TEDxDanubia 2014

2014-05-15 - Uránia, 1088 Budapest, Rákóczi út 21., Hungary (Map)

The Age of Uncertainty


We live in uncertain times, probably more so than ever before. The pace of change is accelerating, the amount of information and choices is overwhelming. A merging biological and technological revolution is transforming our reality. The gap between rich and poor has widened to unprecedented levels. Population growth and human induced ecological changes are creating unforeseeable risks on a planetary scale. The balance of power is shifting rapidly between East and West, North and South, while the whole planet is becoming defined increasingly by interconnectedness and interdependency, and our capacity to meet the new challenges is greater than ever.


At the same time we are losing sight of or even faith in our traditional reference points and guiding posts. New challenges, new threats and new opportunities await us behind every corner. Opportunities have never been greater and more widespread. But our world is also filled with the sense of crisis of all kinds, from financial to moral, from global to personal. What kind of world are we heading towards? Are we on the brink of a new phase of our evolution? How do we find our own way in this new world? How do we make wise choices in a new and uncharted territory when so much is at stake? How do we find meaning and purpose to our lives? What does progress mean? How do we turn the new and threatening challenges into opportunities?


At TEDxDanubia 2014, we explore these timely questions and more through pre-conference workshops and special programs, three consecutive main stage sessions (’Living Together’ – ’Progress Enigma’ – ‘Changing the Game’) and intense conversation breaks.


The TEDxDanubia application process is similar to the application to larger TED.com events. First, you need to register a user account profile on our website. After login, just select and apply to the event using the [Apply] button on the event page. Wait for the approval email after the current application round (March 6-31 & April 1-30, 2014 respectively). If your application is approved you will be issued a payment request to transfer the attendance fee or pay it online by card. Once you have paid for the ticket, just check your invoice and bring it along to the event.


Participation fee: HUF 31750 (HUF 25000 + 27% VAT)


The participation fee also includes the expenses of food and drink consumption at the days of the event as displayed on the final invoice in accordance with Hungarian tax laws. Purchased tickets are not refundable and/or transferable.

Since TEDxDanubia invites an international line-up of speakers and attendees, the majority of the talks will be in English. Both English-Hungarian and Hungarian-English simultaneous translation will be available for all TEDxDanubia talks.

TEDxDanubia reserves the right to make changes to the final conference program.


The standard application was closed on April 30. Only pre-issued codes are eligible to use the application form below.


0830 - 1030


0900 - 1000


As a new addition to the program, similarly to TED conferences, in 2014 we will introduce the TEDxUniversity morning session. These talks will be shorter, only 3 to 9 minutes with an even more open and informal atmosphere. TEDxUniversity speakers come mostly from the TEDxDanubia community: former speakers or attendees who have already shared their inspiring ideas with us. This one-hour-long morning session will be an intensive yet casual addition to our program with intriguing ideas, surprising machines and intelligent humor. Don’t miss out!

Ernő Duda
Ágnes Horváth
Izsák Farkas
Attila Bujdosó
Ákos Kökéndy
László Kutor
0900 - 1000

Doing Business in the Age of Uncertainty

- in co-operation with PricewaterhouseCoopers -

Talks and discussion from different perspectives how we can manage our businesses and lives in the rapidly changing local and global economies, environment, technology, cultural and political environment. How to grow, how to survive and how to feel good?

Please note that seats are limited to the workshop and are available on a first comes first served basis.

Moderated by Robert Bencze, PwC

Stuart Schulzke - Fora.tv
Tyson Andrus - Kickstart Seedfund
Csaba Horváth - Budapest Taxi

This workshop will be held in English without simultaneous translation.

1045 - 1245

Session 1: Living Together

In an interconnected world, on an ever smaller planet, on both a micro and a macro scale, we share our destiny. We have to live, survive, succeed and solve our challenges together. This session is about differences and diversity, cooperation and compassion, shared challenges and surprising perspectives.

