2016

Blockchain and a new paradigm of collectivity

Matan Field believes we are standing at the dawn of a new era, a turning point in society, and invites us in to this changing world. First introduced by the anonymous Bitcoin inventor, Blockchain is a revolutionary new technology and concept which is now an exponential force. Are you ready to imagine a purely decentralized era of large-scale cooperation between people and computers which has never been possible before?

The spontaneous origin of creativity

What is creativity and where does it come from? Neuroscientist Nathan Evans from the Agalma Foundation asks this question during his talk, and enlists two jazz pianists to help him answer it. During their performance, an EEG charts and projects the neural activities of two pianists as they synergize, improvise and create. The performance demonstrates what is happening in the brain when humans spontaneously collaborate in an uncertain and evolving environment.

How climate change is altering the underwater soundscape

The underwater isn’t silent, it’s as noisy as any jungle or rainforest – but climate change is dramatically changing the soundscape and the impact on the planet could be cataclysmic. Oceanographer Kate Stafford takes us on an auditory and visual journey, from the depths of the ocean and up to the surface with a clear message – to develop local solutions to reduce human-caused underwater noise.

Life-saving drones

The word “drone” has become synonymous with autonomous killing machine. But the technology itself isn’t inherently evil—in fact, drones might be the best solution to some of the world’s biggest problems. Engineer Samir Hayat explains how she is redesigning drones to perform tasks such as search and rescue, and explores how this technology could one day revolutionize humanitarian aid work.

 

The universe has spoken to us

Ever heard a sound from 1.3 billion years ago? On 14 September 2015, scientists were able to sense and record a vibration of space time. Sheila Rowan bends minds and perspectives in her lucid explanation of gravitational waves – the study of which she has dedicated her whole career. But what’s next? With highly sensitive detectors, the family tree of black hole evolution throughout cosmic time could be unveiled…

The promise and perils of DNA editing

Today we have the possibility to edit diseases like caner out of our genome. But ethicist and policy expert Eleonore Pauwels is urging doctors and policy makers to look before they leap into an uncertain future. In her talk, Pauwels explains the potential of genome editing, but how if we’re not careful, playing with our DNA could make us vulnerable to unforeseen and potentially lethal consequences.

Exploring the vast dark universe

Only a tiny fraction of the matter in our universe is visible; everything else is dark. Dark matter is so shy that we only know it exists because of its ostensible gravitational tugs on celestial bodies. Physicist Laura Baudis from the University of Zurich explains the history of dark matter research and how scientists are hoping to uncover its mysterious properties by trapping, tracking or even creating it by using the world’s best tools.

Why toddlers are smarter than computers

Advancements in artificial intelligence are changing how we analyze and process information. But these advances fall short when compared with the ingenuity and creativity of an average three-year old. In his talk, psychologist and neuroscientist Gary Marcus compares advancements in AI to the resilience of the human brain on tasks such as common sense and real-time evaluations.

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