TEDxUCSD | 2017 | richard-lin
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Richard Lin ’17

Computer Science


Tell us about yourself!
I’m a very easygoing kind of guy – I don’t show my emotions very often, but I can be very soft at times. For hobbies, I enjoy playing basketball. I lack creative skills, but I really admire beautiful art and clean design.
What is your favorite TED talk and why?

My favorite TED talk is “Let’s use video to reinvent education” from Salman Khan, the creator of Khan Academy. Education is something that has stayed relatively constant for centuries, but only now are we cognizant of the drawbacks of the modern classr
oom. Having the courage to change such a foundational part of our society is audacious but necessary, and Sal is pioneering that vision.

What enticed you to choose your major(s) and/or minor(s)?
In high school, I joined my school’s robotics team. It seemed so cool to be able to program a robot to do whatever you wanted, and so I wanted to be able to create amazing things with software. Computer science is a field that’s changing so fast and becoming so prevalent, and it’s exciting to be a part of that.
What is your interpretation of this years TEDxUCSD theme, Madness and Miracles?
When I think of our theme, I think of how our closed-mindedness can suppress the next great ideas we have. Society may not be willing to accept revolutionary ideas, but we have to maintain an open mind and think “what if?”. No matter how foolish or mad we appear, these new ways of thinking are indeed refreshing, and absolutely have potential to become part of tomorrow’s “everyday”.
Who/What inspires you?
I’m surrounded by people who challenge me to better myself everyday. I learn best by watching and imitating, so when I’m around my peers, I feel inspired to be as great as them. The ambition of becoming as great as them drives me forward.
If you could have a super power what would it be and why?
The power to absolutely control and perceive emotions. Practically, this would mean I can read facial and body expressions to understand someone’s feelings, as well as intensifying or withholding my own. My life so far has been pretty mundane and uneventful, so my personal emotional range seldom reaches the extremes. This may make me sound like a robot, but I want to be able to be more empathetic – not just for my own benefit, but so that I could help others better when they’re going through their own hardships.
What's one thing you can't live without?
As obvious as it may seem, I can’t live without food. Even if humans magically no longer need to eat to survive, I would still eat delicious food just so I can savor the flavors. This is why I would never use Soylent – there’s nothing that beats the incredible feeling of eating, chewing, devouring, inhaling food.
What is one life goal that you have?
My life goal is to become fluent in my “trifecta” of three languages: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. This will likely take me my entire lifetime, but it’s a goal that I’ve always dreamed of achieving.
Choose a song to describe you and explain why you chose this song.
I don’t have a very good answer for this one, but I’ll go with “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta” by Geto Boys. My high school friends used to say this song suited me but I never really understood why, even now. My guess is that the song sounds really chill and laid back, which seems to fit my personality.