The Magnificent Ten: TEDxPrague 2017 reveals Brave New Speakers

05. October 2017

Morning! You just woke up in your house. It looks the same except… it’s made of plastic. You turn off your alarm clock. Without touching it. Then start preparing a must-have coffee while still lying in your comfy bed. Just with your mental strength. Are you a woman? Lucky you, you rule the world. (Man? You’re on the list of endangered species, sorry.) Welcome to the Brave New World.

Scientist, lecturer, architect, therapist, economist, psychiatrist, philanthropist, journalist, educator and musician – 10 different visions of the world we’re heading today. What do we need to do to sustain human race? What has to be done to protect us against the dark side of new technologies? And what kind of magic has the power to irrevocably change the way we experience life?  Please meet the very first TEDxPrague 2017 speakers – pleasure to let you explore their fascinating worlds!

1. Captain Cyborg

Have you ever been dreaming of being a cyborg? One of those creatures controlling super-powers thanks to combination of artificial and biological parts in their body? Kevin Warwick has. And unlike you  – no offence – he didn’t mind taking necessary steps to make this crazy idea come true.

One summer afternoon, in 1988, Kevin decided not to be an ordinary human anymore. He chose to become one of those we know from Star Wars, Star Trek or the Terminator. Therefore he planted a chip in his arm to test possibilities of interactions between humans and machines. And it was a great success! At first he managed to control lights, open the doors or switch the heaters in the building just by his proximity. Later on while he was sitting in his armchair in New York, he easily managed to move a robotic arm in the UK. That’s 7 thousand kilometres far away.

And what about telepathy, you might ask? Well, not a big deal for Kevin…  Do not miss an amazing chance to meet the world leader in cybernetics in person. He will join us on a red round carpet soon.  

2. Warrior for Human Race

Once upon a time there was a family. A man was working hard, earning money to financially secure his wife and kids. He was a true head and leader of his family – always brave and protective, his decisions were strong as a rock. Wait, in the story there was a wife as well. Tiny, fragile and rather silent woman. Perfect housewife and the best caring mother in the world. Always well dressed and beautiful to support her husband when going out.  Well, here’s something wrong, isn’t it…

The story simply isn’t true anymore – not a big news really. But the run for equity seems to get out of control.  Women are starting to dominate in many fields and what used to be a men’s privilege slowly disappears. Zuzana Labudová warns us against the world paved with the boulevards of broken relationships. The world full of men trying to find the place they lost. The world ruled by women who don’t need men until they realize that humans are sliding towards extinction…

3. Plastic Queen

If you feel bored living in any country in today’s world, cheer up and start packing your stuff. Soon you can ask to become a citizen in a brand new country in the Pacific Ocean. Sadly, so called Trash Isles are made up of a huge amount of mostly plastic litter that ended up in the ocean. It has formed into a patch bigger than France. And it’s going to grow – in spite of environment-friendly and recycling efforts we produce and throw away billions of plastic items every year. Since you’ve started reading this article, about 2,5 million of plastic bottles were produced!

“What can we do with them?” Kateřina Nováková was thinking a few years ago. “What if... our houses were built of it?” The architect eager for new solutions and ideas didn’t need much time to decide what to do – this is how a plastic brick was invented. Now Kateřina can’t wait to share her plastic story with the curious TEDx audience!

Are we going to live in a plastic world? Pic: Pixabay
Are we going to live in a plastic world? Pic: Pixabay

4. Passionate Revolutionist

Man vs Machine – eternal fight or ever-lasting marvellous dance? We’ve been fascinated by progress and knowledge, we are passionate about controlling the objects that surround us. Some of us are scared of new technologies, some completely deny it, scared of losing the world we used to know. Once we reach another level of development, once we bring new technology to life, we are afraid of becoming redundant. We get replaced by the machine we invented on our own. Such irony!

How can that be? The roots of rejection grow from the gap between the level of our knowledge, openness to absorb the development and the current state of technological progress. Pavel Kysilka, attracted by the real face of digital revolution, believes that such gap can be bridged only by education. Learning leads to success. The degree of digitalization and automation of services go hand in hand with prosperity. Are you ready to get retrained for the future?

5. Miss Alchemist

„Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own” - in the words of Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist. According to him we all must keep being aware of our own personal worlds in order to cope with other people and to find our position in the whole world.

