TEDxBrussels is a local, self-organized event that brings a TED-like experience to Brussels. I already often mentioned videos and presentations from TED (for instance here, here or here). When I read that it will again be organized in Brussels in 2011 I decided to attend this edition. Here is a short summary of this intense day with my tweets and the just-released videos. It would be very time consuming to write about each and every talk. Here I will just highlight speakers I like the most (you can have a look at TEDxBrussels website for the complete list of speakers).
22.11.11-09.09: Tell people you work in a #pharma company and you immediately get questions on #ethics. Yes it’s an ethical business!
One of the nice thing about a TED event is that you get to see many new people, most of them very interesting with cool background, strange or simply something nice to say. And, yes, when you tell people you are working in the pharmaceutical industry, questions on ethics immediately pop up 🙂
22.11.11-09.40: Nice sweet talk from Cuartielles at #tedxbrussels #arduino. Learn by doing.
One of the first talks was from David Cuartielles on the Arduino project. His talk was like a reminder that life is still very physical and the Arduino project is a good example of “open source hardware” and of “leaning by doing”. It reminded me that when I will have time, I would really like to play with the Arduino!
Also embedded in physical life were talks by Henrik Scharfe (F-Geminoid) and Ken Haase (E Pluribus Unum). Hasan Elahi (Hiding in plain sight) and Kaliya Hamlin (Identity) introduced concepts of radical transparency and participatory totalitarianism (respectively). And during that time, many people were logged in Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks, updating their status, giving everybody parts of their lives and, for most of them, using their unique identity given at birth.
22.11.11-10.28: #eyeborg Spence at #tedxbrussels: I’m not an expert but I have a camera in my eye
Then we went back to hardware with Rob Spence talking about the camera he used to have in place of his eye. It was also interesting to discover how people improved a lot prosthetic arms, legs (and eye thus). I found also cool the augmented reality that was displayed in the fireman mask as well as the simple way a fireman can change this display.
22.11.11-11.16: #smartcars are not just cool tech projects, they can solve some current issues. Waiting for #collaboration between them. #tedxbrussels
Raul Rojas presented his team’s “car that think”. Again, it was very interesting to see how technology evolved: this VW can drive all alone in the traffic in Berlin! It seems that cars are becoming “smarter”. But I thought he would touch the fact these smart cars can autonomously collaborate between themselves (once they are more than one). Then these smartcars could one day outperform human drivers in heavy traffic.
22.11.11-11.27: High concentration of #apple products at #tedxbrussels. Feeling a bit lonely with my #moleskine and #pen 🙂
And if we stay in hardware, there was an awful lot of MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, IObjects in the audience. And even some speakers brought Apple products on stage. I just had a moleskine and a pen to take some notes. My Android phone was way enough to update Twitter 🙂 (but it was definitely not good at taking pictures in the feeble light during talks).
22.11.11-13.16: Great talks from Ashdown, Meyer (entrepreneurship), Hypponen, Janah (microwork) & Chakrabarti (education+) this morning at #tedxbrussels 🙂
The end of the morning was filled with interesting presentations from Paddy Ashdown (Why the world will never be the same …), Mikko H. Hypponen (Definding the net), Julie Meyer, Leila Janah (see below for the previous 2 people’s videos) and Kushal Chakrabarti (What does education mean to you?). While both have their own qualities and bring work to the world, it was interesting to compare the personnalities of Julie Meyer (more formal, on the financial side, “money follows ideas”, presentation with the logo of her company on top right, helping individual entrepreneurs) …
and Leila Janah’s (less formal, playing more with emotions, “technology must serve humanity”, more “web 2.0” presentation, being an entrepreneur and helping individuals getting jobs in the same company (hers)).
22.11.11-07: Wonderful and breathtaking para-music #tedxbrussels
The afternoon indeed started with a beautiful concert by disabled people with Charles Hazlewood as conductor. It was then followed by a serie of science-fuction authors where they explained to us a part of life (and its adaptability to a changing world): David Brin (Target 2061), John Shriley (False singularities …), Rudy Rucker (Beyond machines …), Jacques Vallée (Theory of everything else), …
22.11.11-15.41: Strange talk about death bed visitors by Fenwick #tedxbrussels
And it continued with a very strange presentation (imho, ymmv) about dying well by Peter Fenwick!
22.11.11-16.45: I should have danced my PhD 🙂 #tedxbrussels
Then we saw an effective way to present what Ph.D. students are doing: dance (John Bohannon and the Black Label Movement)!
22.11.11-16:57: From Oxford or not, a video link is unfortunately still less powerful than a live talk #tedxbrussels
The Science section started with a video conference from David Deutsch (The Unknowable …). His talk was very interesting but nothing will beat a real, live talk, especially if the professor on the other side of the video link is … well, teaching like a professor.
22.11.11-18.31: @xprize I would prize simple delivery system and tech that drastically improve basic sanitation+health issues for 10mio people #tedxbrussels
Deutsch was followed by a presentation of what does the XPrize Foundation by Eileen Bartholomew. In the end, she asked for feedback and what we would like the XPrize Foundation to support. I think that tackling basic health issues will not be very difficult; getting money for less developed countries can be the problem and that’s where the Foundation can help. Solutions submitted to this hypothetical prize won’t necessarily be using the latest, cool hi-tech of the moment but I’m sure they can be very effective. Leveraging power, they said.
22.11.11-17.16: Interesting futuristic story from Marc Millis #tedxbrussels
And after these two high-level talks we went back to science fiction with Marc Millis telling his story going to other planets (“colonies”) in space. That was relaxing (btw, he was sitting on a sofa).
22.11.11-17.39: Great session on the future of biology and health – at least for a biologist #tedxbrussels
22.11.11-18.35: Intetesting perspectives on bioengineering (Hessel), fut medicine (Tuszynski) and ageing (Duncan) #tedxbrussels
Then, as a finale, 3 talks on biology and health! Yippee! Andrew Hessel started by talking about synthetic biology, biotechnologies and his participation in the open source biology movement. One day, there will be an org (organism) for the things you want to do. Jack Tiszynski followed with the drastic idea of replacing doctors by software for diagnostics and brought the idea that we will have a “virtual double” in our future smartphones. This double will know our predisposition to diseases and suggest prevention methods and cures. Finally David Duncan talked about extreme ageing and some of the important issues brought by prolonging life and being healthy for a longer period of time than before. (I wish the videos were already on the website!)
22.11.11-18.37: Overall, loved this first #tedxbrussels experience! 🙂
I unfortunately didn’t have time to attend the last part of the session (damn!). But anyway, thanks to the organizers for this edition of TEDxBrussels! Even if all of them are not relevant to your job or will not be applicable before a long time, it gives you lots of ideas and it will take me some time to explore more in details some (many) of them. I started by collecting direct links to presentations above on Pinboard. Feel free to use them as starting point too!