Get to know the pioneers of our time! Build a shared vision for the future! Co-create the new!
Asking major questions, and the right questions, about technology and its social implications is what digital innovation strategist Alissia Iljaitsch helps her clients do. A co-founder of IQ Gemini and an expert in the fields of virtual reality and digital innovation, she draws on scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, behavioral psychology and cognitive research. And she applies analogous insights to the present and future. How do we make the best use of our creative potential in a digital world? Alissia Iljaitsch will explain.
“Roll up your sleeves and start innovating.”
Ambarish Mitra grew up in humble conditions in India. These days he’s running a start-up with more than 300 employees and a company that qualifies him as a unicorn (a valuation of over $1 billion). Ambarish is the CEO and co-founder of Blippar, a disruptive technology company that aims to create the ultimate augmented reality browser by recognizing everything in the physical world. He was named UK Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young (2016), a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum (2017), and surely has been called Slum Dog Millionaire before.
"The language of code is universal.“
Amy Vernetti is the Director of Leadership Recruiting for the Moonshots at Google. She works closely with the start-up companies at the X Lab including Driverless Vehicles, Balloon Powered Internet, Robotics, Drones and Precision Health Care. Her job is to recruit CEOs and direct reports for the Moonshots as they transition from the Lab into stand-alone entities. Vernetti was previously a Partner in the San Francisco office of True Search, a boutique search firm focusing on investor led companies. She recruited CEOs and direct reports in Digital Media, Software, Clean Technology and Retail and primarily worked with private equity backed and publicly traded companies. Prior to True, Vernetti spent eight years as a Managing Director at Taylor Winfield where she launched the Renewables practice and conducted searches in solar, wind, biofuels and clean engine technology. During 2012, Vernetti joined a team from Apple Retail in the infamous turnaround attempt at JC Penney. Early in her career, Amy pioneered a portfolio approach to Human Capital as employee #20 at Garage.com. Her “War for Talent” keynote address was the basis for the Human Capital section of Guy Kawasaki’s 2005 book The Art of the Start. Vernetti is also an advocate for urban education reform.
From child prodigy to MBE, Anne-Marie Imafidon is Head Stemette and co-founder of Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise inspiring the next generation of females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles via a series of prestigious events and opportunities. One of the youngest ever to be awarded a Masters’ degree in Mathematics & Computer Science by the University of Oxford, aged 20, Anne-Marie, unsurprisingly, continued to soar. She was the UK IT Industry & British Computer Society’s Young IT Professional of the Year in 2013, Red Magazine’s ‘Woman to Watch’ 2014, won a Points of Light award from the UK Prime Minister in October 2014 and was named the 8th Most Influential woman in IT in 2016. Also, she has just been named one of the 50 most inspiring women in Europe by Inspiring Fifty. And in recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to young women and STEM sectors. As of June 2017, she is now Honorary Fellow at Keble College, Oxford.
Having visited 30+ countries and eaten guinea pig among other treats, Arthur Nobel is all about discovering the unknown. A natural risk-taker, he pushes his boundaries with snowboarding, wakeboarding, and surfing. Arthur didn’t like any job, so he created his own. With Flexpat he aims to change lives by enabling ever more people to work remotely and explore the world, without risk. Previously, Arthur has worked in several VCs, advised a range of startups, as well as did sales for Rocket Internet.
“Enable a world where freedom equals security.”
On July 20, 1969, Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong secured their place in history with their Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on another world. An estimated 600 million people watched the Apollo 11 landing live on television, for many years a world record. Dr. Buzz Aldrin received his Doctorate in Astronautics from MIT in 1963. He was the first astronaut with a doctorate. The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft became critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs and he pioneered underwater training techniques to simulate spacewalking. His ShareSpace Foundation is focused on STEAM Education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and in 2015 he launched the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech to develop his vision of a permanent human settlement on Mars. He has kept at the forefront of developing future technologies and in March of this year released the “Cycling Pathways to Mars” VR experience in partnership and developed by 8i on the TIME LIFE VR App. Since retiring from NASA, Dr. Aldrin calls himself a Global Statesman for Space and has remained a tireless advocate for space exploration. At me Convention he will speak about NEW REALITIES.
