Google Begins “Solve for X” Talks to Help Solve World Problems

March 16, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. gather (v.) – to bring people (or things) together
Example This summer, I will gather all my friends and go with them to the beach.

2. innovator (n.) – a person who does or thinks of something in a new, different or better way
Example:  Steve Jobs is called an innovator because he changed the way people listen to music.

3. daring (adj.) – (of an idea) very risky, difficult or different
Example:  Human space travel is a daring project.

4.  radical (adj.) – new and unusual
Example: The mayor made radical decisions to clean the polluted city.

5. exclusive (adj.) – only available to a certain group or person
Example:  Some rooms in the hotel are exclusive to hotel club members.

Read the text below.

Google has launched a series of meetings under the name "Solve for X," which gathers together people with ideas on how to solve the world's biggest problems.

Through “Solve for X” talks, business men and women, scientists, and innovators share possible solutions to world problems. These solutions, called "moonshots," are daring projects that seem to belong only in science fiction. But Google’s Executive chairman Eric Schmidt said the moonshots are indeed "real ideas of the future."

Each “Solve for X” talk answers three main questions: 1) What huge problem does the idea want to solve? 2) What radical solutions can the idea offer? and 3) How does the idea use new science and technology to solve the problem?

Some topics already discussed in the meetings include taking actual pictures of a person’s thoughts, discovering science experts among Internet users and online gamers, and recycling electronic waste.

“Solve for X” talks have been compared to TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) meetings, where experts from different fields also discuss ideas that can “change the world.” Bruno Giussani, the European director for TED conferences, praised Google’s program. If people have more opportunities to share their ideas, the more chances the ideas can become reality, he said. He added that because “Solve for X” was started by Google, the talks will likely focus on technology and engineering.

Google said it will hold several “Solve for X" meetings each year. Such talks are not exclusive to experts who attend the meetings. Videos of “Solve for X” (and TED) lectures are posted online and are free for anyone to view.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Among the world’s problems, which one do you personally hope can be solved? Why?
·         In your own way, how do you think you can help solve this big problem?
Discussion B

·         If you could create your own technology (robot, machine, gadget, etc.), what kind of technology would it be? How would that technology help you or others?
·         Do you think technology brings more harm than good? Why or why not?


March 16, 2012