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Mariano Sigman: TEDxperiments

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TEDxperiments - Mariano Sigman Let's play a game. We are about 1000 people, we have to do it in TED time, fast and easy. Every other row you will receive an envelope like this one. Volunteers will handle you the envelopes and you will play with the person sitting right behind you. We make this because you usually know the person next to you, but you don't know the person in front of you and behind you, and we want you to play with somebody you don't know. You will do this: the ones who got an envelope will open it and will take out two pieces of folded paper, you keep one of them and you give the other to the person behind you. Now it's the only private moment of this game. Each one of you, intimately, without cheating, without letting the others see you, will turn and look forward. You will open the envelope without breaking the little grip that it has, just like this, and you will find some instructions which are the game instructions. Each of you have your own instructions, that's why we had to do it this way, I can't say them. One of you, as you can read, will have to tell a story to the other, that's the part we can say because everybody will do it. About 600 stories will be told at the same time instead of just one as we usually do in TED events. Yo have 4 minutes to do it. You don't have to worry about time as we have to do, I will tell you the time, I will tell you when they are 4 minutes left, 3 minutes left, 2 minutes left, 1, and when we finish, there you have to round up your story. Let's do it, tell your stories, good luck. You have 4 minutes. Two more minutes! Last minute! It's over! You will see that you have a little grip, hard to break. Break it. There it goes, the sound of grips being broken. Open it and you'll see some questions inside. Easy, multiple choice questions that you have to answer in one minute. Try to answer quickly and from your heart. This works if we answer quickly but doing it the best we can, alright? Let's go! And... it's over. It's over guys, volunteers, we are over. And now we can tell the secret of the game for those who haven't found it out yet. Rise your hands the ones who think that understood exactly what happened on the game. Half of you don't have any idea. Perfect, this is what was supposed to happen. Of course, some of you had it easy because you were on the right side. Half of you were asked to tell a story, there was nothing to hide there. And it was a difficult task because we asked you to tell a moving story, like a TED talk, with only 30 seconds to prepare it, which we know is not easy. But not only for this was this a hard task. Also, the person who was supposed to be your faithful partner we asked him, with some details I'm about to say, we asked him to ignore you during a part of the story. Actually, you see... Actually we asked them to do what we always do. I mean, while you were talking, we asked them to tweet, send messages, send e-mails: ''you should see how good is this shit he is telling me...'' That's exactly what we asked. And why did we do this? Firstly, for what has just happened, which is quite clear. We wanted to make an experience without telling it directly. Without telling it from our own perspective, about these communicative interruptions which are so frequent in our everyday life. We are all the time interrupting each other and we wanted to make you think about it. But beside being a game, and this is what we want to say, this was an experiment. What we wanted to do was showing you, with this project, that you can make science with paper and pen. A thousand people together in a stage can be answering a question which answer they don't know, with paper and pen. And as we are in TED, we chose a question related to human communication. And our hypothesis was, and we still don't know its answer because this is science, our hypothesis was that human communication works like almost any communication protocol. It goes like this: if I want to communicate with someone, what I have to do in first place is opening a channel. For example, if I want to talk to you on the phone, I call you, like this, dialing like the old times. The phone rings on the other side, you pick it up and we haven't said anything yet. All we did was opening a protocol to communicate. Once we both have picked up our phones, then the meaning of what we we wanted to say can start to flow. Our hypothesis is: when two people talk to each other, it works exactly the same way. First they measure each other, they make a kind of communication contract. It doesn't matter what they are saying, what matters is to open a window to an agreement. And only once you've opened the window, only once they agree, words start to flow. And how did we do to test this hypothesis with this experiment, with the game we've just done? And here comes the magic of science, and this is what I want to talk to you about today, what I want to tell you and present to you, which is the subtle difference between a game and an experiment. What you received, the receptors of this story, were two important different roles, among other roles. Some of you got this message: "when your partner talks to you, ignore him for two minutes," as we said. "And then, after I tell you there are 2 minutes left," and that's why I had tell the time, "you start paying attention back." Others got exactly the opposite instructions: at the beginning, pay a lot of attention and follow the story as if it was the most important thing happening and when I say there are two minutes left, stop paying attention. And if our hypothesis is correct, that when you tell a story you first open a channel and then you communicate, this should happen: if I randomly had to play (and think about it from your own perspective) if I had to play with someone who first ignored me, I try to communicate with that person and it's as if I was trying to call you and you don't answer the phone. You're basically being rude. I tried to communicate with you and you didn't pay attention, which makes you a... makes you who you are... Then it comes the second part of science, which is that we need to measure something and that's why you had to report what you did, what we were measuring. What we expect from people who were ignored at first is not to blame the story they