Blind machines, lemonade and mating ideas: 6 new colours of the Brave New World

01. November 2017

In the previous article we revealed the Brave New World in the eyes of 10 great speakers. But this year’s TEDxPrague lineup features 16 of them – it’s time to enjoy 6 more pieces of clever minds even before you experience them in real on this Saturday. “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” says Aldous Huxley, the author of Brave New World. We think he’s right, here you are! 

Artists for change

Bryan McCormac is an artist and he believes we can change the world for good by art. Maybe that’s why he really enjoys TED talk by Ron Finley - so called Gangsta Gardener - who was sick of the social problems and living conditions in disordered district he grew up. So he decided to cultivate it. Ron is an artist as well, saying: “Gardening is my graffiti, I grow my art.”

While he’s filling his neighbourhood with enthusiasm for gardening, he’s become a victim of remarkable change in people’s behaviour. This spectacular transformation was defined already for example in “broken windows theory”. It’s widely used in criminology to clarify the roots of evil and vandalism in people by the level of disorder in a particular area they live. (Very well used in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, if you feel interested). Can we really change people by changing their urban surroundings? Look what Ron Finley found out:

Welcome to… the Promised land?

There are approximately 195 countries in the world (depending on your understanding for Taiwan etc.). Many of them are not equipped with well-known attractions for tourists, they can’t offer top-class education to international students, they are not technology and innovation leaders, their economies do not attack the top positions in rankings, they can’t offer the highest standard of living for its citizens and nowadays they can’t even be considered a 100% safe place to live.

Zuzana Pilzová chose one of these ‘less attractive countries’ and made it her home. Now she knows that even though Ukraine is not labelled a paradise, it has a lot to teach us. What can we learn from countries where democracy and freedom isn’t taken for granted?

When ideas have sex

Yes, it’s possible. This is not just a trick to attract your attention, it’s a way that British journalist Matt Ridley explained how we can accelerate the progress we make as a humankind during TED Global 2010.

If you take a look at his findings, you’ll easily end up with a core insight he had in his mind: the engine of every innovation is hiding in cooperation. In mating, in pairing, in putting two pieces of puzzle together. Two heads are better than one. Lorena Macnaughtan is coming soon to push this idea even further. She hopes to encourage rebels to make their rebellions together. Just imagine - how fantastically far can we get if we plant ideas in a fertile soil instead of keeping them in isolation?

In democracy we believe

Ehh… do we? Zuzana Pilzová is going to show us the values one country is fighting for whereas in the Czech Republic we’re obviously turning our back on democracy right now. Bob Kartous was always curious to analyse such phenomenon in society and to understand breaking points in our history accompanied by inevitable change. Now he is coming to make us feel a bit uneasy in comfy seats of Forum Karlín during TEDxPrague 2017: Krásný nový svět – are we able to maintain democracy which we were welcoming accompanied with grandiose celebrations not only three decades ago?

To be artificially intelligent, or not to be…

We’re getting closer and closer! It seems the level of technological development is about to reach its peak. Really? In fact we’ve still got many tricky issues to solve in there. „As a society we are very much blind because our smartest machines are blind,“ says Fei-Fei Li, director of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab and Vision Lab. She asks herself a question that constantly niggles our minds and pushes the most incredible brains working on artificial intelligence towards excellence.  Look at the talk she’s giving on the results of her research:

While she’s searching for the way to „teach“ computers how to understand the meaning of vision (Do you feel like „oh my god where this crazy technological progress is going to an end?!“ Don’t worry, you’re not alone.), AI expert Josef Holý will try to calm you down. Let’s throw away the fear of the speed of technological development and concentrate on the side that really matters instead – like how to accept and really use the technologies in a smart way?

Lemonade wanted!

The youngest speaker at this year’s TEDxPrague big fall conference. Maybe the most brave one. Her upcoming talk is very likely going to become one of the biggest surprises for her younger self and - more importantly - for those around her. Since Dominika Kouřilová has entered this world she has been fighting against the spanners the life had thrown in her way. Why her story matters to be shared?

Because she was simply brave enough to turn her destiny upside down. And she knows how to squeeze the lemons she got to turn them into delicious lemonade. We hope her talk will give you a hint of self-motivation and inspiration for your own journey through Brave New World!

Karolína Kratochvílová
TEDxPrague