The best systems are simple [TED video]

Simplicity is something we desperately yearn for in areas from data visualization to technology. Yet these very areas often stray into more complex waters, becoming less usable the further they go. George Whitesides, who has a background in chemistry and various other sciences, seems uniquely qualified to help us find a definition of “simplicity” in this TED talk.

If you don’t have 18 minutes to spare, then skip to the 7:30 mark and watch until about 15:30. Whitesides explains how an ideas as simple as a wall switch was used to create the transistor. Many transistors put together created the integrated circuit. Many integrated circuits helped create the computer chip which ultimately evolved into what we know as the Internet and cell phones. Which means a concept as simple as a wall switch was built upon to allow people in the most remote areas of the world to have access to people and information around the globe at their fingertips.

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