My highlights of TedxManchester 2017

TedXManchester 2017

I had the joy of being one of many in the main theatre in Home for TedXManchester 2017 (number 5 I believe?). Once again arranged and produced by the incredible serial successful event organiser Herb Kim and the thinking digital team, with a varied range of people plucked for their interesting stories, projects or surrounding concepts. I got my ticket late because the first lot sold out in under an hour! But I was very lucky and looked forward to the line up without really looking into each speaker.

Of course last year was special to me, as I took to the stage to tell the tales of dating in the new millenium with dating against humanity. But it’s always interesting to sit in the crowd and experience the whole thing as an audience member.

The whole event was good but here are the talks which really stood out for me.

Mr Bingo

TedXManchester 2017

I had no idea who Mr Bingo was or what he had done, till he took the stage. He is just a funny guy who does funny things with analogue media; like drawing extremely rude things on cards and posting it to people who request them. I mean he’s trolling them but only because they requested to be trolled. Sounds like self abuse almost?

Its weird but I thought the whole thing was hysterical. I took a shot of one of his cards and been getting a little attention for it, can’t think why? (pleads innocence but of course I know why!)

Sophie Scott

TedXManchester 2017

There was a host of things Sophie said which was fascinating, but the bit which stuck for me was the detail about our attention and our voice. She told us when we talk our brain turns off the listening part. I’m sure this isn’t strictly true but an interesting thought, specially when thinking about how we hate hearing our own voices and why certainly people tend not to realise others are making points too.

She then went on to suggest our voices are wired for much more than just communication, using beatboxing as the ideal example of our voices as instruments.

Lots to take away and well delivered…

Jennifer Arcuri

TedXManchester 2017

There is little I can say about Jennifer which I haven’t already said about her at the last Thinking Digital Manchester. She talked passionately about hacker culture and how important knowledge was in the internet connected world we inhabit. Always a pleasure and wish I could make it to the first HackerHouse/Madlab course in March.

Jonathan Kay

TedXManchester 2017

Jonathan was a weird one and divided people from what I heard in the break later. He started his talk/act at the back of the stalls by heckling Herb as he gave his introduction. Then moved forward to the stage followed by a remote camera person, so people in the upper levels could see what on earth was going on.

His aim of the act was to get the audience to speak to each other and heck even touch each other (I know shock horror!). Ok at one point he did suggest kissing the person next to us but that didn’t go down so well. It was entertaining and the bigger point of actually talking to the people around us, wasn’t lost on myself and others.

What really brough the whole thing home to me, was the fact a friend sat in the seat next to me was feeling extremely uncomfortable about the act and wondered if someone would be picked out of the audience; because that would be terrifying. Thinking back to Carrie Green in TedxManchester3 and I said would it be so bad?

I think the point was made…

Helen Czerski

TedXManchester 2017

I have heard Helen a few times at previous Thinking Digital’s and honestly every time I hear her talk, she just oozes wonder and excitement for science and the universe. You can’t help but feel excited when she talks. Always enlightening and always reignited my interest in sciences.

Michelle McGagh

TedXManchester 2017

I don’t know what to say about Michelle, except wow and wtf! basically Michelle decided not to buy anything for a year. She did point out buy nothing day which is the same day as black friday; but one day is easy right? Why not spend nothing year?

This really got me going because she made very good points about our quick fix consumer culture and the logical conclusion of this all. But unlike the a preachy lecture about how bad we all were, she put herself through a year of trying to live it.

The results were funny and sometimes tragic. I’m not very frugal at all but I typically don’t spend much money on buying stuff. Tend to spend more on experiences and doing things. But recently I made the decision that if was getting old or causing too much effort to keep it going, I should trade it in earlier than later. I’ve spent too much time, fighting to keep things going when I should have just got rid of it and moved on.

So to hear someone actively trying to not to spend anything, and not because she couldn’t afford it – was a little shocking. The full extend of her frugaleness was quite something and reminded me of when I left the hospital almost 7 years ago and seeing my bank balance, because I simply had not spent a single penny except paid my usual bills etc; It was amazing… Maybe there was something to it, I thought as she left the stage.

