Stephen Black Interviews + TEDx Youth presentation (compiled in April 2014)

New Asian Writing (online text interview) Video Interview with Super Raine about I Ate Tiong Bahru, ungluing and more Words as Technology TEDx Presentation Featuring a presentation about the rise of an "algorithm culture" as well as improvised music by Alexius Cai/Piblokto. Although the video is well-intentioned, I hope the following notes allow for a more complete understanding. Under the theme of "Words as Technology", ideas and activities were presented. Algorithms, the name given to structured words which control actions, were featured. From simple things like recipes, to complex things like the Ten Commandments, algorithms shape our lives. The rise of an "algorithm culture" was discussed, and Summly was given as an example. Nick D'Aloisio, a teenager (like those in the audience), created a set of algorithms to briefly describe news stories. Nick's algorithms, called Summly, were sold to Yahoo for 30 million dollars. Algorithms can have economic value! For the second part of the presentation, the results of an experiment were presented. The experiment began three hours before show time. Without any prior information, three groups were asked to create a 'poetry slam-type' performance about the TEDx event itself. One group was isolated and given only a set of instructions; an algorithm in which presentation techniques and ideas were presented in flow chart style. There were three pages of instructions, such as "Create a 10 word description of today's TEDx" or "Label this description as D1"or "Performer #2 recites D1 while performing Gesture 2". The second group received the same "algorithm" but also worked with an experienced instructor. The third group was not given the "algorithm" but were taught by the instructor (me) and created their presentation based on Q&A, conversations and interactions. The groups then worked with Alexius Cai to create soundtracks. All groups performed remarkably well. This would seem to mean that the "algorithm only" group understood the flowchart. (If the algorithm was unclear, the group's performance could have been a disaster.) Finally, Alexius performed a short musical improvisation. I would like to thank TEDx Youth Singapore, Alexius and especially the fearless students who graciously supported my unpredictable mix of information and spontaneity. Sincerely, Stephen Black

1 thought on “Stephen Black Interviews + TEDx Youth presentation (compiled in April 2014)”

  1. Pingback: I would probably go see Stephen Black at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival | blacksteps

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