Lots of inspiration at TEDXMunich 2011

by Raphael Haase

TEDXMunich was a two days event of inspirational things, or as TED calls it “ideas worth spreading”.

You’d best check out the website for a comprehensive list of the topics, what I found most interesting though were these presentations:

  • Making Machines More Human: Peter Plantec showed his software woman “Sylvie” who is a AI personality that respond to text and speech input and talks back to you. She actually learns all the time, has a huge training database and gives different answers every time. On day 2 we also discussed about how this could change our life. What I found most interesting was to have a software like this as an interface to Wikipedia or other sources. At the beginning, you state a question in human language and then back comes a short or long answer in actual language and speech together with an animated face. It’s like your personalized teacher. “Sylvie” now seems to be succeeded by the verbots, which are open source.
  • The Burning Man festival:  You can look up in Wikipedia what it is. It amazed me though and reminded me a little of the Nature One in Germany. Both are roughly the same size, although the Burning Man seems to be a lot more creative and I like the idea that they try to never leave any traces like garbage. I would really like to attend, maybe 2012?
  • Improvised theater: 2 guys showed us some very nice improvised performance. On day 2 we could participate ourselves and try it out. It was a lot of fun.

On day 1, we had all the talks and on day 2 were some workshops that were conducted by the speakers from day 1 and connected to the topics. It was a really great way to dive more into those topics and discuss further.

Also I met the guy runs Buck’s in Silicon Valley. It’s the most important networking restaurant over there for all the startups and VCs and so on. I was thinking of opening a restaurant like this in Munich or converting an existing one into that role. Who’s in?