TED Women 2019: Bold + Brilliant
In December 2019, TEDWomen hosted their annual conference at Palm Springs, California. From December 4th to 6th, a group of exceptional speakers shared their bold, honest and creatively innovative visions to the world.
Technology is rapidly advancing, and has weaved itself into the lives of every individual. Our technology-ruled lives have become more efficient – with answers at our fingertips, and updates that occur even before our beckoning. As society grows, our demands do too. As inventors, humans have transformed the community, environment and livelihoods of others. But with a new decade approaching, the appeal for efficiency increases. Artificial intelligence becomes the convenience we as humans desire, but the subconscious and underlying question remains – are we at risk of our own demise?
At Chartwell Speakers, we represent the experts in their respective fields who strive to contribute their knowledge to our ever-growing society. Our exclusive technology speaker, Jennifer Zhu Scott, was invited to speak at the TEDWomen conference. She spoke about personal data being a valuable asset – but how the individual is not getting paid for it. Successful companies are thriving from analysing data produced by people daily who use their services that costs them nothing. Data ownership is, as Jennifer Zhu Scott says, a personal and economic issue. We are so fixated on data privacy that the thought of potential benefits that data could bring to individuals is overlooked.
Over the span of a few days, TEDWomen 2019 also focused on our climate emergency. Our speaker, Renée Lertzman shared her big idea that individuals need to make their emotional well-being a fundamental part of the fight against climate change. A climate psychologist, Renée discusses the emotional impact that climate change has upon individuals, and certain qualities such as patience, compassion and kindness are crucial and need to be deployed more often in conversations regarding the crisis.
Other memorable speakers this year at TEDwomen included Jiabao Li, who spoke alongside Jennifer in Session 2: Pattern Makers, hosted by Pat Mitchell and Cloe Shasha. Li is an artist and engineer, believing that technology creates a hyper-fragmented humanity that is vulnerable to ‘mental’ allergies. Our perception of reality has been morphed by our own man-made empire of technology, separating us from one another. Li proposes that the cure is within the problem; by exploring our interactions with these technologies, humans will be able to relieve themselves of their machine-like behaviour, finding natural common-ground once more.
Social entrepreneur and hunger hero, Jasmine Crowe, spoke in the final session (6: Wayfinders) of the annual conference. Her speech was eye-opening, addressing the approach to the hunger fight. Families suffering from famine become reliant on services such as food banks. Despite the innately good intentions of these services, one in nine people go hungry daily. Crowe has re-engineered how cities handle hunger through an app called Goodr, a tech-enabled sustainable food waste company. The app operates by gathering unused food from local businesses and redirects that to food deserts through non-profits and pop-up grocery stores, rather than being led straight to waste. Crowe’s moving speech circulated around the drive to re-conceptualize hunger; rather than it being a charity, it is “a social enterprise with the goal of ending hunger and food waste”.
TEDWomen 2019 would, of course, not be the phenomenal annual conference it is without Pat Mitchell. As editorial director of TEDWomen, Pat Mitchell is a force to be reckoned with. Her own achievements in life are admirable and motivating for those who stand beside her. A dangerous woman, proud leader, activist, feminist and advocate, Mitchell shared her belief that we are collectively well-equipped to move forward. Our advancement in technology and our diverse media platforms have given us the privilege to elevate one another, and live a better livelihood.