TEDGlobal 2011

Submitted by edg on Tue, 25 Jan '11 9.46am

Around 800 plus innovators and ideas people will be pouring into Edinburgh for the first TEDGlobal conference ever to be held in the capital. Many will know the organisation, which grew out of a 4-day conference in California some 25 years ago, from its excellent series of online videos where innovators and doers share "ideas worth spreading".

The 18-minute talks have featured Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende, and last year former PM Gordon Brown, to name a few (there are hundreds).

TEDGlobal outgrew Oxford after three conferences (in 2005, 2009, and 2010) and organisers were attracted to Edinburgh for its history and tradition for innovation as the city of Enlightenment (think Hume, Smith, et al).

Themed "The Stuff of Life", the conference will take over the EICC's three theatres for activities such as TED University, TEDx workshops, the TED Fellows conference, arts and tech exhibits, simulcast lounges, networking spaces and more. 

In the TED blog, organisers promised: "We will carefully weave TEDGlobal into the fabric of the city, using its intriguing landmarks for special events."

With entry costing $5,200 (before end of March), if your registration is accepted, it's an exclusive event, but many of us will be catching the TED talks online at TED.com.

Big ideas

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design although the acronym falls short of describing the true breadth of its output.

Here are some of the questions from the program that the 50 plus speakers at TEDGlobal 2011 are expected to address:

  • What is it like to be a baby?
  • Is life a game?
  • Is synthetic life thrilling or terrifying?
  • How close are we to sustainable energy?
  • How does the brain control the body?
  • In what world will we live tomorrow?
  • Are our social and political systems reformable?
  • Is simplicity gone forever?
  • How easy will it be to design lethal viruses?
  • Is the Internet taking over our lives?
  • What's the point of art?
  • What does it mean to be conscious?
  • Can humans and computers be friends?
  • What makes a life worth living?