Taghi Amirani – filmmaker: 10,000 Questions, One Certainty
Taghi Amirani is an Iranian physicist turned award-winning documentary filmmaker. He studied Physics at Nottingham University, but when the time for his final year project arrived, instead of doing something in the lab, he produced a documentary film, Shades of Black, about an imaginary journey into a black hole. In 1989 he made his debut as a producer director and has since become an acclaimed artist. He is the Director of Amirani Media, a London-based film and television production company with over 60 hours of programs produced for the world’s leading broadcast networks, including BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic or Aljazeera. He has made 40 documentaries, two fiction shorts and a handful of commercials. In 2006 he ran the New York Marathon and raised $10,000 for the homelessness charity shelter. In 2009 he was awarded a TED Fellowship followed by a TED Senior Fellowship in 2010. He later joined the Strategic Advisory Board of B612 Foundation in 2012. In February 2013 TED named Taghi Amirani the first recipient of the TED Fellows Hero Award.
Salvatore Iaconesi – systemic artist, hacker: The Human Ecosystem Project
Salvatore Iaconesi is an interaction designer, robotics engineer, artist, hacker. He has been a TED Fellow since 2012 and Eisenhower Fellow since 2013. Among other acclaimed institutions he teaches Near Future Design at the Faculty of Architecture of the “La Sapienza” University of Rome and ISIA Design Florence. His work is of widest range from videogames, artificial intelligences, interactive architectures to augmented reality systems. The experiences enabled by his works and applications are all dedicated to providing products, services and practices to human beings all over the world, enabled by technologies, networks and new metaphors of interactions, across cultures and languages.
Orsolya Nemes – everyday explorer: Generation Why
Orsolya Nemes, everyday explorer, presentation designer and trainer. Her story is a characteristically ‘generation Y’ one: she studied in Germany, Budapest and Finland. After graduation she got a job at one of Hungary's leading consulting firms. She first enthusiastically engaged with the world of multinational companies, only to quickly become disillusioned, and finally break free and find her own path. She channelled her frustration into exploring the topic of generation Y and generational gaps. Her research and insights produced something akin to a “global bestseller” on Slideshare in 2012, and also led her to the belief that we need not only to deal with tensions arising from these new generational gaps, but also to try and build on them. And it starts with better understanding…
Anna Baróthy – hybrid designer: Rising with the Tide
Anna Baróthy, founder of S39 (Szövetség'39), a Hybrid Design Manufacture where she works as the leader of the atelier. She studied Design and Sculpting in Pécs and Budapest. She graduated at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in 2002 and finished her DLA (Doctor of Liberal Arts) program at University of Pécs in 2009. S39 and the related group of artists are specialized in creating large-scale complex artistic designs: art performances and installations in public spaces, and artistic design in various architectural environments. Their work is focused on creating multisensory (sound, light, movement) experiences aiming to involve the audience as part of the experience. In 2013, in acknowledgement of their collaborative research project with Gergely Balázs, they were granted the “Architecture and Sea Level Rise” award at the International Architecture Competition of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation.
Gergely Balázs – zoologist, cave speleologist and diving instructor: Rising with the Tide
Boggie – singer
Boggie (Boglárka Csemer) singer has been addicted to music and singing ever since she was a little girl. As a child she studied classical singing, jazz and piano, and performed at various folk music competitions receiving numerous awards. In 2006 she spent a both professionally and personally inspiring year in Paris. French culture influenced her music greatly. Since 2010 she has performed in Hungary including the Budapest Jazz Club or Sziget Festival. In January 2014 her new music video Nouveau Parfum ('New Perfume') went surprisingly viral on the internet with several million views. 
Pál Honti – mathematician, techno futurist: The Emerging Technology Landscape
Pál Honti has led a rather colorful life: he is a mathematician, programmer, financial expert, serial entrepreneur, game designer, education researcher, consultant. But being a techno adventurer and techno futurist is the best job he can imagine: he is being paid to spend his time with those who are developing the potentially revolutionary technologies of our future. And this matters to all of us, not only tech geeks. We are now living in a world where technology inspired and technology induced exponential change impacts all aspects of our lives.
Scott Summit – design innovator: Rethink How You Think About Your Body
Scott Summit seeks to connect complex human needs with design and technology solutions. To this end, he founded Bespoke Innovations in 2010, based on 20 years of experience and research in design and additive fabrication (an example of which may be individualized or personalized artificial limbs). Bespoke was based on the simple idea that an integrated approach connecting design, medicine and new technology stands to offer more meaningful and individualized solutions to address a wide variety of human needs. Bespoke was acquired by 3D Systems in May of 2012, and Summit now leads the company’s industrial design efforts.
Gábor Forgács – theoretical physicist, bioengineer: Are you ready for printed organs and no-kill animal products?
Dr. Gábor Forgács is a theoretical physicist turned bioengineer turned innovator and entrepreneur. He is the George H. Vineyard Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the Executive and Scientific Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University and scientific founder of Organovo, Inc. and Modern Meadow, Inc. He was trained as a theoretical physicist at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary and at the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, Moscow, USSR. He also has a degree in biology. His research interests span from topics in theoretical physics to physical mechanisms in early embryonic development. These mechanisms are being applied to construct living structures of prescribed shape and functionality using bioprinting, and a novel tissue engineering technology he pioneered. He has been recognized by numerous awards and citations. In particular, he was named as one of the “100 most innovative people in business in 2010” by FastCompany.
1245 - 1400