Andy Burnham

TedXManchester 2017

It was a surprise to see Andy Burnham on the TEDx line up, knowing how TED doesn’t like politic talks, but I have to say although he spoke with passion and made some good points. I couldn’t help but feel the us and them argument a little too simplistic. Centralised power does have a tendencancy to turn corrupt but there is also some good things about it too. If I was talking to Andy directly, I would point to examples like the states, where each state can pretty much set their own rules but the united states system can over rule them; and in some cases thank goodness otherwise slavery, marital rape, etc would still be enforced (although then you get crap like the bathroom nonsense, with the centralised power making backwards decisions).

I also think Andy a few times pointed the finger at the south vs the north, when what he really meant is the country vs westminster. Anyway it was interesting and good to hear, even if I’m not certain on everything said.

Dan Machen

TedXManchester 2017

I liked Dan’s talk, it was a number of things I’ve been thinking a lot about. Attention and Intimacy. I was surprised he never mentioned Sherry Turkle but the quote from William Bernbach was a good place to hand a lot of thoughts. I had never actually checked out Tristan harris, but after Dan’s talk I had a deeper look at him.

Very interesting stuff which I agree about quite a bit (expect a longer blog about him soon). I’ve also been thinking about people not platforms, putting more emphasis on human time and less on productivity. It’s all very interesting in the face of machine learning and AI; I can feel the quantified self/movement (they are quite different) right in the middle of all this, along with data ethics.

Back back to Dan’s talk, I did find the point about the smartphone being a hammer and would we take our hammer out in a meeting? Put it on the table? Interesting… To be fair when he talked about it, I did picture the business card scene from American Psycho, when he mentioned the hammer on the table.

Lots to take away and think about…

TedXManchester 2017

Of course there was plenty more good talks including Isaiah HullVolker HirschSquirrel NationTash Willcocks and Ukebox; which made the ukulele actually interesting. The only one I didn’t enjoy was Nic Cary from Blockchain, which actually has made me want to move my bitcoins from my blockchain wallet to somewhere else. I was actually thinking maybe its time to have my own personal offline wallet?

Another TEDxManchester with plenty to think about and another high bar for TEDx’s to try to achieve, well done to everyone involved.

T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle

T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle at HomeMCR

I had the absolute pleasure to gain an exclusive ticket thanks to Herb Kim, to see T2 Trainspotting with Danny Boyle (director) in Q&A afterwards.

We will be joined by director and HOME Patron Danny Boyle for a Q&A following the T2: Trainspotting screening at 20:00 on Sat 28 Jan.

Theres little I can say about T2 trainspotting without spoilers, it’s a very good film and I have given it 7/10. In the Q&A Danny said a few things which I found interesting, but no spoilers again except this was one was fascinating…

Highly recommended and what a great person Danny is; he seemed very happy with my brief thoughts about the parellels with Trance and T2 Trainspotting.

TedXManchester4 does Manchester proud

TEDxManchester 2016

Ok I’m bias here because I took part in TedXManchester4 as a speaker but honestly the line up was vast, diverse and had plenty of great talking points through-out. I said a similar thing about TedxLiverpool last year. But I have to admit Sir Ken Roberson did push it just past the dizzy heights of this excellent well conceived and very well executed TedX.

TedxManchester

The TedXManchester team did a great job and it was well worth the extra year we had to wait for HomeMCR to be built and for TedxManchester to move with it.

Here’s all the talks and my brief thoughts… I did write notes in a mindmap, which can be seen here.

Tom Cheesewright at TEDxManchester 2016

Tom Cheesewright

Tom gave much thought about our tradition notions of what a cyborg is and made some good arguments why we all are cyborgs now. Main point being we have all augmented  our minds already and we need to get over it. Really nice start to TedxManchester.

Rob Procter at TEDxManchester 2016

Rob Procter

His study of digital wild fire as Rob called it was certainly cause for concern. It was a study of the viral spread of provocative or false information over social media.

