[Video Link]MIT researcher Deb Roy's presentation was probably my favorite at TED2011. The highlight of his presentation was when he played an audio file of his son learning how to say "water" over the course of the research project.
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn. Deb Roy studies how children learn language, and designs machines that learn to communicate in human-like ways. On sabbatical from MIT Media Lab, he's working with the AI company Bluefin Labs.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects