TEDxWHU: The Day After Tomorrow

What will it look like – the world of the day after tomorrow? The fourth TEDxWHU event, held February 3 at the WHU campus in Vallendar, was dedicated to this question.

Eight presenters who could not be more different from one another had traveled to the Rhine to make their presentations, all under the motto: “The Day After Tomorrow.” Hector Martinez was one of them. The engineer, one of the co-founders of Cellink, is committed to the development of 3D bioprinting processes. His dream for the future is to revolutionize medicine with the help of artificially manufactured cells. If this vision comes to fruition, bioprinting could one day make it possible to manufacture artificial human organs or render animal testing of medicines superfluous. Andreas Thellmann's dream was of a future without traffic congestion. He introduced the CityAirbus, a helicopter designed for passenger traffic that could soon radically alter the face of traffic in major cities. Hans-Christian Boos, co-founder of the high-tech company Arago, debunked some of the prejudices that exist against artificial intelligence. He argued that AI should not be seen as a competitor or risk to humans, but as an opportunity to turn automated processes over to computers and to devote ourselves to creative and social tasks. Dinara Kasko had brought along a special treat: The Ukrainian impressed the audience with her extraordinary cake creations, in which she uses 3D printers to combine pastry and architecture. TEDx events do not live from inspiring lectures alone, however; they also thrive on conversations with others and getting them to think outside the box. With this in mind, two networking breaks and a group dinner in the vaulted cellar of WHU were also scheduled to provide plenty of opportunities to discuss the concepts and ideas presented.

International speakers with a very wide variety of professional and personal backgrounds, inspiring talks about completely different topics and shared goal of constantly broadening one's own horizons – the fourth TEDx Conference at WHU more than measured up to this motto. Since 2009, there have been more than 10,000 independently organized TEDx events in more than 2,500 cities in 164 countries. The acronym “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, but the spectrum of topics is virtually limitless and also extends to such topics as business, culture, art, politics and science. In keeping with the official TED motto – “ideas worth spreading” – speakers who include entrepreneurs, environmental activists or professional athletes discuss their personal experiences, offer practical life tips, share scientific findings or explain theoretical visions. Most of all, they share the conviction that good ideas have the power to change the world, piece by piece.