I did have a slide in my old deck talking about how intimacy happens at internet speed. And in Robs case, a clear sign of how internet speed can really spread false information at a incomprehensible speed. I later spoke to Rob and made the point that a study of the awful ways relationship break ups happen at online would be most insightful.

TedxManchester

Aala El-Khani

From bombs to bread was a breathtaking talk with plenty of passion and some incredible humanity on the things forgotten in a war. The effect of war is horrific but on those trying to carry on with family life in the middle of it can be devastating well past the end of the war.

Her project to focus on them  was fantastic to hear and see.

TedxManchester

Ruth Daniel

Ruth summed up one of my thoughts I had when I first moved to Manchester. They do things differently here. Yes besides the gravy sucking through a straw, there was something which spoke volumes to me.

Challenging the status quo, being inspired by those under pressure and if it wasn’t for Hip-Hop I would be dead. All spoke volumes to me. Great talk, shame we didn’t get a chance to talk Ruth.

TedxManchester

Sam Aaron

I first saw Sam at Thinking Digital 2015 in Gateshead/Newcastle. Back then, I said to myself I would give SonicPi a try but kind of forgot about it in the swirl of other things that year.

Since then, I’ve seen more and more live coding and started wondering if this could be a element the future of djing? I’ve already shared my ideas slides with Sam and Dan (who I work with in R&D) previously.

So I finally tried it with a little help from Sam…

Currently got a problem with JackAudio and PulseAudio, which I need to sort out.

TedxManchester

Jeff Coghlan

It was funny having Jeff just before my own talk. Jeff was making a lot of good points about games and play. Then there was me criticising game techniques in dating apps/systems/sites.

Interestingly I didn’t know Jeff’s company are involved in the VR upgrade of Alton Towers Air rollercoaster ride. I have already got in touch about what I wrote previously about Perceptive Media in a theme park. Who knows… could be interesting, just as interesting as his talk.

Ian Forrester at TEDxManchester 2016

Myself

I feel like such a idiot,  but its worth saying I was pretty good too but expect a full break down of my slides coming soon.

TedxManchester

Hayley Parkes

When I first heard Hayley play back in Thinking Digital 2014 in Gateshead/Newcastle., I was touched and frankly stunned. Shes incredibly talented and to hear the personal story which surrounds her playing Clair de lune, was heart touching to say the very least. I look forward to the next time I hear her play again. Such talent and just starting out in her adult life.

TedxManchester

Jan Blake

Jan was great, she told a old tale with such passion and such vigor you couldn’t help but be swept up in the story. She was right in the green room, these stories are as powerful today as they were then. I’ll be checking her out in the future…

TedxManchester

Danielle George

It was great to hear how Radio waves are having such a effect on much more than we think. Danielle was a really great talker and communicator of her passion for the science radio waves. This also extended well into inspiring the next generation of women into engineering fields. Look forward to hearing more and seeing where she goes next.

TedxManchester

Ed Carter

Looking at architecture as music is fascinating to think about and it actually makes a lot of sense, especially  when framed as immersive experience. Quite a unique way of looking and evaluating the landscape around us. I especially like the quote Architecture is frozen music.

TedxManchester

Lemn Sissay

Lemn’s poetry is incredible to hear again after Thinking Digital Manchester 2015. Epic and edgy as always.

Once again his trainers were of interest for the camera, maybe I should have wore my spring blades.

TedxManchester

Yandass Ndlovu

There is little I can say about Yandass without really seeing her dance. I mentioned to Yandass afterwards that she summed up the exact reason why I love freestyle dancing and tend to reject couple/organised dancing. Yandass, just danced, mixing styles and building up her own take on everyone of them.

It was amazing to see dancing, so free of movement and contemporary. Nice tie up with Ruth Daniel’s If it wasn’t for Hip-Hop I would be dead.

TedxManchester

As a touching end to the whole event, Herb and his daughter said thank you to everybody for coming along with the core team of the Isabelle, the Emmas and many other helpers. It deserved to be sold out and people stayed right up to the very end.

