Stats that reshape your worldview
Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus."Rosling believes that making information more accessible has the potential to change the quality of the information itself." Business Week Online
Global health expert turned statistician Hans Rosling uses 3-D imaging to illustrate a 200-year statistical trend toward greater health and wealth across all countries. The 3-D bells and whistles serve a purpose as Rosling believes that more accessible public data becomes, the more the public understands and can better itself. The video below is excerpted from the BBC documentary The Joy of Stats, hosted by Rosling and exploring how programs like the San Francisco Crimespotting map are opening up public data in realtime. While the BBC is most likely blocked in your country, a gallery of Rosling’s infographic presentations is available at TED.com.
Speakers Hans Rosling: Global health expert; data visionary
In Hans Rosling’s hands, data sings. Global trends in health and economics come to vivid life. And the big picture of global development—with some surprisingly good news—snaps into sharp focus.
Why you should listen to him:
Even the most worldly and well-traveled among us will have their perspectives shifted by Hans Rosling. A professor of global health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, his current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called developing world, which (he points out) is no longer worlds away from the West. In fact, most of the Third World is on the same trajectory toward health and prosperity, and many countries are moving twice as fast as the west did.
What sets Rosling apart isn't just his apt observations of broad social and economic trends, but the stunning way he presents them. Guaranteed: You've never seen data presented like this.By any logic, a presentation that tracks global health and poverty trends should be, in a word: boring. But in Rosling's hands, data sings. Trends come to life. And the big picture — usually hazy at best — snaps into sharp focus.
Rosling's presentations are grounded in solid statistics (often drawn from United Nations data), illustrated by the visualization software he developed. The animations transform development statistics into moving bubbles and flowing curves that make global trends clear, intuitive and even playful. During his legendary presentations, Rosling takes this one step farther, narrating the animations with a sportscaster's flair.Rosling developed the breakthrough software behind his visualizations through his nonprofitGapminder, founded with his son and daughter-in-law. The free software — which can be loaded with any data — was purchased by Google in March 2007. (Rosling met the Google founders at TED.)
Rosling began his wide-ranging career as a physician, spending many years in rural Africa tracking a rare paralytic disease (which he named konzo) and discovering its cause: hunger and badly processed cassava. He co-founded Médecins sans Frontièrs (Doctors without Borders) Sweden, wrote a textbook on global health, and as a professor at the Karolinska Institut in Stockholm initiated key international research collaborations. He's also personally argued with many heads of state, including Fidel Castro.
As if all this weren't enough, the irrepressible Rosling is also an accomplished sword-swallower — a skill he demonstrated at TED2007.
"Rosling believes that making information more accessible has the potential to change the quality of the information itself." Business Week Online