„Let's be certain that we've developed a sustainable plan to stay on Mars. No flags and footprints this time.“
Christian “Mio” Loclair is an internationally renowned artist who has made it his mission to break down established ways of thinking. He is a breakdancer who can program code; a programmer who choreographs plays. Loclair virtuously combines information technology and dance to create a surreal duet between man and machine. His choreographies center around the collision of digital aesthetics with the natural, harmonious beauty of human movement, allowing his audiences to witness the creation of a new human identity. Loclair’s stage performance at the me Convention will be based on the topic of NEW CREATION.
"The clash of human needs and mathematical precision is a contemporary reflection of our society."
Clare leads the global expansion of what3words, which is the world's first addressing system designed for voice – every 3m x 3m square in the world has been assigned an address made of just three words from the dictionary. These 3 word addresses can be used to route cars or drones, used as an address when ordering online, or simply given as a meeting point for a picnic in the park. what3words is used in 170 countries and is being adopted by governments all around the world as an official addressing system. Its investors include Intel Capital, Aramex and Deutsche Bahn. Clare’s background is in the development and growth of social enterprises, including in impact investing. She is interested in how innovative business models can tackle social and environmental challenges, and sits on the board of various UK social enterprises. She studied for an undergraduate degree in English, with her graduate degree in the Geography Department at the University of Cambridge. Clare also volunteers with the Streetlink project, doing health outreach work with street-based sex workers in London.
Every four months, readers of Colin Wright’s blog “Exile Lifestyle” can vote on where he should travel to next. Wright is a full-time traveler, a globetrotter, a digital nomad. Always at his side: his trusty notebook and his iPhone. During his eight years on the road, he has written around 30 books and created a blog that is now read by over two million people a year. He hosts the weekly podcast “Let’s Know Things” and co-founded the publishing company Asymmetrical Press. Before this, and up until 2009, he headed a brand agency in Los Angeles. Commenting on this period of his life he says: “It’s remarkable to me how good I was at convincing myself that professional success was equal to happiness, and how long I believed it.” At 32 years of age, Colin Wright is member of Generation Y and, as such, a so-called millennial.
“My MacBook doesn’t define me. But it helps me do the things that do define me better. In this way, stuff can be wonderful — we just have to make sure we’re acquiring the right stuff.”
Danny Shapiro is Senior Director of Automotive at NVIDIA, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions self-driving cars, trucks and shuttles. The NVIDIA automotive team is engaged with over 225 car and truck makers, tier 1 suppliers, HD mapping companies, sensor companies and startup companies that are all using the company's DRIVE PX hardware and software platform for autonomous vehicle development and deployment. Shapiro serves on the advisory boards of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Connected Car Council and the NVIDIA Foundation, which focuses on computational solutions for cancer research. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Shapiro lives in Northern California where his home solar system charges his electric, AI self-driving car.
David Silver leads the Self-Driving Car Team at Udacity, where he teaches a nine-month program that trains engineers to work on autonomous vehicles. Prior to Udacity, David was a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company. Before Ford, David worked in engineering and product roles at Candidate Metrics, mSpot, and AOL. He has an MBA from Stanford University, and a BSE in computer science from Princeton University.
"Self-driving cars will change the world in ways we can't even imagine."
Doug Newcomb has been covering car technology as a journalist for over 25 years and is a recognized expert on the subject of the connected car and mobility. He has been sought out for his opinion by media outlets as USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, Detroit Free Press, Reuters, Agence France Press and others. Doug has appeared on CBS News, CNBC and the Los Angeles affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox News to talk about car technology and is a frequent speaker at automotive and consumer-electronics industry events. In 2013 Doug cofounded the Connected Car Conference (C3) at CE Week in New York and co-produced the inaugural Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show. In 2014, Doug coproduced successful events under the C3 banner at SXSW, CE Week and in Silicon Valley. In the same year he formed the Connected Car Council, made up of top industry thought leaders, and launched the C3 Report to provide news and analysis to the fast changing car technology and mobility space. He’s also a columnist for PCMag.com’s NextCar, Forbes.com and writes for Wired, Automobile, Popular Mechanics and other outlets.