Thanks to Herb and the team, I enjoyed every moment. Heck I even got a valentine dinner date after my call out on stage… with Herb in pizza express… ha! Not exactly what I expected  but heck it was a great end to the day.

My Tedxmcr talk: Dating against humanity

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

Would you date this man?
Would you date a 36 year old divorcee who is a left-leaning feminist and self confessed geek?

…a game in which nice single people are roped into a horrible game with others, resulting in cognitive overload, shocking manners, narcissism, algorithmic prejudice, financial loss and decisions based purely on appearances.

I’m just back from TedxManchester which was at homemcr, where I gave a presentation about onlne dating and some of the things I’ve observed about it. I believe I’m the first person to publicilly ask for a date from a Tedx stage.

It went well but I did have to speed up at the end, which did mean loosing some of my connecting points.

Maybe I’ll do a full breakdown of my thoughts but for now here’s some of the higher level ones.

  • Online dating sites and services are fundimentally in conflict with the goals of its customers.
  • There is too much evidence suggesting that online dating sites are unlikely to do what they say they do.
  • Online dating services are using gamification to prolong attention to collect even more data and make the service addictive
  • I believe the birthday paradox is a good reason why regardless of what dating sites do, there will be people who will pair off
  • Meetup, brisklr and other niche services which bring people together should have equal amount of successful connections as the likes of the big dating sites. They just don’t shout about it like the rest.
  • You shouldn’t let the tools dictate how you conduct yourself online.

Great TedX once again by Herb Kim and the thinking digital crew.

It was so apt, giving such a talk on valentines day…

I’ll write a review of the other great talks in a few days time, but I wanted to post up the slides as so many people have asked me about them.

Love and romance predicted for TEDx Manchester 2016

First date night in ages with @frankhamilton79. Dinner and a movie at @homemcr. Saw a brill German movie called West. Very happy girl :) #datenight #lbloggers #bloggers #lbloggersuk #manchester #cinema #homemcr #westmovie #movies #pictures #cinemanight

February 14th is always known for valentines day, well this year get yourself down to Homemcr. How can you get more romantic? Don’t worry I’ll make sure there is enough love for everybody…

TEDxManchester is back, and it would be fair to say I’m involved after talking at TedxManchester2 and arranging TEDxManchester originally with a bunch of great collaborators in 2009!

TEDx events were created in the spirit of  the TED conferences’ mission: ‘ideas worth spreading’. They are  designed to give communities, organisations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at a local level. TEDx events are a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of events popping up from San Francisco to Sydney. Following on from the first TEDxManchester in 2009 at the BBC, and subsequent editions at Cornerhouse and University of Manchester Student Union, we’re excited to have the first HOME edition of TEDxManchester in 2016!

Tickets go live on the 14th January

Perceptive media meets the visual

visual pm realtime grading
Changing the colour grade

The next web broke the story after seeing a tweet from BBCRD on Thursday but others have followed.

So what is this visual perceptive media thing?

Imagine a world where the narrative, background music, colour grading and general feel of a drama is shaped in real time to suit your personality. This is called Visual Perceptive Media and we are making it now in our lab in MediaCityUK.

The ability to customise or even personalise media (video in this case) in a browser using no special back end technology or delivery mechanism is fascinating. Its all javascript, client side technologies and  standard http in a modern web browser. Because of this it’s open, not propriety and I believe scalable (the way it should be). This also means when we do make it public the most amount of people can experience it, fitting with the BBC’s public purpose.

More details of the project will emerge soon, but I wanted to make certain things clear.

The project isn’t a one off, it a line of projects around our object media ambitions. Some others were used at Edinburgh this summer and IP studio is a big part of it. There’s even been some projects very similar to Visual Perceptive Media including Forecaster.

Perceptive Media (implicit) has always been about audience experiences and fits as an alternative of responsive media (explicit). Breaking out and Perceptive radio. All are new experiences we have been building, underpinned by ip technology and rethinking our notions of media as a solid monolithic block.

