Among the brightest, the bravest, and the most inspired took the the stage at TEDx UoM and shocked us all with what they had to say. Most times in the strangest way possible.
Lovin Malta gives a run-down on all that was said and joked about during this year’s TEDx series.
Sam Debattista on making something of your life
One of the most vibrant speakers, yet the most chilling of stories, Sam Debattista is like the brilliant bright light in a dark tunnel. She’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, yet in spite this she emphasises the importance of living life with quality and sustenance in mind, and not the quantity of years attached to it.
“I have chosen to live every single moment of my life and death appreciating every moment as it comes. I have chosen to master the art of life”
She’s an advocate for the legislation of euthanasia, saying that “I am so wrapped up in the life that I have chosen to live that I don’t concern myself with the years I won’t get.” For Sam, it is more important to truly live, than to live on for as long as possible.
Lara Dimitrijevic on women’s choice
Lara Dimitrijevic ended up being pregnant at 18, and since then she has been at the front lines fighting for women’s rights as the founder and director of Women’s Rights Foundation, a voluntary Maltese organisation committed to educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights.
“We need to foster a culture where a woman’s ability to make the right choices for herself is not limited or questioned”
Women have been blaming themselves for the troubling situations they find themselves in, all believing that their choices are limited. She narrates the tales of Pandora in Greek Mythology and Eve in Christianity and emphasises how in both stories the perfect life of men was ruined because of a woman’s choice. She says “what follows is centuries of men questioning women’s choices because these choices are a threat to men and therefore they have to be subdued and controlled.”
Dr Abdalla Kablan on making friendships with AI that last
Dr Abdalla Kablan gives us his vision of the Future 2.0; it’s full of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence (AI) and a whole load of other things that we don’t understand.
Dr Kablan says all of this is achievable through the Internet of Things, whereby “your different devices are connected to the internet; from your belt, to your watch, to your washing machine to your refrigerator. Your washing machine will be able to order detergent from an Amazon server when it is low on supplies, and this is delivered to you on an autonomous car; this is reality.”
He maps out, in somewhat understandable terms, how the advancing technologies of today can be resourceful to us. He imagines a world where we can become besties with our AI buddies by creating friendly AIs as we experience likeable AI characters who are cognitively superior than we are.
Sean Buhagiar on why you should go to the theatre in the next month
We should go to the theatre because we’ve forgotten how to touch ourselves, according to Sean Buhagiar. But not in the way that you’re thinking (naughty).
“Education and creativity, for me, is like Romeo and Juliet. It never really worked out, but it really should.”
He gives ten reasons why we should get to the theatre to regain a sense of human connectedness; in the space of this dark room we can talk, feel, explore and develop our skills by obediently watching and observing in order to know. In this way, theatres can ultimately provide a form of public discourse that lies at the heart of our democracy.
Dr Ruben Cauchi on how sex-drive links fruit flies to humans
When Dr Ruben Cauchi started looking at the genetic makeup of motor neuron diseases (for example, ALS), he and his team found that all answers can be found in one of the smallest of creatures; the fruit fly.
“This tiny bug is the most studied creature in the universe. The X Factor of the fruit fly is its closeness to humans through an astonishing number of genes that are similar.”
The tell-tale feature that flies are most like us is their obsession with… sex. And in case this doesn’t sound convincing enough, Cauchi explains how his team have discovered a handful of genes required for the health of the motor neuron and have even succeeded in naming genes like Valette and Gaulos. Malta’s made it all the way to science.
This year’s TEDxUniversityofMalta event was called Shift and it focused on delving deep into whether we can embrace the ever-changing reality of our existence without losing our identity in the process.