"Driverless cars are likeable to change everything in a city.“
Professor Kelly Snook is a music producer, engineer, and data sonification researcher based in Brighton, UK and Portland, Oregon. She is one of the developers of the mi.mu gloves for gestural control of music and visuals. She currently serves as Professor of Media Arts Technology at the University of Brighton and holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. She spent two decades as a NASA Research Scientist with a focus on Mars and the moon, before turning her attention to music full-time in 2010 when she joined Imogen Heap as her studio manager and musical assistant. Her current research project is the development of Concordia, an immersive musical instrument for scientific exploration based on the work of Johannes Kepler, which allows people to experience and play the music of the spheres. She also runs her own recording studio, called "It's Not Rocket Science Studios," in Portland, producing and mixing music by independent musicians.
A computational and molecular biologist, Dr. Richardson specializes in the design of genomes. She earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Maryland College Park; with the support of a prestigious DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship she earned a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of Genomics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory she worked on massive scale synthetic biology projects and the integration of computational genomics with experimental genomics. In 2015, she was named a SynBio LEAP Fellow, based on her “leadership potential and vision for shaping a future in biotechnology.” In 2015 she was also one of five promising young female scientists to receive a postdoctoral fellowship award from L’Oréal USA; she proposed to study CRISPR systems and the construction of genetic toolkits for non-model organisms. As a cofounder of MicroByre she was in 2017 welcomed into the third cohort of Cyclotron Road fellows hosted at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She spends every day thinking about the domestication of non-model bacteria.
"Think like a cell!"
Floriane de Saint Pierre started her career in Finance at Christian Dior Couture before founding Floriane de Saint Pierre & Associes in 1990, and bringing up the company as the leading firm for Organization Design, Human Resources, Board Strategy and Executive Search consulting for brands whose performance is based on innovation, design and usage with offices in Paris, Milan and New York. She is also the founder of two online platforms, Eyes on Talents and Ethics & Boards. Launched in 2011, Ethics & Boards is the first online neutral corporate governance dataplace. Launched in 2013, the Eyes on Talents online platform empowers brands to access the best creative talent worldwide in visual disciplines. Floriane is a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Board Member of the French-American Foundation - France as well as of the D’Days Design Association. Furthermore, she is a Founding Member of the Tokyo Art Club Entreprises of the Palais de Tokyo Museum, Member of the Groupe d’Acquisition de la Photographie du Centre Pompidou and President of the Benefactors Committee of AWARE – Archives of Women Artists Research & Exhibition.
To ask Gelong Thubten how he makes a living is to be told: “I don’t have to make a living. When I travel around the world and teach people about Mindfulness, they then pay for my flight tickets, my accommodation and my food. My personal needs are very modest. I wear only my robe, and I never need to go to the hairdresser’s.” It’s this subtle humor that makes the Buddhist monk so instantly likable. Gelong Thubten teaches meditation and mindfulness. He is often invited by well-known companies such as Google and HSBC to teach their employees established meditation techniques. But he also teaches in less illustrious places: in hospitals, schools, prisons and rehabilitation clinics, for example. His goal is - in this world full of constant real-time messaging and 24-hour exposure to media - to help his listeners reduce stress, sharpen their focus and improve their sense of inner harmony. Gelong Thubten has lived as a monk for the past 25 years and is among the world's foremost meditation trainers.
“According to neuroscientific research, people who meditate live healthier, happier, more empathetic lives.”
