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Critical Crossroads: Session 1 at TEDGlobal2012

Posted by: Helen Walters


Click above to watch the session-opening animation

It’s time for TEDGlobal2012! We’ve gathered in beautiful Edinburgh for what we are quite sure will be a thought-provoking, mind-expanding conference. The overall theme of the event this year? Radical openness. As TEDGlobal2012 co-curator and TED’s European director Bruno Giussani reminded us, this is always a founding principle of TED. The problem is: it’s actually a really difficult topic on which to base a conference. “People’s immediate reaction is that it’ll be all about open source, collaboration and crowdsourcing. But you can’t do a whole conference on those topics,” Bruno said in an interview in the run-up to the conference. “So we’ve expanded the brief to include radical thinking, open thinking, and the concept of looking at things differently.”

As always, each session at TEDGlobal has its own sub-theme. Session One, just about to get under way, is all about “Critical Crossroads.” That is, the idea that so many disparate fields are currently facing some fundamental questions about their future. From demography to economics to technology, decisions made now will affect the way we and our descendants live forever. So, you know. Some typically light fare to kick us off — after a surprise hit of jazz.

In this session:

Macrowikinomics author and innovation, media and technology expert Don Tapscott will discuss the implications of living in an increasingly interconnected world. Read our recap of his talk >>

Shyam Sankar is the director of forward deployed engineering at Palantir Technologies. Shyam will talk about cooperation and human-computer symbiosis. Read our recap of his talk >>

As always with TED, we’re not simply interested in what’s going on in the west. Robyn Meredith covers business and financial news for Bloomberg in Hong Kong, and is also the author of The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What it Means for All of Us. She’ll discuss the evolution of China over the past thirty years or so, and will draw out the profound implications of the country’s rapid development. Read our recap of her talk >>

Filmmaker, futurist and self-proclaimed “epiphany addict” Jason Silva will present a film he’s made just for us. Watch the film and read our recap of the Q&A that followed >>

Raghu Dixit didn’t pick up a guitar until he was 19, but we pretty much guarantee his performance will be breathtaking. The former Bharatnatyam dancer’s blend of rousing folk rock and world rhythms is bound to get us on our feet. Read our recap (with photos) >>

And then we’ll all promptly sit right back down again to listen carefully to NATO Supreme Commander, James Stavridis. The tweeting Admiral will share his blueprint for 21st century security, paying close attention to the issue of piracy, both literal and more abstract. Read our recap of his talk >>