Another hugely successful TEDx Sydney conference showcased Australians leading the world with innovations, insights, and rare talents at ICC last Friday 15 June 2018.
The theme this year was Humankind and speakers wove this thread through their presentations.
Brain surgeon and bionics pioneer Thomas Oxleydemonstrated a tiny stent that can be inserted into a main blood vessel in the brain, so ‘brain waves’ can control prosthetic bionic limbs. Forget about fearing robots taking over the world - we will be the robots.
Magda Szubanski discussed developing courage and the many forms that may take in a person’s life. From living your authentic self to running towards the flames, she admitted to not having the warrior gene, but that it didn’t matter and we could all be brave.
Former Facebook CEO for Australia and NZ, Stephen Scheeler discussed being the oldest person in the room and how, after he decided to ask Millennials what they could teach him, he started to learn a lot. Don’t get too excited Millennials – it’s a two-way street.
Fact-Check Editor at The Conversation, Lucinda Beaman, is our frontline warrior against Fake News. Lucinda spoke about the importance of changing your mind, when you receive new facts that prove your current opinions to be wrong. Back-flipping or accepting new information shows intelligence and maturity, and politicians should not be crucified when they do this.
Jahan Kalantar proudly wears his moustache curled like a circus ringmaster, to bring levity to what is usually very depressing situations. Staunchly representing people when they are accused of terrible crimes, Jahan gave us a formula for apologising.
Speakers discussed the benefits of diversity in every aspect of life. In AFL Victoria, Chyloe Kurdas, rebelled against her traditional upbringing and proved beyond a doubt that opening AFL to the other 50% of the population would benefit the game dramatically. Fire-fighter Bronnie Mackintosh explained the benefits of having diversity in situations needing smaller rescuers for squeezing into tight spots, or speak different languages, or understand other cultural norms. Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe talked about Aboriginals being farmers and building innovators long before Europe, and this traditional Australian land knowledge could really benefit all Australians now. Eddie Woo entertained us with mathematical wizardry.
Fang Chen reassured us that the Harbour Bridge is happy and we know this because of the thousands of sensors that have been fitted throughout the structure. Dr Anjali Jaiprakash is developing vision for robots, so they can behave better and we can trust them with our lives. Dr Suzie Sheehy banged on about banging particles together and the need to indulge curiosity, because you never know the worlds it opens up. Nicole Gurran has a solution for our public housing crisis and will prove it in a three episode reality TV show. Father Rod Bower reminded us to do unto others as we’d have done to us. Budding Martian dweller James Bevington proved humans could survive on other planets. And Ian Strange demonstrated time and again that ‘Home’ is multifaceted.
Cunning linguist Miles Merrill slammed us with poetry, while we literally went down the throat of the incredible Tom Thumb to see vocal chords in motion. And David Capra translated Dachshund for us.
Plus, amazing performances from indigenous singers, a rural children’s choir and a music machine with singers on technological stalks.
The theme of Humankind was a reminder of how humans love communicating, sharing and building on story, through song, sensors, poetry, manufacturing, art, and words. Let’s keep sharing our ideas and stories and see you next year at TEDx Sydney 2019.
By Carey Furze, Bookform Founder
Bookform is an online resource to collect and share stories in a modern format.