Lego Bricks

You are already seeing this happen with the movement in STEMS in music. However, while audio multiplication in the open environment of the web is easier via the WebAudioAPI. Theres no real unified API like the WebAudioAPI for Video. SMIL was that but it got sidelined as HTML5 pushed the capabilities in the browsers not mediaplayers.

We have been working in this area and looked at many options including Popcorn.JS. In the end we started creating a video compositor library and recently open sourced the library. Without that library, the project would be still be in our lab.

There has been some criticism about the personality side of things.

Data ethics is something we have been thinking and talking about a lot. Earlier this year we created a microsite summing up some of our thoughts and raising opinions of some industry experts. The question about the filter bubble was talked about my many but we didn’t include it in the short documentaries, maybe now would be a good time to dig them out.

But before I dive into the deep end, its important to say we are using personality as simply a proxy for changing things. It could have been anything, as someone even suggested we could used shoe size. We used personality after meeting and being impressed by Preceptiv a long while ago by their technology.

The next thing was to connect the data to changeable aspects of a film. Film makers are very good at this and working with Julius Amedume (film director and writer) we explored the links between personality and effect. Colour grade and music were key ones along with shot choices, we felt were most achievable.

Theres a lot more I can say, most which was said at the This way up conference panel: The film is not enough.

On the day before (Wednesday) we did our first somewhat public but secretive closed door reveal of the very much early preview of visual perceptive media with 16 industry people. It originally was meant to be a smaller number but the demand was such that we increased the number and increased the machines needed to view it. The technical challenges did cause problems but with the help of Anna from AND Festival, myself and Andy from R&D got some good feedback. We are still crunching the feedback but I expect the frank discussions will be the most enlightening.

The panel discussion on Thursday was great. I gave the following presentation after Gabby asked me to give more context to the video here. I was my usual firestarter self and maybe caused people to think quite a bit. The trend towards events around film is welcomed and there are some great people doing amazing things but I was questioning film its self. We should demand more from the media of film…

Some of the feedback afterwards was quite amazing. I had everything from “This will not work!” – spent 15 productive mins  talking with one person about this. To in-depth questioning of what we have done so far and how, revealed nothing.

I had a good chuckle at this tweet and must remember to bring it up at my next appraisal.

I generally don’t want to say too much because the research should speak for its self but its certainly got people thinking, talking and hopefully more of the BBC R&D project around object media will start to complete the picture of what’s possible and show the incredible value the BBC brings to the UK.

Highlights of Thinking Digital Manchester

Thinking Digital Manchester

Thinking Digital is a breath taking conference which always wows and has become a stable part of the conference scene in the UK.  It was great to hear that Manchester would play host to the conference, but there was a worry that it wouldn’t live up to the dizzy highs of Newcastle?

Herb and the team set about taking the core elements of Thinking Digital and mixing it with Manchester. The results were great… It made perfect sense, rather than roll into Manchester with a exact formula, they will let it grow and mature like how Newcastle did. The conference took place in the darken space of the largest cinema at HOME, so my pictures didn’t come out too well. It certainly wasn’t the intimate feeling you get in Newcastle but I’m sure that will change and mature over time.

So enough blabbering, lets talk about the highlights…

Thinking Digital Manchester
Eddie Obeng

I missed Eddie when he talked in Newcastle, mainly as he was the first on, the 2nd day but I like his presentation style and what he had to say about counter intuitive thinking. Social media is broken, video conferencing is broken and we are digitally obese from the sugar, salt and fat of the digital era. Aka easy to use, convenience, and free. Very interesting metaphor

TDCMCR-08388

Conrad Wolfram

When ever I hear Wolfram talking about what they have done recently, I always think darn they are really doing stuff I could use within BBC R&D. It certainly was big data to better intelligence. The notion of insight is always a tricky but wolfram certainly seem to be leading this emerging field. Great to see a British innovator leading the field.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Julian Treasure

Julian I wrote about before at another Thinking Digital and his TED talk is something quite special with 4+ million views and very positive comments. Excellent talk and lots to think about when talking with purpose, which to be fair should be a lot of the time really.

