By Maria Winans
We are living through what author Thomas Friedman has called a “Gutenberg-scale” moment, a technology-driven inflection point in history akin to the invention of moveable type. The pace of change today is dizzying – watch a TV show from just a decade ago and the technology seems quaint – but the impact on our world is even more so. And we’re just getting started.
We can’t literally see into the future, but we can imagine it, and in imaging it, we can take action to try to make our ideal future a reality. This is what separates our era from the past: our ability to reshape our world as it evolves. That ability will continue to grow – many of the technologies we are developing now will allow us to dream up even greater, more potent solutions to problems. As much as the world has changed, we are on the cusp of even bigger transformations.
It is this moment in history that led to TED@IBM, a first-of-its kind collaboration between the TED Institute and IBM. (Please register today to join us as we livestream the entire event from San Francisco on September 23.) The event gathers together speakers from a range of backgrounds and industries to speak on the theme of Reimagining Our World. I have had the good fortune of getting sneak peeks at the talks and was genuinely awestruck by the bold ideas, unexpected insights and memorable personal stories they share as they present their visions on what’s next.
The event is coming together as the result of a lot of hard work and forward thinking by many people at TED and IBM, and not least by the speakers themselves. The topics the speakers will be covering are diverse: rethinking the way we cook and eat, using data to tackle humanitarian crises, the future of entertainment, providing electricity to some of the world’s most remote places, just to name a few.
As diverse as they are, naturally the talks have much in common as well. Creativity, imagination, expertise and yes, brilliance are hallmarks of every one of them. And one other thing: hope. The speakers are looking into the future of our species and our planet, and not one does so with despair. No dystopian nightmares here!
That’s not to say they are Pollyannaish about the challenges facing the human race, many of which are of our own creation. Yet I’m confident that you will come away as I did, with not only amazement at what we will achieve together, but genuine hope in our future.