TEDxASU event looked ahead to the future

If you missed the fourth annual TEDxASU event earlier this spring, you’re in luck — the presentations are now available to view online. 

The March 25, student-organized event showcased nine speakers with expertise ranging from cancer diagnosis and plastic pollution to space governance and the nexus of art and technology. 

“It’s important to us to place a variety of people on stage — students, faculty, community and industry leaders from different backgrounds and perspectives,” says Ammar Tanveer, founder and executive director of TEDxASU.

Organizing around the theme “NextGen,” speakers cast their minds to the 22nd century to imagine what waits on the horizon in their respective fields. 

“We settled on NextGen for a couple reasons,” says Tanveer, a doctoral candidate in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “We wanted to convey that TEDxASU was taking a step forward as an organization, but also to focus on the future broadly, and incorporate talks from different viewpoints and disciplines.”

More than 1,600 people attended the event at Gammage Auditorium, an increase from the attendance at the previous events which were held at Tempe Center for the Arts and the Marston Exploration Theater. 

Professor Katina Michael explored the idea of brain implants, their benefits and applications, as well as their dangers — some of which she sees today. Photo courtesy of TEDxASU

Professor Katina Michael explored the idea of brain implants, their benefits and applications, as well as their dangers — some of which she sees today. Photo courtesy of TEDxASU

Katina Michael, a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, explored the possibility of widespread brain implants and the dangers inherent in such a technology.

She imagined a future in which humans become so thoroughly integrated with the digital world that bodies became secondary and in some cases, obsolete altogether. Michael examined the benefits of a purely digital existence before calling into question the effects, some of which we’re grappling with already.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are becoming entangled in the wires and cables,” said Michael. “We lust for high tech but have no overload switch and are short circuiting as a result.”

Find out more about neuroprostheses in “Brain Implants: Hope or Hype.”

Source: August 6, 2019, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Arizona State University, https://research.asu.edu/20190806-tedxasu-event-looked-ahead-future