Greg de Temmerman is a scientist and has been working on nuclear fusion since the start of his PhD in 2003. He specializes in the study of the intense interactions between fusion plasmas and surrounding materials. In a fusion reactor, power from the core plasma is exhausted by the plasma-facing components which are then subjected to extreme heat and particle fluxes. Much of the fundamentals of the materials behavior under such extreme ion irradiation conditions is not yet fully understood and limits the ability to develop materials able to survive those conditions. Throughout his career Greg de Temmerman has had the chance to live and visit many countries. He joined the ITER Organization in 2014 as a coordinating scientist where he gets the opportunity to contribute to this gigantic endeavor that the ITER project is.
Architecture, landscape architecture and design form the crucible in which the multiple award-winning Norwegian firm of Snøhetta, named after a 2,286 meter-high mountain of the same name, works. Since 2005 trained architect Jette Cathrin Hopp has been a member of an interdisciplinary team comprising graphic designers, artists, researchers, and others, in addition to architects. As a project director at Snøhetta, Hopp was and is responsible for various, for the most part sustainable, architectural projects, an example of which is Powerhouse One in Trondheim, a building that produces more energy than it consumes.
Jim Richardson has been asking ‘what’s next for museums?’ for the last decade, challenging cultural institutions to reinvent themselves for our rapidly changing world. He leads MuseumNext, a global community of museum leaders, innovators and makers who champion radical change in museums. From Rio de Janeiro to Melbourne, from Cape Town to Singapore and New York to Copenhagen, this passionate community is shaping the future of museums.
“If museums don’t change, they’ll become irrelevant.”
Josh Rubin is a photographer, interaction designer, entrepreneur and the co-founder and Editor in Chief of COOL HUNTING — a fourteen year old digital publication highlighting innovations in culture, design and technology for a global audience of creative professionals. The Webby Award‑winning online magazine also operates an original content studio, strategic consultancy and experimental retail program called COOL HUNTING Omakase. Josh held design leadership positions at Razorfish and Motorola. He earned a BA in Cognitive Science and Photography from Hampshire College and a Master’s from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, where his 1999 graduate thesis focused on modular, scalable, touch-screen interfaces.
“There are no new ideas, just great executions”
Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, worked around the world in various capacities, nearly all directly related to advancing fundamental rights and open and free societies. Before joining the Wikimedia Foundation, she was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization “Acces” in Washington DC, where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information, and privacy. Previously, Maher held roles supporting the efforts of citizens and governments around the world to embrace transparency and civic technologies, working with activists and human rights defenders on the use of technology to support democratic reforms and human rights, and designing ICT4D programs (Information and communication technologies for development) in support of community development. Maher is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and her writing on human rights, technology, and foreign policy has appeared in various publications.
“What I'm really seeing from many outlets is a conversation that they're having with their readers around what do we need to do in order to regain your trust?”
Kei Shimada is Global Director of Innovation and Business Development at Dentsu's innovation arm focusing on both initiating and leading a group-wide innovation initiative while creating new solutions around wearables, neural technology, locational big data and crisis management infrastructures, going beyond the traditional advertising business to cultivate new business models that generate revenue. Kei is also one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and mentors on mobile, ICT and wearables.
As the Chief Innovation Officer of WirtschaftsWoche, Léa Steinacker develops strategies, products, and live experiences for the brand in close coordination with the publisher and the newsroom. She is responsible for assessing experimental formats and innovative business models and is a speaker on various digital topics. In her bi-weekly column, she analyzes the interaction between technical innovations, humans, and the economy. Until March 2017, she served in the role of Digital Scout. Prior to joining WirtschaftsWoche, Léa worked for a number of human rights organizations in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she coordinated the evaluation of crisis interventions and analyzed extremists’ propaganda activities in social networks. At me Convention she will act as a moderator.