Thinking Digital Manchester
LJ Rich

Herb must say to LJ, you have this much time and yes to anything you want. Shes an amazing woman with some seriously amazing ideas. Her thoughts about looking at the other senses, is exactly what I’ve been thinking for a long while. Why does Media have to be visual and audible? What about media which you feel and or smell?

LJ crafted a performance which was amazing to hear and see but also tightly focused around what you feel too. This was done with popping candy. At the right moment we all put the popping candy on our tongues and were treated to a wonderful symphony of interactive glitching with audio and video, representing a meteor storm.

I can only start to express how this all connected together to create a immerse experience like nothing else I can really explain while sitting in your seat.

I had the joy of talking to LJ about maybe doing something together in the future, so watch this space… Its one of those great things about Thinking Digital

Thinking Digital Manchester

Stephen Waddington

Stephen pretty much said most of the things me and Marie talked about in our workshop the day before on increasing your personal impact. There were things which we had to cut short including lots about the Cluetrain Manifesto. I think I was nodding my head through most of his talk, amazing a lot of this hasn’t just made its way into the conciousness of most people by now.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Pam Warhurst

Pam is a force of nature and I have written about her and her incredible (pun intended) work. I also got the chance to point out her wikipedia page is using the photo I shot at a previous thinking digital. I even told her I visited Todmordern purely because of her great work.

This time she talked about her aspirations to build a network joining all the other communities working on similar projects together. She is seeking people to get involved and help with the technical side of it all. I already said I was interested and just waiting for her to get in touch.

The idea of more civic/community driven startups (if thats the right classification) is something I’ve thought about a lot. It also reminds me that I must start that Civic startup manifesto following a conversation I had in BarCampManchester6 and attributing the excellent/crowd storming work the geeks of london did with the hackday manifesto.

Maybe I could link them in some way for the benefit of everybody?

TDCMCR-08584

Tom Chatfield

Tom’s talk was like a episode of Freakonomics live. He covered so much in his talk that I struggled to keep up.

Really interesting to hear about limited mental resources we all have, or as I prefer attention. He went off into a blog post I pretty much wrote a few days ago around swipe left or right culture. Which was a result of the substitution of difficult questions with easy ones (swipe left or right). Then talked about how difficult questions make us feel stupid and somehow ended up with what are we and physical stuff is a feature not a bug.

Good talk, wish I spent some more time at the social chatting to him. I was sandwiched between Wolfram and Tom, and to be fair I thought it would be better if they were sitting next to each other.

Thinking Digital Manchester
Lemn Sissay

Another new person I have never seen or heard of, till about half way through his talk. Reminded me of Jason Silva in his poetic wording and unique style.

Like Tom, so much was said and indicated, it was hard to tie the talk down to one singular thing. But the diversity aspect was well said and had me silently clapping and grinning.

TDCMCR-08645

I wrote down uniqueness and quality on my mindmap for Lemn’s talk, very fitting. Interesting the effect of uniqueness. I recently had a lot of comments about my latest trainers (Adidas Spring blades).

TDCMCR-08330

Thinking Digital Manchester was a very good conference with lots to take away, it doesn’t quite yet touch the legendary Newcastle events but I remember the original Thinking Digital in 2008, I can imagine in a few years time, it will be another jewel in the Thinking Digital crown. Home is a excellent venue with the bar, food and plenty of social space. But the cinema layout doesn’t have a patch on the sage two’s theatre. Imagine Thinking Digital Manchester in the royal exchange…now that would be something!

Regardless, the whole event was run very well and you felt like there was just not enough time in the day. It was seamless even with the new rash of technical faults (never happens at TDC usually). The format also worked well, but I did feel the social did need more emphases, as a lot of people didn’t realise the main social was on the night before the conference. Which makes for some fuzzy mornings I can imagine.

Excellent work Herb Kim and team… Me and Marie are looking forward to coming back with a even better workshop next year