Half a day at TEDxZurich

Half a day at TEDxZurich

Today the Amazee Labs team took some time off to join TEDxZurich, the conference for ideas worth spreading. The event was worth every minute and next to a series of inspiring presentations we enjoyed the opportunity for some high-density networking.

Elgar Fleisch on Behavioral IT:
After a sweet intro how an electronical toothbrush is helping Elgar educate his children (it tells them with a smile when they've covered all teeth and brushed them long enough) he made clear that something like a rational decision does not exist. He researches into the question how technology can leverage irrational, behavioral logic for the good: For example to save energy with personalized online games like Velix. Velix shows how much energy you saved in comparison to your neighbours, reminds you to switch off devices. Velix playfully leads to an average reduction in energy consumption of 3.6% with its users.
 
Michael Hermann on the Visualization of Social Statistics:
Socies always end up describing things in lengthy text documents which are restricted to linear form. Therefore Michael came up with the mission that social data needs to be bridged with visualization techniques for all dimension to become evident (Techies: "It's just a radar graph"). As a result he and his team came up with the Smartspider which has eight dimensions and has for example been implemented in smartvote and the EU profiler. He also gave an interesting view on two types of migrations to Switzerland: Traditional from the South and New, higher educated, from the North - and how we're seeing an increase in new migrations (of course visualized).
 
Jef Koh on Liquid Interfaces:
At the Mixed Reality Lab Jef researches ways to engage all your senses over the web. E.g. with a huggy pyjama: hug your kid over the Web using touch-sensitive pads! Or think of smell and taste communication where the other end eats your communication, wow. Jef's current research focus are Liquid Interfaces which are self-configurable fluid based interactive displays. But let's go back quickly  - up until 1900 it was the lever, then came the button as the main interaction element between man and machine: Tangible user interfaces (TUIs) are the next step which could lead to a transition of users from traditional, solid UIs.
 
Then came two passionate pleas: One for a complete product DNA by Robin Cornelius (let the products talk), the founder of switcher and one by Nicola Forster for a Swiss Brain Policy that abolishes fixed immigration quotes to empower our brain industry! Then came James Gruntz' wonderful song intro (what a voice!)
David Bauer on how an ancient greek helps us understand technology:
We cannot fully perceive things around us. Therefore we cannot not judge them. If we accept this fact, we can find wisdom and peace of mind. This also applies to the effects of Social Media - be sceptic, but not hectic about the effects of Social Media on our minds.
Karen Tse on how to end torture worldwide:
Torture is the most effective (not just) form of investigation. Everyday legal systems create suffering, often concerning the youngest, helpless and unknown that create 95% of the number of prisoners being tortured worldwide. With a voice like silk Karen Tse presented her cause and gave some illuminating examples of her daily fight against torture, for example in Zimbabwe, where people are held in batteries, or India where an average of four people die from torture every day. The lack of resources can never be an excuse.
More to come this afternoon.
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