TED conference sets stage for a week of bright ideas

June 10, 2013

A former Greek prime minster, a specialist in the sex lives of animals and a "gentleman thief" are among the eclectic set of speakers spreading cutting-edge ideas at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh this week.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences that presents speakers with an 18-minute window to get across their message of choice.

Previous speakers include U2 singer Bono, Microsoft mastermind and former US president Bill Clinton.

The simple principle has remained unchanged since the very first gathering at Monterey in California in 1984.

TEDGlobal is a more internationally oriented sister conference, which was added in 2005.

"Every year TEDGlobal ignites an exciting conversation about the issues that matter most in the world," explained TED's European Director Bruno Giussani.

This year's conference, themed "Think Again", will host 900 attendees from 62 countries at the Edinburgh International Conference Center.

More than 70 speakers from the worlds of science, business, politics and art will have the opportunity to present their "ideas worth spreading", the group's slogan.

It officially opened on Monday, but the four days of speeches kick off on Tuesday.

"We really want people to reexamine critical policy, social and , and to be aware of and technologies that are changing the way we work and interact," added Giussani.

Each participant paid $6,000 dollars (4,530 euros) to attend, but all the presentations will be filmed and broadcast free on the internet at the end of the week.

Videos from previous conferences have garnered over a billion viewings, according to Sapling Foundation, the non-profit foundation behind the event.

It is also possible to follow the conference in realtime on the internet for $995 dollars.

Taking to the podium this year will be former Greek prime minister George Papandreou, who will share the lessons learnt from his handling of the country's debt crisis.

A North Korean refugee and ex-Libyan prime minister Moustapha Abou Chagour—the first to be elected after the fall of Moamer Kadhafi—will share their vision of the world.

Meanwhile, Shanghai businessman Eric X. Li will champion the merits of China, which, according to him, present a "moral challenge" to western democracy.

More unusually, "gentleman thief" Apollo Robbins promises to "take the watch from your wrist and the phone from your pocket", before showing guests how to do it themselves.

A biologist specialising in the love life of animals is also due to narrate "their wild sex stories".

The women's rights cause will be represented by Saudi activist Manal Al-Sharif and the American Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Slaughter caused a stir by writing an article entitled "Why Women Still Can't Have it All", explaining why she gave up a high-flying job at the State Department in order to take up a role at Princeton University which enabled her to care for her two sons.

Environmentalists are set to make the case that drones, instead of dropping bombs, could be used to deliver supplies to remote areas and assist in the conservation fight.

The conference will host "Regeneration", a session in which physicians and neuroscientists detail the latest efforts to repair the brain, bones and human tissue damaged through trauma and degenerative diseases.

TEDGlobal was originally held in the famous English university town of Oxford, but has since moved to the Scottish capital.

In May 2012, TED held a conference in Mogadishu, giving mainly Somali entrepreneurs, human rights activists and researchers the chance to showcase another face of Somalia following years of civil war.

Explore further: Internet life in spotlight at global TED gathering

Related Stories

Internet life in spotlight at global TED gathering

June 21, 2012

The TED conference, known for taking an innovative look at cutting-edge issues, will delve into whether the Internet is making the world more open or closed at a gathering in Scotland on Monday.

TED tailors 'ideas worth spreading' for TV

May 4, 2013

The prestigious TED gathering known for perspective-shifting presentations by the brilliant and famous is tailoring "ideas worth spreading" for a television audience. TED teamed with the US Corporation for Public Broadcasting ...

TED Talks take wing online as enclave ends

March 2, 2013

As a week of mind-bending TED Conference talks ranging from animal necrophilia to fighting poverty ended Friday, inspiring presentations from the renowned gathering were spreading.

War-torn Somalia stages TEDx conference

May 17, 2012

Somalia's war-ravaged capital Mogadishu will host Thursday its first ever TED talks as part of efforts to showcase improvements in development, business and security, organisers said.

TED brings innovation talk to Intel

March 29, 2013

Intel researcher Jennifer Healey stepped onto a stage decorated with a mad scientist's lab in mind and made her case for gossiping cars.

Recommended for you

WhatsApp vulnerable to snooping: report

January 13, 2017

The Facebook-owned mobile messaging service WhatsApp is vulnerable to interception, the Guardian newspaper reported on Friday, sparking concern over an app advertised as putting an emphasis on privacy.

US gov't accuses Fiat Chrysler of cheating on emissions

January 12, 2017

The U.S. government accused Fiat Chrysler on Thursday of failing to disclose software in some of its pickups and SUVs with diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution than allowed under the Clean Air Act.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.