Pioneering conversations on today’s vital issues
CAE was thrilled to be a gold sponsor for the first ever TEDx event in St. Albans held on 26th October 2023. With the conversations being centered around “connections”, the event featured various leading thinkers & doers from different backgrounds, covering topics from artificial intelligence to loneliness.
This blog is co-authored by Omkar Patwardhan, Content Marketing Manager and Karl Wightman, Designer.
The non-profit organisation TED is widely known to build a platform where ideas can be shared, which are generally given in the form of short talks from specialists and experts from different backgrounds. Most of these talks are delivered during TED Conferences, TED Salons, and numerous independently organised TEDx events held globally. This time, the focus behind the TEDx St. Albans event was on “how we can connect better”, spreading ideas, igniting new conversations, and inspiring change within our community.
Artificial Intelligence: Discovering the future of humanity and work
As the event unfolded, attendees were awestruck by a conversation surrounding Artificial Intelligence. Ged Byrne delved deeper into what AI could become, the universal limit to computational intelligence, and how this technology can lead to disruptions in the workplace. Ged ended the talk with an intriguing question – “will AI make us more or less human?”
We asked Dene Lewis, CTO at CAE for his views on generative AI: “Artificial intelligence will bring radical transformation across industries, just like how the introduction of the iPhone reshaped our lives and behaviours. It will blur the lines between personal and professional worlds. We are still in the early stages of AI adoption, and I expect to see new opportunities, new business models, and industries created in the next 5-10 years.”
Transgender and Diversity: Understanding the journey
Jay Simmons made an empathetic talk about what it is like being transgender. Jay also emphasised that there’s no perfect definition of being a transgender, and its more of a psychological element. The talk stressed the distinction between gender identity and sex and addressed the rising cases of dysphoria among transgenders across the globe. More importantly, it conveyed the message that while understanding isn’t necessary, respecting the transgender community is paramount.
Neurodiversity: A beautiful variation within humanity
It was an absolute pleasure to see Claire Thrift share how various individual brain functions and behavioural traits are a natural variation in the human population. Claire highlighted the importance of having a connected environment and slowing down from time to time. Moreover, topics such as the growing occurrence of ADHD among women, starting a quiet revolution, and nuanced or flawed connections that make us true to ourselves covered the entire conversation surrounding neurodiversity.
Women and business: Breaking barriers
Bharti Lin spoke about her experience as a woman in a professional workplace. She pointed out that only 27% of women are in leadership role, and the number is much less for women of colour. The discussion highlighted that hard work alone doesn’t guarantee recognition. To address these issues, Lin spoke about the importance of exposure, offering solutions such as finding mentors, coaches, cheerleaders, sponsors, and advocates. Lin did a fantastic job of offering women guidance and opportunities needed to break barriers and achieve more visibility in the workplace.
Loneliness: A silent toxicity in isolation
General Practitioner Dr. Richard Pile discussed the increasing prevalence of loneliness around the world. He delved into how loneliness can be a toxic element to our existence and how social prescribing can help in overcoming this issue. Dr. Pile also offered an intuitive approach to helping those suffering from isolation – look, listen, and lend a hand.
On similar grounds, another speaker Mile Palin underlined the high occurrence of loneliness, especially among the youth. Mile focused on prioritising building a community & tribal environment, and finding as well as defining the purpose.
Panel Discussion: Exploring the rising tide of loneliness in a post COVID era
One of the highlights from the event was a thought-provoking panel discussion, including experts from education, HR specialists, and professional backgrounds, who spoke about the growing issues of loneliness in our society and its profound impact on well-being. They also discussed strategies to mitigate loneliness among remote workers or students, fostering the importance of a sense of belonging and connection across teams. The panel ended with a strong message – when we foster stronger social connections, society can work together to create a more empathetic, supportive, and connected world where isolation no longer exists.
One of the panel experts was our very own Chief Corporate Development Officer, Richard Behan –
“CAE are proud to have sponsored the event, and I enjoyed taking part in the panel discussion that explored the modern challenges of loneliness and isolation, where I spoke about how business can play its part in providing a positive culture and environment that helps to foster belonging. A huge thanks must be given to the TEDx St Albans team for making the event possible, not to mention all the volunteers. Congratulations to all of the fabulous speakers – their hours of preparation really paid off!”