Chris Kluwe: How augmented reality will change sports … and build empathy


Chris Kluwe is a retired American football punter.


Augmented reality will happen in our lives, and will change the world as much as the internet. Google glass is the first step in this, and we can use the vision from this to experience what other people see – for example on a football field. We can start to feel what it is like to be tackled by seeing from the perspective of a footballer. People want to feel this – to know what it is like to be their favourite footballer during a game.

The next step from Google Glass is Oculus Rift – virtual reality. (note: this gives separate images to each eye – effectively 3D images) This will increase our immersion, and allow us to experience sports with the next level again from a single static video.

After that is augmented reality – the first example is to display information about the next play on the players’ helmet visor. This will help teams to win – they don’t need to memorise their role in a play, and can simply execute it and react to the play around them. Another way to use it is to give the players real time tactical information – to scan the field and tell the quarterback there is an open player blitzing just outside his field of vision. If the ball flies wide, the receiver can see where it will land and react faster than if he had to estimate. The IT department’s ability to process this data and display it to the players in a useful way will become as powerful as the scouts and managers hiring the players themselves.

In addition to making the plays more precise, the fans will see the game from every perspective. People want this, it is just too profitable and powerful not to happen.

But can augmented reality be used for more than sports? Can it build empathy – by letting us walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Teachers could use it to show a bully what his victims feel, a persecuted minority can show what their life is like. Augmented reality is coming, but the questions we ask, the choices we make and the challenges we take are up to us.

Eric Berlow and Sean Gourley: Mapping ideas worth spreading


Eric Berlow: An Ecologist, internationally recognized for his research on ecological complexity and for creative approaches to simplifying complex problems.

Sean Gourley: Physicist with an interest in politics, now using data to understand the nature of human conflict.


Eric and Sean met when they discovered each had spoken at separate but related TEDx talks on the Ecology of war, and began questioning if other TEDx talks were unknowingly linked as well. They analysed the mathematical structures behind all 24,000 TED talks, by pulling the comments, viewers, and extracted transcript of the talks from Youtube. They then extracted key concepts from each talk, to find the ‘meme-ome’ or underlying idea of a talk. By comparing Meme-omes between talks, they can map links.

These links can be analysed firstly by geographical location of the talk, but they also used a neural network to map the main conversation of each talk. This gives the following results:

  • Related subjects are grouped nearby, meaning stronger links between talks of those subjects.
  • By zooming in on ‘Environment’, they saw all the sub-conversations eg food economy, solar, greenhouse gases.
  • They can also see which conversations are the most important to males vs females, or young vs old.
  • They can also analyse the topics that have the most popularity talks
  • Look at topics that link unrelated disciplines
  • On the flipside – which talks are most ‘core’ to their topic – that link a lot of different conversations within the same discipline
  • Some thaat are completely ‘out there’ – not fitting clearly into any particular field.

These algorithms allowed Eric and Sean to simplify their understanding of an extremely complicated network of TED knowledge into a single network map – making the information a little more accessible and a little more ‘human’.