TED2017: The Future You

If knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom, as Aristotle famously said, then it’s about time TED devoted its annual Vancouver conference to the art of introspection. “Asking the questions about ourselves that we often don’t have time for” is how TED2017’s program, titled ‘The Future You’, was described, and it’s no surprise it was once again a sell-out. 

  Carmen pictured in Vancouver with Monika Kalpakian

Carmen pictured in Vancouver with Monika Kalpakian

As an organization, TED hosts many events around the world each year. Its annual conference alone attracts almost 1,500 people, many of who attend on a regular basis. And an ardent fan herself, Carmen is currently attending the talks in Vancouver, as is the Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed.

The TED (technology, entertainment, design) conferences to date have focused on the world at large and the ideas that animate it. But 2017’s theme is more personal, with speakers asked to impart strategies for personal learning, growth and empowerment to their audiences. Perhaps, considering the fresh wave of division among political groups, religions, and cultures this past year, it’s time to review one’s own motives, prejudices and biases in aims of a better self.

  Pope Francis addressing the TED audience from Vatican City / Photo: theguardian.com

Pope Francis addressing the TED audience from Vatican City / Photo: theguardian.com

The five-day gathering, which kicked off at the Vancouver Convention Center on Monday, has a roster of speakers to easily rival past events. Among those who spoke on stage on Monday and Tuesday were chess Grandmaster, and now chair of the Human Rights Foundation, Garry Kasparov, and tennis star Serena Williams. A talk given by Pope Francis, addressing an international conference for the first time, was also screened for the live audience, recorded especially for TED2107 in Vatican City. The Pope’s message really brought home an important message about the future and personal responsibility:

“The future of humankind isn't exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a "you" and themselves as part of an "us.”
See the full program schedule for TED2017 here.