Professor Mark Post is a medical doctor who has had several appointments as assistant professor at Utrecht University, Harvard University, as associate professor at Dartmouth college, and as full professor at Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht University. He currently holds the chair of the Physiology Department at Maastricht University. He is visiting professor at Harvard, University of Modena and faculty at Singularity University. His main research interest is the engineering of tissues for medical applications and for food. The medical applications focus on the construction of blood vessels that can be used as grafts for coronary artery bypass grafting. Tissue engineering for Food has lead to the development of cultured beef from bovine skeletal muscle stem cells in an effort to supplement and perhaps transform the traditional meat production through livestock. Post co-authored 165 papers in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals and received during his career over 50 million dollars in funding and awards from different sources including government, charity and industry. He presented the world’s first hamburger from cultured beef in the August 2013 and is working on improvements and scaling up of production of cultured meat. He received the World Technology Award from AAAS/Times/Forbes for invention with the biggest potential for environmental impact. Three companies have spun-off to work on a meat and a leather application of tissue engineering. Post is CSO and co-founder of these companies.
"For massive behaviour such as meat eating, it is easier to develop technologies to reduce its impact than to change humans."
Marta Riggins has 13+ years of experience in Marketing, Human Resources and Strategic Partnerships in the Entertainment and Tech industries. She is currently the Global Marketing Director of Creative, Content & Communities within the Talent Solutions Group at LinkedIn. Previously she was the Director of Employee Experience & Marketing at Pandora Music, leading the Employment Brand, Employee Experience, Giving Back and Inclusion Strategies for the company. She is passionate about what she calls “B2E (Business to Employee) Marketing” – developing employer brand strategy, recruiting top talent and fostering an inclusive employee experience. She loves best practice sharing and creating community across the Talent and HR Industry. Marta is a studier of culture, lifestyle, workplace and media trends and is passionate about making the workplace more meaningful and better for all.
"I am passionate about “B2E” (Business to Employee) Marketing. I love to best practice share, create community and celebrate thought leadership across the TA and HR Industry."
Martin Weber is the CFO of INFARM, a start-up in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin that aims to revolutionize the urban landscape in just a few short years. To help realize its vision, INFARM has researched processes and developed technologies that completely redefine growing food in urban areas. The goal? To introduce mini greenhouses and larger vertical cultivation areas (with tall, transparent shelves) in restaurants, malls and hotels in order to guarantee maximum freshness for the consumer and eliminate food waste due to transportation and other factors. In his career to date, Martin Weber has made a name for himself, primarily as a start-up coach. He headed operations at Startupbootcamp Tel Aviv as well as Marathon Artists in London. Before starting at INFARM, he worked as a program manager at EuropeanPioneers, an investment-body of the European Commission providing grants to hi-tech startups.
"We are the new farmers and the city is our farm."
Mike Horn has a very clear philosophy when it comes to adventure: Get to know the unknown, see things you could never imagine, do things that have never been done before. The 50-year-old thrill seeker has practiced this philosophy when hiking to the North Pole in the dark, arctic winter at temperatures reaching negative 50 degrees Celsius, swimming nearly 7,000 kilometers from the source of the Amazon to its mouth in the Atlantic, climbing eight-thousanders without oxygen, and circumnavigating the world along the equator – without the aid of a motor vehicle. The German newspaper DIE ZEIT once called him “the Creator’s toughest badass”. But Mike Horn is more than that. Not only is he a hard-working and dedicated extreme athlete who takes risks whose consequences cannot be predicted, he is also a modern explorer, perhaps even the greatest explorer of our time. This is evidenced by his latest expedition, in which he aims to highlight the earth’s environmental problems. It’s called “Pole2Pole” and will see Horn travel around the world. Beginning in Europe, the expedition will take him through Africa, Antarctica, Oceania, Asia, the Arctic, North America, and then back to Europe. It will see him reach both poles in one trip and cover nearly 40,000 kilometers. This is an unprecedented feat; as is so often the case, Horn is set to be the first to achieve it.
“For me, no adventure is difficult as long as I survive.”
