3 key takeaways from Wired 2014 day one

Wired 2014

Wired 2014

Wired 2014 kicked off this morning with a ballsy session (“Decoding The Body”) — considering the time and lack of caffeine — that sought to explain quantum computing, DNA sequencing, autodesked viruses and 3D printed bones.

Among the many speakers for the second section “Technology without Limits” were several new faces from the Innovation Fellowship Wired started for young people who are doing extraordinary things.

First up was Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu, a Romanian 20-year-old who last year hacked his way into creating a driverless car using artificial intelligence. Not impressed? What if we tell you that he did it from his bedroom and for less than the price of a used car (compared with the £75 000 plus for the cameras required in many other systems).

Prodigies aside, the morning closed with the stomach rumbling (and gut-wrenching — thanks Pill dam!) “Culinary Creativity” where food was the theme of the day. From the ingenious creations of Bompas & Parr (which specialises in fusing science with jelly, lava and other interesting ingredients) to what just might be the future of agriculture with SproutsIO, which aims to put a Dyson-eque pod into your home so you can grow your own produce.

Three things emerged as key takeaways:

1. Gibson was right

“The future is here, it’s just unevenly distributed,” said the famous author William Gibson. It is however, anything but written. Several of the speakers combined, remixed and modified technologies that are mature to create something unique.

Takeaway: Don’t always reach for the new, create something from what exists to solve real (and future) issues.

2. We make our own boundaries

An inspiring talk was given remotely by Stuart Turner of Robots and Cake — a group that aims to bring together roboticists, researchers and disabled people across Europe and the world. Despite being quadriplegic, Turner flew a drone on stage and talked passionately about open systems, being open and pushing beyond perceived boundaries.

Takeaway: Do you want it enough to make it happen?

3. “No-one is more invested in your health than you”

The above quote from American biologist and co-founder of personal genomics company 23andMe Anne Wojcicki will stick with me and — if the line to get a DNA testing kit is anything to go by — many others too. Health is a huge area in technology right now and will continue to grow for the next few years at least. The question is: how involved do you want to be?

Takeaway: Understanding the vessel is the first part of the puzzle, the second is knowing what we’ll do with the knowledge… and that’s this afternoon.

Follow the rest of the conference via the hashtag #wired14)

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