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TEDGlobal 2011 kicks off in Edinburgh

This year’s TEDGlobal conference is under way in Edinburgh and promises not to disappoint in showcasing some of the world’s leading thinkers and expert public speakers.

The usual format is that the speakers are given a maximum of 18 minutes to present their ideas in the most innovative and engaging ways they can. Past presenters at TED include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Gordon Brown,Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners.

Bill Gates at TED

Matt Ridley, who Chartwell previously interviewed, spoke at the event on Wednesday and hosted Session 5 on the Emerging Order. Expert speakers at the session included Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist who argued that “language really is the most potent trait that has ever evolved, and the most subversive tool we have. It allows you to implant a thought in someone else’s mind — without surgery.”

Rebecca MacKinnon’s excellent presentation on Wednesday described the expanding struggle for freedom and control in cyberspace, and asked: How do we design the next phase of the Internet with accountability and freedom at its core, rather than control? She believes the internet is headed for a “Magna Carta” moment when citizens around the world demand that their governments protect free speech and their right to connection.

Phillip Blond, the theorist behind David Cameron’s Big Society idea, also spoke on Tuesday on the topic of re-imagining the role of markets and governments in driving progress.

The best-selling author and writer for New Yorker magazine Malcolm Gladwell is due to present to the conference on Friday.

A full schedule of speakers can be found here.

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