were telling but the person they were playing with. On the other hand, if I had to play with someone who first payed attention it's like I invited you dancing, I say ''Let's dance'', you say ''Alright, let's dance'', cool, you're nice, you like me, I like you. We start to dance, we dance for 2 minutes and then you say ''I'm leaving, bye''. Then I have to guess that I was a bad dancer. What I'm trying to say with this metaphor is that the story didn't work. And that's why we hope that, and we'll see that together, when we read the results online, that people who were first listened and then ignored will blame the story and not their partners. It's something that we'll see, a part of the reality that we are discovering with this experiment. And this is part of a project called TEDxperiments. It's a project of TEDxRiodelaPlata, a brother of TEDxEducation which was presented before, in which we made two games. One is the one we've just done, and a second one for which we asked another question, which is a basic TED question, which is ''How can we communicate an idea?'' And then this question, what I'm trying to say is how we do this which seems a human science question, a pedagogic question, to take it to an experiment and to a game we can all play, which entertains us a little bit but also answer a scientific question. So, it works like this: People received in a phone app, 300 people played, which are here, they played before coming here, they received an image. And this image for us was the icon of an idea. It's something that I'm seeing vividly, clearly, it's on my mind but it may be hard to tell to another person. And the game is a kind of backwards Pictionary. What I have to do as a player when I receive this is to tell you this image with words, so you can generate it, And this is what people did, they generated this, this is what the other player received, a sort of description quite complex about the geometry of this and from this description they had to generate their own image. Here we have an example in which this process, this description, this class a person gave to another worked fine. I mean, the communication channel was successful. We have other examples, like this one, which are typical of pedagogy, in which the concept flowed quite fine, the morphology of these two things are quite similar but some details are not there. There are details that escaped the explanation because the person thought that wasn't important to communicate. He took it for granted and he didn't communicate it. In this case it's the color, sometimes it's the position, the size, things we forget to communicate. This is the one I like the most because... this is illustrated pedagogy in my opinion. This is someone who understood fragments of the class, but totally out of place. There was a half circle, another half circle, but how exactly this two semicircles made a shape. And of course, how in any pedagogic situation there are big failures. In fact, there are even worst failures that to respect our audience we won't show but, actually, if we think about them, experimentally they are the most interesting ones, because they are the ones we have to learn from because it didn't fail because there was no interest or goodwill from the people who played, there was. There were also other cases but we didn't put them. Here people were playing well but there was something in the way to communicate that failed and we have a way to study it. There are also creativity excesses, we choose these ones as abstract shapes, but there was a genius here, who I'd love to find who saw that this figure looked like the face of former president Nestor Kirchner something that wasn't obvious for any of us who did this until we saw this and as he saw that so creative, he transmitted it like this to his partner, who was also a perfect draftsman... We could go on like this forever but unfortunately we have to end. Here with someone who saw here an incomplete windmill and described it like this. A description that seems very creative, very metaphorical and compact but generates something which has little to do with the original description. And here's the point I want to reach: we have made a repository, of hundreds, we all have played together and experimented together we have made a repository of hundreds of descriptions, some of them very good, some of them quite good, others conceptually appropriated but without details, some of them were bad. And this questions which were coffee talk before, we can take them to an experimental field. For example, I want to give just one example, we can discuss for hours if we should have a short and precise class or if it's better if I repeat a lot of times the same things. I have an opinion, you have other, and you have another and we can discuss for an hour, what I want to present here is that we can now answer that question empirically. Because we can grab this tool, which we will make public so you can all play and with that tool we can take those short and precise descriptions and those long descriptions and see, inside this context at least, which are the most effective ones. So what TEDxperiments is about, and what we want to present to you. It's a project to give you a tool to ask yourselves your own questions, to make them and answer them. And when we started this with Facu, Mati, Ceci and the people who made this with us what we dreamed, what we hope will happen, is that some, or maybe many of you can do what we like so much, which is playing and experimenting. Thank you very much.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: Argentina
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxRíodelaPlata
Director: TEDxRíodelaPlata
Views: 130
Posted by: tedxriodelaplata on May 11, 2014

2013 - En el mismo espíritu de difundir ideas, TED ha creado un programa llamado TEDx.
TEDx es un programa de eventos locales, organizados de forma independiente
que reúnen a una audiencia en una experiencia similar a TED. Nuestro evento es
TEDxRíodelaPlata, donde x=evento TED organizado de forma independiente.
En TEDxRíodelaPlata, combinamos videos de charlas de TED y oradores en vivo
para disparar una conversación y conexión profunda entre los asistentes. TED
da lineamientos generales para el programa TEDx, pero cada TEDx individual es
organizado de manera autónoma (sujeto a ciertas directrices).

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