Prof. Dr. Miriam Meckel, PhD, born in 1967, is the publisher of WirtschaftsWoche, Germany’s leading weekly business magazine based in Düsseldorf. From October 2014 to March 2017, she was editor-in-chief of WiWo. Since 2005, she has been a professor for Corporate Communication at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and managing director of the university’s Institute for Media and Communication Management. Miriam Meckel served as a faculty associate for several years at the “Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society” and was a visiting professor at the Singapore Management University. From 2006 to 2007, she hosted the business talk show “Miriam Meckel – Standpunkte” (“Miriam Meckel – Viewpoints”) on the German television news channel n-tv. Prior to this, she served as state secretary in the department of the premier of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia first as government spokeswoman and then as state secretary for Europe, international affairs and media. A recipient of the Cicero Speechwriting Award in the academic category, she has published numerous books and articles. Her autobiographical book “Brief an mein Leben” (“Letter to My Life”) inspired the award-winning film with the same title from 2016. As a passionate advocate of international and transatlantic exchange, she was a member of the “European Asian Young Leaders Forum” of the Herbert Quandt Foundation and was awarded the USA Eisenhower Fellowship and John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellowship from the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. She studied journalism and communications, sinology, political science, and law in Münster (Germany) and Taipei (Taiwan).
Moira Gunn is both a global sci/tech journalist and an academic. She is best known as the host of Tech Nation, BioTech Nation and Tech Nation Health on a number of NPR venues, including the NPR channel on SiriusXM, and a wide distribution nationally and globally. A former NASA computer scientist and engineer, where she worked on global data models and information systems, Gunn started Tech Nation at the beginning of the dot-com boom, and has followed every trend since, speaking directly with the people who drive them. From their first radio interview ever for Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin and an unknown Jeff Bezos from an equally-unknown Amazon to today’s guests ranging from hackers to CEOs, scientists to politicians, social psychologists to professors – everyone is important, everyone is a piece of the puzzle. As an academic, Professor Gunn directs the bioentrepreneurship program at the University of San Francisco, where her research includes the impact of the global business-science media, changing bioethical values, and STEM attitudinal differences in students resulting in their limiting effects. The National Science Board awarded Gunn its “Public Service Award to the Individual” for her contributions to increasing the Public Understanding of Science and Engineering. The first woman to receive a PhD in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, Gunn also earned multiple degrees in computer science and was further awarded an honorary doctorate in science.
Nadya Peek develops infrastructures of fabrication and advanced manufacturing as a postdoctoral researcher in MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. Her PhD at the MIT Center for Bits is titled "Making Machines that Make: Object-Oriented Hardware Meets Object-Oriented Hardware". She is an Assembler in the Harvard Berkman Klein Center's Assembly on Cybersecurity and plays in the band Construction.
“Roll up your sleeves and start innovating.”
Natasha Jimenez is an artist, engineer, and designer. Her work focuses on people’s connection to the natural world and each other. In her latest piece, The Last Conservatory, she creates a multi-sensory installation constructed out of foraged wood, moss and fragrant herbs. Music and poetry emanate from inside the trunk of a tree, coercing the audience to physically connect to the soothing properties of nature. Natasha is the co-founder of the humanitarian design agency Outside, where she designs things that promote peace, health, and wellbeing. She has developed projects with various NGOs including IRC, UNHCR, and MercyCorps. Natasha is the lead developer for Translation Cards, an award-winning app that enables field workers to communicate with refugees effectively. At me Convention, Natasha will give a workshop titled “Humanitarian Design Summit” (topic: NEW CREATION) in cooperation with Oliver Blank. In this intense hands-on workshop, you’ll learn how to use design thinking to prevent suffering and save lives.
"By selling my belongings and travelling the world with only a bag on my back I am looking to find a minimal, peaceful, and happy life."
Great Britain’s first state-recognized cyborg. That is something that might appear in Neil Harbisson’s passport, were the authorities to allow such an unwieldy title. An artist who lives in New York and is active on the lecture circuit, he wears an antenna on his head. He had it implanted thirteen years ago. All perfectly normal, in Harbisson’s opinion. “In psychological terms, most of us are already cyborgs anyway. We are no longer capable of living without our smart phones. In 30 years it will be normal for everyone to wear such implants in their bodies.” His antenna enables Harbisson, who suffers from the disorder achromatopsia, to detect both visible and invisible colors, such as infrared. And because he is connected to the Internet, he can also receive videos, music, and telephone calls, among other things. And what does this technology do to the co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, who uses his art to promote an expanded concept of reality and champion the rights of cyborgs? That he will tell you from the stage.
