Deb Roy starts his talk by telling us about his completely wired house, both video and audio in every room, which he uses to record all the steps from bringing his son home as an infant to the point where the son says his first word that is not baby talk, and beyond. By the end of his talk he is talking about communication maps formed from the intersection of television broadcasts and social media. Do you understand this almost two Ted talks in one. Are the implications liberating or frightening.

Why you should listen

Deb Roy directs the Cognitive Machines group at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies how children learn language, and designs machines that learn to communicate in human-like ways. To enable this work, he has pioneered new data-driven methods for analyzing and modeling human linguistic and social behavior. He has authored numerous scientific papers on artificial intelligence, cognitive modeling, human-machine interaction, data mining, and information visualization.

Who is he

Deb Roy was the co-founder and serves as CEO of Bluefin Labs, a venture-backed technology company. Built upon deep machine learning principles developed in his research over the past 15 years, Bluefin has created a technology platform that analyzes social media commentary to measure real-time audience response to TV ads and shows.


1. What method did Deb Roy use to capture his data?

2. Initially what was Deb Roy’s purpose for this research?

3.  By turning his video into a graphic, what kinds find in terms of his son’s vocabulary?

4.  What happend when the research team applied their process to TV and social media?

5. How are your TV viewing habits shaped by social media?

6. Roy thinks that this media data from the real world can be a powerful new tool for science, commerce, government and individuals. What’s your reaction? Explain why you think this.

The Birth of a Word with Deb Roy


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>