Embodiment of this life philosophy comes with Sugandho – this woman experienced in more meditation methods than you can even imagine will bring her inner alchemy on TEDxPrague 2017 stage. Did you know that the tempting treasures we tend to search outside are most likely already inside of ourselves? Come and catch the flow, without consciousness of connectedness with the rest of the society you can easily get lost in the brave new world ahead…

6. Magician of Substances

Filip Tylš believes that a single trip can change the way you experience your life. And a trip to Grand Canyon, Egyptian pyramids or freezing Siberia is obviously not what we’re talking about here. You don’t need to hop on a train and travel thousands of kilometres to discover completely different world. We have it – all of us – in our brain. Hidden, waiting for the chance to burst.

Those who have tried at least once to boost their mind with psychedelic substances, like LSD or the mushrooms you don’t normally put in Italian risotto, say they explored something special. Something extraordinary and wonderful – possibly the strongest experience in their entire life. Which will never be the same again. Now there’s a pretty good chance we get these “drugs” prescribed to solve our psychic issues and depressions. What if we lived in the world where psychedelics in psychiatry are as essential tool as telescope in astronomy?

Scientists claim that psychedelics let you transcendent the borders of your consciousness. Pic: PixaBay
Scientists claim that psychedelics let you transcendent the borders of your consciousness. Pic: PixaBay

7. Not-for-profit Businessman

“Money isn’t everything, you can’t buy happiness with it.” How many times you’ve heard this? Many have already proved that this isn’t true at all. Michael Norton having his talk on generosity in Cambridge in 2011 says that you actually CAN buy happiness – if you spend your money on the right things. Or let’s say when doing it the right way. Just don’t spend it on yourself but the others. People who give money to charity are happier than those who don’t – pure coincidence? We don’t think so.

Instead of ruing your life by being anti-social, be pro-social. Foster the cohesion of relationships in your community. Use the money to cultivate the world you’ll be happy to live in.  During TEDxPrague 2017 you’ll meet Jan Školník – a perfect example of a businessman who decided to put the profit back to the region he lives in through the non-profit he runs. And it works!

8. Pathfinder of Otherness

A weird kid, an outsider, a freak – this young girl was never accepted by the “normal” society. With her autism spectrum disorder she was always a bit different, but also exceptionally intelligent and inventive. Finally her teacher helps her to break the prejudice and reveal her qualities to the world - as you could see in a biographical movie Temple Grandin (2010).

When a real Temple Grandin illustrated a different way her brain works to an impressed TED audience, she had already done an amazing job to spread awareness of autism in the non-autistic world. Unfortunately, she also contributed to the stereotypical and very narrow look at autism already set by Dustin Hoffmann in Rain Man in 1988.

Petr Třešňák is bringing up one of the kids which are neither like Rain Man nor Temple Grandin. He’s going to show you a dark, painful form of autism as well as the challenge it represents for the Brave New World. Ready?

9. Visionary Educator

One of the biggest challenges of the new world is the way we prepare the children for it. They will live in a completely digitalised world, many current professions will completely disappear. Today’s youths will work in areas which do not exist yet. Sadly, we keep preparing our children for this different world still the way we did it 100 years ago. Why are we such diehards?

Ondřej Šteffl was always sure it didn’t make any sense. Now three decades have passed since he started to establish the schools of future - PORG, followed up by 8 ScioSchools. What needs to be done to change the way we educate creators of the brave new world?

The future of education was a broadly discussed topic at TEDxPragueED 2017 - the videos to emerge soon on TEDxPrague website, don’t miss them!

10. Violoncellist in Slippers

Serious face expressions, rigid body posture, uncomfortable formal clothes, perfect visage, strict etiquette, sacred silence… do you feel like coughing or sneezing? Don’t you dare! Classical music has always been a really serious stuff. Nothing for dummies. Until Tomáš Jamník  asked himself “Who says classical music must be enjoyed in silence and only by the chosen ones?”

Since then everyone can host a fancy concert at home, in friendly atmosphere and slippers on their feet, having musicians, friends and family altogether within reach. Classical music is for everyone, you just need to discover how to enjoy it your unique way. Join us at TEDxPrague 2017 and let the music of the Brave New World get deep under your skin!

Stay tuned, other heroes are coming soon.

Karolína Kratochvílová
TEDxPrague