“When we expand our senses, we expand our knowledge.”
Nick Foster is Head of Industrial Design at X (formerly Google X). X’s mission is “... to invent and launch “moonshot” technologies that could someday make the world a radically better place”. Nick is also a partner at the Near Future Laboratory, pioneering work in the field of Design Fiction. He has been a designer and futurist for 20 years and has worked in advanced design roles for Sony, Nokia and Dyson, amongst others. Nick is a co-author of “TBD Catalog: The Near Future’s Normal Ordinary Everyday”, and launched the zine "TUXSAX - The user experience will be as shitty as expected". His written work has been published in the Alpine Review, Core77, Blueprint, BoingBoing, Wired and Stylus.
“Every designer is a cultural voyeur — a perpetual sponge for inspiration and a running faucet for ideas.”
Nicole L’Huillier is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and architect based in Boston. She is currently based at the MIT Media Lab as a PhD researcher in the Opera of The Future group. Her work explores spatial experience, perception and the relationship between sound & space. She works at the intersection of art, music, architecture, science and technology in order to build new experiences that reconnect us with our sense of awe and wonder, while modeling and re-shaping human cognition. She is also a drummer, singer and one half of the space pop duo Breaking Forms. L'Huillier is currently creating multi-sensory immersive environments, to open questions about possible futures, redefine how we perceive our world, and most importantly: trigger connection and empathy between human and non-human agents. Her work is based on the idea of sound as a spatial fact, and architecture as a medium not for a purpose but for an effect.
"Sound is a spatial tool and Space is a sonic tool."
Oliver Blank is an English artist and designer, currently at Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google. Blank’s artwork is about intimacy and affection in public, and his design projects focus on the prevention of suffering. Coaxing his audience out of the quotidian, Oliver’s artwork induces unforgettable experiences that instil a shared romance and sense of community. Past installations include composing orchestral music for long forgotten buildings and hosting a phone-line that collects messages for lost loves and forgotten friendships. Oliver’s artwork has appeared across the world in countries including Japan, Mexico, Spain, Finland, and the USA, and venues including Tate Gallery, London's Design Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. At Google.org he has collaborated with Lego, Nokia, HP, Marvel Comics, and many others. Oliver is a regular speaker and workshop leader at SXSW, Oliver is also a member of the advisory board of SXSW Eco, and a Practitioner-in-Residence at Berkeley, University of California. You may also have caught him on the BBC, The New York Times, or CNN. Over the years Oliver has lived in Helsinki, London, Manchester, New Orleans, and San Francisco. At me Convention Oliver will give a workshop titled “Humanitarian Design Summit” (topic: NEW CREATION). In this intense hands-on workshop, you'll learn how to use design thinking to prevent suffering and save lives. “From refugee camps in Europe to hurricanes across the United States, design thinking can make a difference in the most critical situations”, says Oliver Blank.
"My work exists on a spectrum of compassionate action: from design to prevent suffering to art about affection in public."
Oona Horx-Strathern comes from London and has worked for more than 20 years as a trend consultant, speaker and author. As well as writing about building and living in the future she has worked on many studies and reports for the Zukunftsinstitut. As a trend consultant she has worked for international firms such as Unilever, Beiersdorf, Philip Morris and the Deutsche Bank. Her speech customers range from architectural conferences to universities, the building industry and the interior design branch. She divides her time between Germany, London and the Future Evolution House in Vienna which she has built with her husband Matthias Horx. Her passion is architecture and design, city development, socio-demographic change, and the evolving relationship to smart technology. (Photo: Klaus Vyhnalek, email@example.com)
“The real smart city is about connectivity - to people not technology.”
