right next to the other, helping you discover things you may not have normally seen\n
  • I think we’d be better off with less like buttons\n
  • and retweet buttons, which are really good at making sure we all see all of the same kind of stuff\nand instead I’d love to see...\n
  • serendipity buttons that when you click, instead of spreading more of the same kinds of things to your own cluster of friends...\n
  • you see you one thing that a whole different cluster of people find very interesting.\n- for example, say we \n
  • shared what the red hat society found really interesting\n
  • with university students\n
  • the red hatted ladies may discover the joys of Twitter\n
  • The university students may discover that maybe you can have just as much fun when you’re older, if not more\n
  • How about instead of relying on search engines to find new things for us, which are really good at giving exactly what we think we want\n
  • we create a “serendipity engine”, where you enter something you want, and it gives back something that a totally unrelated but that is interesting or useful to a different group of people\n- if that’s too much work...\n
  • Maybe just follow a random person on Twitter to see what a whole different type of person thinks is interesting\n
  • Maybe pick up a random magazine that you normally wouldn’t ever think about reading when you’re at the dentists office or at the airport\n\n
  • maybe just go watch that movie you’d never normally watch.\nor maybe not.\nthank you.\n

Transcript

  • 1. Losing
SerendipityTEDxConcordia
  • 2. Serendipity
=
Good
  • 3. Losing
Serendipity
=
Bad
  • 4. Source: http://bit.ly/fpScr5
  • 5. Serendipityser‐en‐dip‐i‐ty
(noun):
The
effect
by
which
one
accidentally
stumbles
upon
something
fortunate,
especially
while
looking
for
something
entirely
unrelated.
  • 6. An
example...
  • 7. An
example...(hint:
it’s
about
me)
  • 8. Good
NewsToday Future
  • 9. Good
News SerendipityToday Future
  • 10. Good
News SerendipityToday Future
  • 11. Bad
News SerendipityToday Future Life
Changing
Serendipity
  • 12. Bad
News SerendipityToday Future Life
Changing
Serendipity
  • 13. Available
flights
around
the
worldSource: http://www.airlines3.com/
  • 14. Actual
flights
around
the
worldSource: http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/aircraft-pictures/2008/12/
  • 15. News
read
by
U.S.
citizensSource: http://globalmatterspost.blogspot.com/2009/12/ebook-and-iran-vs- michael.html
  • 16. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/metroblossom/ 133933735/
  • 17. Non‐MacSource: http://philtered.com/timages/i/lots-of-apples.jpg
  • 18. “Knowledge
that
takes
you
 not
beyond
yourself
is
far
 worse
than
ignorance.” ‐
Sufi
sayingSource: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction.html
  • 19. Source: http://bit.ly/ gU9u6a
  • 20. What
you
like
  • 21. What
you’ll
find What
you
like
  • 22. What
you’ll
find What
you
like
  • 23. What
you’ll
missWhat
you’ll
find What
you
like
  • 24. What
you’ll
missNew
favorite
 song What
you’ll
find What
you
like
  • 25. What
you’ll
miss New
favorite
 song What
you’ll
find What
you
likeBest
dessert ever
  • 26. What
you’ll
miss New
favorite
 song What
you’ll
find What
you
likeBest
dessert ever Your
new
 passion
  • 27. What
you’ll
miss Your
soul mate New
favorite
 song What
you’ll
find What
you
likeBest
dessert ever Your
new
 passion
  • 28. Are
we
screwed?
  • 29. Chatroulette
(safe
for
TED)Source: http://facetimeportraits.blogspot.com/
  • 30. Enable
Serendipity
  • 31. Cluster
A Best
stuff Cluster
B
  • 32. Best
stuff Cluster
BSource: http://bit.ly/dWTcBb, http://bit.ly/gFfPhX
  • 33. Best
stuffSource: http://bit.ly/dWTcBb, http://bit.ly/gFfPhX
  • 34. Sale
on
#redhats
 today! Best
stuffSource: http://bit.ly/dWTcBb, http://bit.ly/gFfPhX
  • 35. Sale
on
#redhats
 today! Best
stuff My
mom
is
so
cool!Source: http://bit.ly/dWTcBb, http://bit.ly/gFfPhX
  • 36. Serendipity Engine