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A Brief #TED2023 Summary

Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED Hosts Whitney Pennington Rodgers, Chris Anderson, and Helen Walters speak at SESSION 1 at TED2023: Possibility. April 17-21, 2023, Vancouver, BC, Canada CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

“None of us knows where the world is going. It is better to do it together .“

This quote from Chris Anderson summarized my take away from the conference #TED2023. This year theme was Possibility and that what we got. We saw glimpses of a future without clear outcomes. Everything is possible from the best like a personal tutor for every child (Sal Khan) and regrowing our bones and cartilages to the possibly of more civil wars and unrest even up to the idea that AI that may kill us all. With the pace of acceleration, predictions appear impossible.

The release of ChatGPT as a universal experience for humanity, with no guardrail or progressive roll out, took everybody by surprise even in the TED community of people in-the-know, including those in the AI world. And we are left to speculations about the impact on jobs, health, global warming and sustainability, our autonomy of governance and decisions, the geopolitical or criminal impact for chaos (think dark web, Facebook election and spammers and hackers on boosters), beautiful new form of arts or having no rights to our own image and data (in a world where AI can replicate our appearance and voice). Whether AI will improve human lives or doom humanity.

I will go into more details in my next newsletter as I need time to absorb and make sense of this all but here are a few quotes that may give you a flavor of the conference.


  • "In nature sounds is everything, silent is an illusion”. Karen Bakker shared that with AI we can hear and analyze the sounds of nature we could not hear at all before and get a better understanding of animal communication (for example, turtles do not simply abandon their eggs as we thought, but make sounds to guide babies to the ocean)

  • "Every student can have a personal tutor and every teacher an assistant", Sal Khan about his Khanmigo AI program that uses AI to tutor students using the Socratic method and help they learn at their own pace, in a customized way.


  • "We need artists to bring humanity to develop AI” said Kallado-McDowell who defined themselves as an AI Collaborator.

  • “The boundary between physical and virtual are blurring” explained the artist Refik Anadol.

  • “Precision cure for all” would allow to address the 10% of the population that has a rare genetic disease ( such as ALS or Alzheimer) suggested Anna Greta, a cellular dysfunction researcher.

  • “Sending girls to school does not solve the problem of isolation” shared the Education Activist Angelina Murimirwa, as she highlighted a new system of mentorship and sisterhood for girls and young women throughout Africa

  • “ We need more artists in tech and more technologists thinking like an artist “ because “tech give us the tools but art give us the way” suggested Lucas Rizzotto, mixed reality experiential artist.


  • “More trustworthy machine can solve impossible problems” said Greg Brockman, Open AI co-founder as the reason why they decided to release ChatGPT to the word without progressive steps or guardrails. “Let’s reality hits you in the face”.

  • “AI figure out what you need at the speed of thoughts …and is grossly underestimated” said Imran Chaudhri, a user experience visionary who is building an invisible AI companion that would be our universal assistant and more.


  • “AI is unintentionally intelligent and stupid…you should “chose your battles” and with “common sense (being) the priority” to teach AI recommended Yejin Choi, a computer scientist.

  • “We need to own the property right of our data” said Tom Graham from Metaphysics. However, his company is able to use somebody images to create AI fake videos of that person with no marking or indication to show that is it fake and there are currently no legal rights to maintain control over our photo realistic AI avatars.

  • “I love AI but I am worried …by the possibility of global AI governance “ through “AI controlling another” shared Gary Marcus, an AI prognosticator.

  • “What happens if we built something smarter than us and that we do not understand? …There is no consensus on how it can go well” said the decision theorist Eliezer Yudowsky who suggested that AI "may end up killing us all".

I want to leave you with this question by Kallado McDowell, an artist who uses AI in his work, “How to preserve the best of ourselves with AI?”

Disclaimer: this article has been written 100% by a human without the help of AI. This may be one of my last article written this way!

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