Paul Boross — aka The Pitch Doctor — specialises in the “art and science” of corporate communication. Drawing on a career that has taken him from primetime TV, music and stand-up comedy to production, development, consultancy and motivational psychology, Boross works regularly with such power players as the BBC, Google and Nestlé, training executives in communication, presentation and pitching. His frontline experience of performance — his credits include a 12-year stint at London’s legendary Comedy Store — coupled with a strong commercial grounding enable him to deliver effective and focused skills to clients from a range of industries, from media to medicine. Paul is a much in demand international keynote speaker and his three bestselling books continue to sit high in the Amazon charts.
"There is an art and science to all communication. In order to prosper you must perfect your pitch.”
Rana June’s work uses biodata to examine the spectrum of human emotion. From large-scale data analytics to site-specific multimedia installations, her ambitious and innovative work translates physiological data into richly expressive visuals. June’s fascination with visual interpretations of biodata dates to her adolescence, when her father, a physician, taught her to use an electrocardiogram machine. In 2012, she channeled this interest by founding Lightwave, the world’s premier bioanalytics company. Lightwave has been recognized internationally for measuring the energy of large-scale events including Wimbledon and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships and for bringing emotion tech to blue chip brands including Pepsi, Jaguar, Unilever and 20th Century Fox. Lightwave has analyzed over two billion points of emotion data to date.
Sarah M. Thornton currently pursues her doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University. She obtained her Sc.M. degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, where her research focused on developing an adaptive shift control algorithm for automatic transmissions. She received her B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering from UC Berkeley in 2011. Her current research interests are in the area of ethical decision-making and motion planning under uncertainty for automated vehicles.
Sasha Samochina (sam-ocean-uh) is a Multimedia Specialist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She joined the team at JPL after working in New York in the fields of video, web development and science communication and in Chicago, where she was a head Media Producer at The Field Museum of Natural History. After dreaming up words, GIFs and short videos for @NASAJPL and @MarsCuriosity, as well as other JPL social media channels, she was inspired to explore the world of 360 video and VR. Sasha edited and produced the first 360 video release on social media for NASA. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in film, video and new media. She’s originally from St. Petersburg, Russia. She loves all things digital, animal, sound-emitting, cosmic and views the world through VR-colored glasses. At me Convention, Sasha will speak on the topic of NEW REALITIES. For everyone who ever dreamed of experiencing outer space, this session has extra appeal.
“I create work that allows you to experience unexplored worlds and spaces.”
Tim Leberecht is the author of “Business Romantic” - an international bestseller that was selected as one of the “Forbes Top 10 Creative Leadership Books” and translated into eight languages. His recipe for success? Leberecht reminds us that, while the world of business is increasingly focused on maximization and optimization, we should be concentrating more on the things that make business successful in the first place: on creativity, emotional and social intelligence, and – yes – on business romanticism. Leberecht believes that the only way we can respond to the rise of artificial intelligence is to rediscover a humanist perspective and to focus on the beauty of things and of the creative process. This is why we invited Tim Leberecht to speak at the me Convention. His topic will be NEW LEADERSHIP. Leberecht, 45, is the founder and CEO of “Leberecht & Partners”, a consulting company that helps companies develop their visions and strategies, and assists them with transformations. He was previously Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at NBBJ and, before that, held the same position at Frog Design from 2006 to 2013. He has provided strategic advice to many well-known companies over the course of his career, including Amazon, Disney, GE, Samsung, Microsoft, Starbucks and Siemens. His TED Talks “3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of YOUR Brand” and “4 Ways to Build a Human Company in the Age of Machines” have been viewed by over two million people.
“To be innovative, you have to waste time.”
Vonnie Estes’ career has been driven by a passion for technology and sustainability. Currently a consultant, she has held leadership roles at prominent companies including DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta along with start-ups and venture funds to identify revolutionary science and bring products to market. She has built a number of agricultural and bio-industrial start-ups with successful exits. Serving on company, advisory, industry, and government boards, Vonnie Estes is a known voice in the industry with frequent publications and speaking engagements. She is an executive who gets things done with a vision to commercialize new technologies creating revolutionary products that are good for people and the planet.
“Bringing new technologies to the market for people and the planet.”