The TED website actually explains for me why you should watch Stephen Lawler’s talk on Virtual Earth:

Why you should listen to him:

Microsoft’s Stephen Lawler offers a tour of Virtual Earth that not only reveals the power and potential of the software itself, but also gives a global glimpse of the new virtual frontier of digital globes, the 3D Web and the metaverse.
Lawler also explores the enormous effort it takes to create the fluid blending and shifting between the multiple views and resolutions of Virtual Earth. From the satellites and airplanes that gather photo data for a top-down view to the ground vehicles and headgear-wearing pedestrians who canvas the ground for an eye-level perspective — all of it represents a monumental effort of logistics and mechanics.

I think one of the things this talk makes clear is that there are lots of neat things coming our way. And the innovations that are being revealed now have probably been in development for the last couple of years. Imagine what great stuff is being thought up right now… Exciting times. ;)