Adrem were proud to sponsor the inaugural TEDxBath conference, titled ‘Light up the Future’, which was held at the Bath Abbey on Saturday 29th September 2018. TEDx conferences aim to spark discussion about ideas worth spreading. There were 12 inspiring talks from leading speakers as well 4 archived TEDx films on a broad range of topics. I would like to highlight 4 of these speakers plus 1 of the films, which I found to be particularly thought-provoking.
Rob Wortham: Will Robots Be Our New Best Friends?
Dr Rob Wortham, a Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath, researches how to improve transparency on how robots behave, and the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI). Our society needs smart technology but it also needs education on AI, regulation and standards around this technology so we can maximise the advantages and minimise the risk. We tend to anthropomorphise robots, which leave people vulnerable to manipulation. Human interaction with AI is still entirely unregulated, except for some data protection policies. We need to also create awareness in the public about the risks and opportunities of AI so that key players cannot control the technology for their own advantage.
Claire Henwood: Holiday Hunger: So Much More Than Food
Claire Henwood, founder of the charity MakeLunch Bath, explained how to fight food poverty in our communities. For a growing number of families in Bath, school holidays are dreaded as their children have less to eat, less physical activity and fewer opportunities to socialise. With an additional strain on their budget, parents sometimes skip meals to feed their children or buy cheap foods with more calories and less nutrition. The aim of the MakeLunch charity is to provide a variety of FREE enrichment activities as well as hot, free nutritious two course meals to combat ‘holiday hunger’. These lunch clubs reduce financial pressure, have a positive impact on family well-being, counter isolation and can sometimes even lead to employment.
Andrew Grant: Landscape Cities
Andrew Grant, a landscape architect, talked about how we need to re-think how we design our cities. We need to return to our origins of nature, which are lost in our dysfunctional contemporary cities filled with pollution and strained transport systems. Studies show that being part of a green environment reduces stress, improves mental health and enhances creativity. So, why not incorporate nature as the driving essence of our city designs? Bath is an excellent example of a landscape city because of its balance of nature and architecture. But it is also at the frontiers of the future in how it manages its resources and engages their communities to create peaceful yet innovative havens within a busy world.
A video featuring Jonathan Sachs, ex-chief Rabbi of the commonwealth, conveyed the importance of community and diversity. He spoke of the ramifications of focusing on too much on the self and emphasised that it is the people not like us that in fact enrich us. We can safeguard the future ‘you’ if we strengthen the future ‘us’ in three regards: the ‘us’ of a relationship, the ‘us of identity, and the ‘us’ of responsibility.
For the ‘us’ of relationships, he encouraged more face-to-face interactions with those with different views and/or backgrounds to re-learn that despite disagreements people can still be friends. For the ‘us’ of identity to thrive, we need to keep telling the story of who we are, where we came from, and what ideals we live by. With a strong sense of our own identity, we can welcome a stranger to share our lives and our aspirations, instead of being threatened. The ‘us’ of responsibility references that we the people share a collective responsibility for our collective future. We need to move away from the politics of me to the politics of all of us. We can do this by replacing the word ‘self’ by the word ‘other’ in our own vocabulary.
Joy Nazzari: The Power in Cities – Using Purpose to Drive Change
Founding Director of dn&co and brand consultant, Joy Nazzari, was the final speaker at the TEDxBath conference. She spoke about introducing purpose behind the way in which we build our cities. She introduced the idea of Place Purpose – the intentional reason a place exists based on human-centred needs as opposed to Placemaking. She gave the example of Disney Land, a place where people can feel the sense of magic that is represented in every little detail by putting the visitor experience at the forefront. From the design of the garbage disposal to the stage management, anything non-magical was designed to function out of sight of the visitors. She also listed the 7 key factors for creating great spaces and cities: conducting people focused research, be committed to doing good, defining and creating place purpose, authenticity, collaboration, leadership and commitment for the future.
The general theme of the TEDxBath Conference was working with a purpose and with positivity. To quote Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”, and hopefully in the process you will light up the future.
Watch the videos for the full live stream of the TEDxBath conference:
Adrem are proud sponsors of the inaugural TEDxBath conference.