TEDActive 2013: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.February 26, 2013
TEDActive 2013: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.
by James Yeats Smith, filed from TEDActive 2013, Palm Springs. Monday, 25 February
After an epic 26 hour voyage I finally arrived at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs where the annual TEDActive conference takes place. To describe it as a hive of activity would be a gross understatement; name tags, gift bags and margaritas were being flung around fast and loose as 700 strangers engaged each other with reckless abandon.
First on my agenda was a poolside briefing and brainstorm on the future of mobile hosted by Intel. The group of twenty international technologists gathered around the breakfast buffet and swiftly got acquainted over fruit skewers and sticky buns before the session got underway at breakneck speed. What began as a series of “How might we’s” quickly escalated into a full blown group brainstorm and four key areas were agreed on and pursued. I slotted in with a small and diverse team of five, our mandate; How do we take our dependency on the mobile handset out of the equation? An excellent topic because, if like me, you’ve fantasized about a world where you can leave the house with nothing and still have access to, well…everything, a paradigm shift in this arena would be most welcome.
Listening in on the conversation one would be forgiven for thinking that we were brainstorming props for Prometheus or Total Recall as we played out scenarios involving implanted chips and smart contact lenses. Nevertheless, the consensus was that sci-fi will soon become science fact and that handsets and pda’s will be succeeded by smart micro devices, a fraction the size of your iPhone. The take away idea from our discussion; ‘No Devices – Just Context’ implies a future where we can activate ubiquitous public screens via a small inconspicuous device on your person, as opposed to carrying a clunky interface around in your pocket. With the help of Intel we’ll be doing a deeper dive over the course of the week and hopefully arrive at something practical and useful to take forward.
After lunch the TEDLab was opened, an impressive work/hangout space with a myriad of interactive exhibits from PaperPunk, Intel, Bing and Hit&Run that saw attendees collaborating on installations and sitting down to a presentation on the inner-workings of the TED organization. What is really astounding is the rapid growth of the global TEDx events. At least half the people I’ve met in the short time I’ve been here are TEDx organizers and with over 6000 global TEDx events taking place in 2012 alone, the X movement is only set to grow.
Session one of the main TED conference kicks off tomorrow and my number one pick is not going to be Bono, but the lesser known musical anomaly, Beardy Man. I’ll keep you posted on how the day unfolds as it takes quite a while for these talks to make it onto the TED website, if they ever do.
Time to sign off and head out to the welcome home party for campfire discussions and abstract futures. Eat. Sleep. Have visions. JYS.
- For more stories for TEDActive 2013 be sure to check back tomorrow
- James Yeats Smith is an award winning Creative Director and writer focused on the convergence of marketing, entertainment and technology. He is based between New York, Cape Town & Johannesburg.
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