Expat community manager and event organiser, Michael Bahati decided that 2018 would be the year his platform www.paris-expats.com and team would embrace a new challenge and provide something exciting for the expatriate community in Paris: «Paris Talks», a conference delivered completely in English, presenting thought-provoking ideas for today’s and tomorrow’s technology dependent world.
What inspired you to create Paris Talks?
After a little more than three years of community and event management, the time has come for us to embrace a brand new challenge. We need to grow and we believe the international community in Paris needs better and intellectually stimulating content. That’s where Paris Talks came from.
Paris Talks is a platform for provocative and disruptive ideas about the future of humanity. It’s a full-day conference designed for decision-makers, artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, educators, futurists, environmentalists, economists, visionaries and curious people who want to hear and learn about grand ideas and approaches on how to deal with some of the world’s toughest current and future challenges.
With speakers from UNESCO, INSEAD, the Council of Europe, the International Energy Agency, artists, entertainers and more, Paris Talks promises to be more than an average company, university conference or a startup fair. It’s a space where the world’s thinkers, futurists and doers will meet to share their big ideas.
Tell us about the speakers, their areas of expertise and the subjects they’ll discuss.
The speakers include, Riel Miller, futurist and former Head of Foresight at UNESCO, who will give a lecture entitled “Transforming the Future: Anticipation in the 21st Century”. This lecture will focus more on equipping attendees with skills that help to predict and imagine future scenarios.
Yul Bahat, a cyber security Expert and Technology evangelist will give a talk entitled: “Privacy Becomes Currency: Welcome To The Uncertain Future”. Paris Talks will also be about the transhumanist era, artificial intelligence, immortality and human genetic engineering, and the future of the human brain. It’s important to note that the conference will be officially opened with a keynote address from Sienna Ball-Wilscam, a 12 year-old, Paris-based Franco-American artist and comedian who has extensively worked on creative projects with film directors such as Luc Besson, brands like BIC, Cyrillus, Decathlon, Disneyland Paris, IKKS, Kiabi, and E.Leclerc.
How were the speakers selected?
We will be featuring 12 innovative, influential speakers and entertainers throughout the day. Most were selected after they submitted their speaking applications through the conference website. Applications that matched with the conference vision and theme were given priority and speakers were contacted in October 2017.
What are you hoping attendees will take away from the conference?
Attending the conference is a sign of accepting to be challenged to look at the future of humanity with an unconventional eye. Attendees will learn different ways to improve their capacity for inventing a better future for themselves, their businesses and the wellbeing of coming generations. Attendees are encouraged to have an open mind because we believe that it’s the most important thing they can bring to an event such as Paris Talks. To get the most out of this experience, attendees are advised to embrace all the crazy, disruptive, innovative, surprising and downright jaw-dropping ideas they’ll come across! Everyone’s current and future view of the world will be repeatedly challenged. The impact of listening to speakers share their unique ideas on the future of humanity will be an unparalleled experience.
The conference’s tagline is ‘The future of humanity’. How do you see the future?
Firstly, it is predicted that by the year 2070, authoritarianism will be back. This is said to be as a result of a projected increase in insecurity and lawlessness, leading to the reintroduction of draconian measures. As a result, people may no longer be able to enjoy popular rights and freedoms such as the right of expression, freedom of movement, the right to privacy and freedom of assembly.
It is also predicted that by the 2030s, nanobots will be able to plug themselves into the human system. While this could be dangerous, futurists claim that it will bring a lot of advantages. They will boost our immune system to be able to fight all kinds of diseases, including cancer. Coupled with vaccines, we could get to an era without HIV. Whether this will be possible is for the future to decide.
Also, interestingly, secularism and agnosticism might creep back in the near future as predicted, organized religions will reunite to counter a single enemy. However, the number of missionary Brits and Americans will greatly reduce.
A crazier prediction is that by 2045, we will be able to feel the smell of what is aired on our television sets. Nicholas Negroponte, an IT specialist, predicts that apart from sight and sound, television sets will provide olfactory and feedback output.
The list of future predictions is endless, whether we live to see them happen is another thing altogether!
Clearly we are in a technological shift which is influencing every aspect of life. What are the positives and negatives from your point of view?
While most people think that technology is at an all time high, tech geeks know for sure that we are yet to see more in 2018 and beyond. A lot has happened, but much more is bound to happen, at least going by trends over the past few decades. Technology has changed how humans do almost everything today, but we must acknowledge that we are only halfway into the era of computing. All these changes have had (and will keep having) positive and negative impacts on the way humans will live their lives in the future. On the positive side, thanks to technology, humans communicate faster and more easily with one another now. They have easy access to information, travel faster across long distances, they have been able to reduce poverty and the mortality rate and cure some complicated diseases. Technology is helping humans to improve their lives and they seem to over-rely on it. This is where the danger comes in. Don’t get me wrong, all I’m trying to say is that the risk comes with embracing technology without fully understanding its long-term ramifications. We’re constantly seeking out short-term gains and improvements without really taking into consideration the whole picture for future generations.
How can those interested in attending register?
The Paris Talks conference tickets are available on www.paris-talks.com and they come with multiple perks that include access to networking areas, a tote bag with goodies, a lunch box, optimal reserved seating, a masterclass by Riel Miller, a “Future Cocktail Party” and much more.