The 2018 edition of TEDxReggioEmilia, Humanity beyond Humanity, has just ended. After seeing hundreds of videos on Youtube in these recent years, I have finally been able to assist (and contribute) in first person to a TEDx event.
They told me it would be intense, but I didn’t imagine it would have been SO intense. Moving, exciting, life-changing. Already attending the rehearsals the day before the event I heard a big CRACK inside.
But let’s start from the beginning.
After a series of fortunate events, in 2018 I joined the Marketing & Communication Team of TEDxReggioEmilia. In particular, I co-worked with Silvia Ciampa on Instagram strategy and management + production of visual content. Yesterday, at the Humanity beyond Humanity event, I was also one of the 3 official photographers.
Some questions that you’ve asked me these past months are:
TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is a non-profit organization that aims to share “ideas worth spreading”. Launched in California in 1995, every year hosts international speakers that talk about different topics, such as environment, sport, personal growth, science, art and much more.
TEDxReggioEmilia 2018: Humanity beyond Humanity
The one that took place yesterday, October 28th, at Loris Malaguzzi International Center (Reggio children) was the fourth edition of TEDxReggioEmilia, after the events held in 2011, 2012 and 2017.
The theme, Humanity beyond Humanity, aimed to explore the complex human condition living in an increasingly technological and digital era. The 12 speakers brought different opinions and experiences, but that certainly ispired us and made us re-think our own beliefs.
Sara Melotti – Photographer & Writer | The world needs more truth
I met Sara when we were still living in Los Angeles in 2013 and over time she has continued to inspire me with her path in continuous evolution and constant “questioning” of what’s ethic or not. I will tell you more about this friendship, which had a huge impact on my life, in my next article.
Ivano Eberini – Biochemistry Researcher | Digito Ergo Sum
Is it possible for a rotten apple to rot the whole apple cask? Yes.
And can the negative behavior of a single individual influence that of all the others? Yes, research says, if the individual is considered as a “mate”, as part of your group of friends..
Just as we had witnessed in Zimbardo’s experiment, where a simple game of guards and thieves quickly turned captors into real tormentors, Ivano shows us how on social media the ability to empathize with others is completely absent, because of the feeling of “lack of responsibility”.
Social media is a fundamental tool, but we must remember that behind the screen there are real, fragile, people.
Roberta Gilardi – Innovation Expert | The butterfly in the case
It’s normal to feel lost in this technological society, which has changed enormously in the past ten years. Roberta’s talk was full of both positive and negative examples, which included:
- Her, the movie where the protagonist falls in love with a software (which ends up being more intelligent than him and breaks up).
- Black Mirror. From the episode of Nosedive to reality: in China, “social scores” are officially introduced in everyday life.
- Woebot, a useful application that through A.I. helps reducing anxiety.
Roberta concludes with a quote from Blade Runner saying that “we are no longer part of the business: we, as humans, have become the business.” Have we already become “data objects”? The butterflies inside the case?
Marco Menegus – Sportman | The humanity of imperfect natures
With cystic fibrosis, Marco was the first pulmonary transplanted man to climb over 4000 meters with mountaineering skis. His talk was touching and, at times, for me almost “disturbing”.
Despite being immunosuppressed Marco spoke in a room with almost 400 people, describing how for him even the simple act of breathing must be a conscious and not a mechanical act at all.
“I live thanks to technology, you’re listening to my donor’s voice.” He concluded the intervention with images of his beloved mountains, which he conquered, he says, not alone, but with his donor.
Mikkel Mathiesen – Student and shop assistant | I exist and I’m happy
Mikkel was super brave to get on the TEDx stage and really warmed our hearts, talking about how for him the down syndrome is not a disease but a way of life.
He told us he’s in love and has many passions (including Reggiana!). “I have a family, a girlfriend, I have a job! I’m not sick!”. He concluded by saying that he dreams of a TOP DOWN society, where his syndrome is not considered a disease but a valuable resource for the community. Amazingly done Mikkel!
Claudio Maestrini – Plastic surgeon| Essential as sea drops
Giovanni Torreggiani – Poet | Reconquered humanity
Giovanni is a fragile boy, with difficulties in speaking and expressing himself through vocal words, but who had the courage to bring his experience on the TEDx stage.
Thanks to the “facilitated writing technique” it was discovered how much Giovanni, and many other guys like him, were stuck in word communication but actually had a universe inside that they couldn’t wait to share.
“I would definitely be a champion if everyone saw me with my eyes”. Giovanni held us in suspense for 18 minutes while composing his words, letter by letter, through a computer, in silence. Staying in this profound silence touched me a lot and reminded me even more of how unnecessarily frenetic our life has become.
Erica Poli – Psychiatrist | Human code: from genetics to love
“The most powerful tool you have to communicate with your DNA is the most human thing you have: emotions”. Encouraging us to take each other by the hand, Dr. Erica Poli made us reflect on how all the parts of our body are interconnected.
The part of her speech that impressed me the most is undoubtedly the one where she told how one of her patients, after receiving a kidney transplant donated by her mother, had rejected it, although they were completely compatible. Mother and daughter did not get along, and in the transplant a fundamental aspect was not taken into consideration: emotions.
But also: a mother can transmit her emotions (negative and positive) to the fetus to the point that it will influence those of later generations. Impressive, isn’t it?
Lisa Iotti – Journalist | 8 seconds
8 seconds. This is now the threshold of our attention, before moving to another device, to another stimulus. One second less than a goldfish. But no wonder: did you know that there are more phone subscriptions than humans on this planet?
The journalist of Rai 3 – Presadiretta Lisa Iotti brought us results of the research she has recently concluded on how much technology has made us distracted and unable to concentrate.
Thanks to the eye-tracking technology, she showed us how the way we read has changed: it’s linear and logical when we read a paper-based article, but squirts like a crazy ball of a pinball when we read an article online.
Roberto Mancin – Pediatric IT – and Pepper | Robot beyond Humanity
I really appreciated Roberto, outside and inside his talk. He told us how Pepper the Robot is ideal for children, who get too scared by nurses or doctors that are too tall and open up more willingly to the magic of a talking robot than to a psychologist. He also told me, chatting the day before, that is the use of Pepper doesn’t want to be a substitute for pet therapy but a valid alternative, since dogs get too stressed if touched by different hands and live less.
“On stage”, he said,”I was very nervous but the presence of Pepper, who helped so many children in the hospitals, helped me as well.”
Annalisa Rabitti – Responsible for the project “Reggio Emilia city without barriers” e “B – Right to Beauty” | The courage to be fragile
“I didn’t receive a blue bow when my son was born”, Annalisa begins, “I didn’t get congratulations, when you give birth to an imperfect child everything goes differently, but we managed to turn a great pain into a great project. ”
The story of Annalisa, the mother of a disabled boy who commits himself to build a society without barriers and which identifies in beauty an essential value that needs to be brought in the spaces and in the lives of the most fragile people, has touched all of us.
Diego Ingrassia – Behavior analysis expert | Can an emotion exist without a body?
Diego closed this TEDx with great energy and personality.
That’s all from TEDxReggioEmilia 2018 folks! Support your local TEDx no matter what and get inspired!
Ps if you wanna have a look at more reportage photos, click here!