TED@IBM: Technology and Humanity Drive the Future Through the Best Talks

Social business strategist, Bryan Kramer, presenting at TED@IBM in 2014

I have been amused by TED talks over the years, and have learned some interesting points of view within the time I’ve invested in watching them. Some talks are deeply factual (backed with evidence) and others are purely opinion, but all are entertaining. One thing you can definitely count on when seeing these talks is unflagging enthusiasm and a sense of joie de vivre, most importantly, you are left with a feeling of positivity.

Last year I was invited to my very first TED@IBM day. The co-branded event is a partnership between the TED Institute and IBM. It is not a licensed TEDx experience, but a rather an event that is curated, developed, produced, and filmed by the TED Institute. This would be a full on day of fascinating content for sure.

Most TED talks I've seen are from random scientists, artists, inventors and others talking about their work. TED@IBM draws speakers from within IBM’s network of partners, customers, influencers, and thinkers to explore the relationships between technology and humanity.

I was not really sure what to expect, but gratefully accepted the invitation (how I got on the list - I’m still not sure) and made my way to the event. I figured this would be a great opportunity to be exposed to a rich and interactive experience that few are able to attend.

It turned out to be a day of multiple absorbing talks and breaks entwined with very effective, professional presentations. The presentations were all short learning moments wrapped with a clear view to the future. During the breaks, I deliberately set out to meet new people, to chat with them and learn why they were there. It seems the organizers don’t just curate the speakers; the audience is curated as well. The attendees alone are an incredibly diverse group of wicked smart people.

The theme for the 2014 conference was “Re-Imagine Our World.” The list of speakers spanned the gamut from a social business strategist to an Oscar-winning filmmaker to a young woman who at 31 was named an IBM Master Inventor (and holds 70 United States Patents with over 300 pending patent applications).

The brief eight minute talk from Lisa Seacat DeLuca was engaging and more than impressive, she was a genuine person who adapts technology to make real world prototypes of things that will change the future. Although she works for IBM, she suggested that young, independent inventors take their ideas to crowdfunding to bring them to fruition.
“The speed of invention in the future will be as fast as we can dream up ideas. We will be able to use each other’s innovations to test drive ideas.”
It was an inspiring talk and explained the world of cognitive computing through anecdotes and stories. I think you’d enjoy her vision of the future (embedded below).

Positivity was the major influence of the day and I walked away a just little less cynical than before I walked in the door.

When you attend a Ted conference, expect to be exposed to things you may never have thought about like a demonstration of bio-sensing devices that will understand your brain’s plasticity. There will be ideas that will surprise and entertain; but there is very little said that will leave you empty. The TED curators take the form and information behind these talks very seriously.

Now, as an IBM "Futurist" I have once again been invited again to the annual TED@IBM (I must be quite an audience member) and am looking to get a deeper understanding of the subjects at hand. The theme this year is “Necessity and Invention.” I plan to gain a better understanding of evolving and collaborative technology and once again become a even less cynical with a clearer vision of what’s to come in the future.

FTC disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I only work with and showcase products, events and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. IBM has hired me as a brand ambassador for this campaign because of my participation in the IBM New Way to Work Futurist Influencer Program. I am not formally employed by IBM. All thoughts and viewpoints are mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.