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TED Talks hits 1 billion views; Ben Affleck, Bill Gates celebrate

November 14, 2012|By Deborah Netburn
(YouTube )

Six years after the first TED Talks were uploaded to the Internet, the free Web video series devoted to "ideas worth spreading" has logged more than 1 billion views, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

And to celebrate, the organization headed by entrepreneur and former tech journalist Chris Anderson has asked a few big-name people to make playlists of their favorite TED Talks.

Ben Affleck's list of eight TED Talks that blew his mind include talks by statistician Hans Rosling, poet Sarah Kay and director J.J. Abrams. 

Bill Gates selected 13 favorite talks including David Christian's "The history of our world in 18 minutes," Melinda Gates "Let's put birth control back on the agenda" and David Blaine's "How I held my breath for 17 minutes." 

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, started as invitation-only in 1984. It became an annual conference in 1990 and was purchased in 2001 by Anderson, who now curates the talks. He made it a nonprofit organization 

In 2006 -- in the early days of Internet video -- the organization uploaded six talks to the Web, where they were available for free download. Less than six months later, the talks had been viewed more than 1 million times.

TED Talks seems to have perfected a formula for delivering easily digestible bits of information or ideas  that the organization hopes will help change the world -- or at least get viewers thinking in new and different ways. The talks are almost never longer than 18 minutes, and TED speakers are challenged to focus on a single idea. 

Today, the organization said more than 1,400 TED Talks are available online and they are viewed more than 1.5 million every day. Those views are fueled by 8,000 translators who make the talks available in more than 90 languages. 

They have even spawned their own parody series: the hilarious, and spot on, Onion Talks

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