The value of TED
The author is the head of science and future team of the JoongAng Ilbo.
April in Vancouver — Canada is in spring, but it is colder than Seoul. Cherry blossoms are blooming and green buds are sprouting. Yet, you still need a light coat. Around this time of the year, Vancouver, with its beautiful harbor and snowy mountains, is visited by 2,000 people from 50 countries for the TED Conference, which settled here six years ago.
Under the slogan of “Ideals Worth Sharing,” presenters share their knowledge and ideas in 15-minute talks.
This year’s speakers include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Harvard University’s Sheperd Doeleman, who led the EHT project to discover a black hole, Oxford University professor and father of quantum computing David Deutsche and rising star in genetic scissors David Liu. President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio, who is leading the country in a new direction, is also speaking.
The cost of attending the five-day event is at least $10,000. You would also have to spend a large amount on flights and accommodation. But there are reasons for people from not just the United States and Canada but all over the world to gather. In fact, you can easily find all the celebrity lectures on YouTube.
Why are they traveling to Vancouver? The secret can be found during the breaks between speeches. Strangers will greet each other and chat. The name tags worn around the neck indicate not only where they are from but what they are interested in. Dean, a businessman from New Jersey, said that it was his 15th TED conference this year. He said that it was good to hear speeches from celebrities, but networking with people from around the world was more important. He added that he could get new business ideas by taking a week away from his routine.
Among the 2,000 attendees, I had a hard time finding any Koreans. It is different from last year, when there were not only attendees but also speakers and translators. To deviate from the routine, interact with the world and get fresh air into the brain — Korea in 2019 seems too rigid to me.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 18, Page 32