From animal social behavior (even bats do it!) to aerial silking and groundbreaking cancer detection, TEDxZurich 2013 featured a wide range of topics.
I was particularly listening for ground-breaking, mind-shattering "ideas worth spreading" - the inherent strengths of TED talks. My personal highlights were therefore the sonification of the Higgs boson, as well as the demo of humanoid Roboy.
On the other hand, some talks were too much about a speaker's personal issues or motivation - and not enough about future thought. I would hope that for next year's conference, even more emphasis is placed on innovation and the practical application of ideas. For instance, what's my take-away from "The Future of Marketing"? That if a company is doing social media, they are already in the future...
Given that there were 17 talks in all, a few misses still make it a good enough "hit rate" to justify a day's off from work! And here are some of the highlights:
Roboy Humanoid Robot
Developed in just nine months (!) at the Artificial Lab of the University of Zurich, Roboy is a freakishly talented humanoid robot. The system did crash once during the demo, but Roboy is capable of emotions like shyness, wonder or anger. The torso with 48 simulated muscles, joints and bones imitates human anatomy.
Maybe we have just met a work colleague from the future...
I was at #TEDxZurich today, it was great! I was so nervous, I crashed a little! :)
— Roboy Junior (@RoboyJunior) October 2, 2013
Ian Livingstone: Life is a Game
He is Lara Croft's self proclaimed "favorite uncle", Ian Livingstone. "We are playful by nature", Livingstone proclaimed, calling for computer programming classes in grade school. Ignoring how games attract our attention and help us challenge our boundaries, it only makes sense to apply gamification in education.
Livingstone was not exactly advocating Grand Theft Auto type games be used in schools. But I agree that raising the profile of games is the only way to prepare children to become the "digital manufacturers of the future."
Exciting times: Ian Livingstone talking about life and games #TEDxZurich pic.twitter.com/8PExMDTFV4
— Fabijen Lorenz (@Fabijen) October 2, 2013
Miki Adderley: Aerial Silking Artist
(Photograph copyright by TEDxZurich/Flickr)
Doing things for fun, out of curiosity and for the sake of collaborating with people. Brilliant and inspiring talk Miki! #TEDxZurich
— ChristianLangenegger (@langenegger) October 2, 2013
Judith Simon: When Things do Things to Things
"Things, artifacts, and infrastructures have always influenced our behaviour as humans." Whether it be speed-bumps that force drivers to slow down, or those gates at airport immigration which only allow us to walk into one direction: Our actions are increasingly being influenced by "things"!
When it comes to preserving digital privacy, users need to "reclaim agency, knowledge and power through critical usage, design and governance." As a start, the free Ghosterly tool unhides all companies tracking a user online.
Judith Simon argues for "epistemic hacking" (see pic) #tedxzurich pic.twitter.com/vBxZRpftqj
— Andreas Kyriacou (@andreaskyriacou) October 2, 2013