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Global Innovation Exchange – New UW + Tsinghua University of Beijing Campus in Seattle Area filming

Posted by Leonard on July, 1, 2015

Last week I did some freelance camera work with CCTV covering the major announcement of the opening of the Global Innovation Exchange (CCTV is similar to a Chinese BBC).  One of the most prestigious universities in China is joining with the University of Washington to run a graduate institute in Bellevue that will focus on technology and innovation. The partnership with Tsinghua University of Beijing — sometimes called the MIT of China — will mark the first time that a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States. The program will be based in the Spring District of Bellevue in the rezoned and redeveloping Bel-Red Corridor. The GIX as it will be known, will start with a few dozen students in fall 2016,  and could grow to 3,000 students in a decade.

“Both Tsinghua and UW faculty will teach, in English, and the students will earn a master’s degree over 15 months. They’ll be charged with tackling great problems of this era: sustainability, health, inequality, environmental issues, transportation and clean energy, to name just a few. Technology isn’t just about engineering and science anymore.” In remarks, a Microsoft person described the partnership as “a way to grow higher education in Seattle, which is “at a disadvantage” when compared with other U.S. cities that are tech-innovation centers, including Boston, New York, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. All of those cities have at least two major research universities; Boston has four. Seattle has one.”

We shot interviews with WA Governor Jay Inslee, the head of research for Microsoft, and the presidents of both Universities, that all played across a variety of CCTV programs.

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TED conference comes to Seattle with TEDxSEA, and excellent it was

Posted by Leonard on April, 16, 2010

Today I had the pleasure of participating in the Seattle satellite version of the TED conference.  Hosted in the IMAX theater at the Pacific Science Center by the MCDM (Masters in Communication and Digital Media) at UW, the day included 13, 18 minute presentations on a variety of incredible topics from The Evolution of Storytelling to Harnessing the Global Power of the Mobile Phone for good, not just marketing and advertising. From Why More Women Don’t Become Computer Scientists to donating One Day’s Wages.  I loved the inspiration, the variety, the networking, the creativity, the globality, the technology, and the intellectual and community engagement.

Some of my favorite parts included:

An analysis of how much is to much? in reference to the saturation of information.  One of the metaphors that Greg Bear, a science fiction writer who gave the talk used was the bee community metaphor of bees going out into the field on their own and doing their thing,  then coming back to the hive to share, but how in the current mediasphere there is too much resorting to only doing the sharing, and that there’s less and less of the going out into the world part. Today people are posting every breath they take and thought they have.  As a science fiction writer much of his analysis had a hyperbolic techno society vision vibe in which basically the inside of your eyelids if not just the inside of your eyeglasses will eventually be screens, but I appreciated the general comparison.

The ‘Everyone Needs a Safe Place to Save‘ talk was also very impressive, about the lack of access to banking in the poorer parts of the world.  The Gates Foundation is working to harness the power of mobile phones globally, since even many poor people have phones,and their problem is nowhere to put their money, if not in animals, hidden, loaned out, or elsewhere, and that if a mechanism existed for depositing and saving even cents daily, that that savings would lead to actual wealth accrual.  So now people can walk into a rural market or business, give their money to the business, and the business immediately uses the phone #, acct # and pin to deposit the money in their acct and the store takes a small percentage.  Apparently over 40 million mobile phone users have begun using the technology in Kenya only 3 years into the technology existing there. Very cool. There were actually 2 talks about the power of cell phones. The other was with David Edelstein and Fiona Lee, and they argued the mobile phone as a great playing field leveler and tool of overcoming information poverty, as the cell phone transforms as something you use with your ear to something you use equally with your eyes, with applications in health, agriculture, and beyond as online information becomes available to folks based on very elementary search terms.

In Sapna Cheryan’s talk about ‘Stereotypes as Gatekeepers’, where certain professions like computer sciences repel women from entering the field because of the images of who those people are, one of the more powerful points involved the google image results for  ‘nurse’  in pointing out these gender identifications and who we perceive to be capable of or likely to fill a certain role.

Eugene Cho challenged us to consider how we love the ideas of community, compassion, and justice, but where that love goes when that love requires us to act and sacrifices to be made.  His young ngo One Day’s Wages invited people to consider what 1 day of their wages really is and to donate that to the organization in support of the ‘many many small NGOs doing great work out there that you’ve never ever heard of before’.

TEDxSEA logo

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