Lunch break

1400 - 1600

Session 2: Progress Enigma

In a multipolar and fast changing world, where one-size-fits-all solutions and ideologies seem increasingly obsolete, how do we define progress? And how do we find meaning? Where are we heading and what does it mean? What’s shaping our new world and how do we make sense of that? This session is about game changers and the big picture, alternatives to the status quo and moral dilemmas, limitations of reality and visionary success strategies.

József Baranyi – biomathematician: Bacterial Economics
József Baranyi is a biomathematician, who has been working in the United Kingdom since 1990. He is the Head of the Computational Microbiology Research Group of the Institute of Food Research, which is a member of the Norwich Bioscience Institutes. His interest includes the mathematical modelling of survival, adaptation and growth of microbes under dynamic and stressful environments. Recently he started to focus on the laws of microbial complexity. His results are used by food authorities, small and multinational companies, for food safety predictions and risk assessment, via such internationally acclaimed software packages as ComBase, the first version of which was also developed by him. He is the author or co-author of some 100 research papers, with a total citation exceeding 3000. The Baranyi model of bacterial growth named after him is one of the most widely quoted models in predictive microbiology. He "stumbled upon" microbiology during his time in Sweden where he was a Visiting Scientist at the end of the 80’s. He has been experimenting how to describe the complexity and beauty of life mathematically since his teenage years. Both in his personal and professional life, his main motivation is “the joy of understanding”.
Miklós Antal – ecological economist: Plan B – Is there an alternative to economic growth?
Miklós Antal, ecological economist, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He now studies macroeconomic aspects of sustainability transitions. Previously he was engaged in energy modeling at the Central European University in Budapest. He got his PhD in economics and MSc in engineering-physics at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. His multidisciplinary research interests are reflected by a number of publications in respected scientific journals, both in natural and social sciences. His commitment to sustainability is not restricted to academic life, he is the scientist who also ”walks the talk”: his cell phone was hip ten years ago, he avoids flying (which can be a challenging principle to follow at times) and actively encourages his environment to explore the joys of green living.
György Nógrádi – geopolitics and security policy expert: New World, New Power
György Nógrádi geopolitics and security policy expert, graduated as an economist at Corvinus University Budapest and still considers himself primarily as one although his opinion is considered and acknowledged in geopolitical and security policy questions, he has appeared in several hundred radio and TV programs and and has almost as much publications and author of several books. He is teaching since 1975 and is currently the professor of Corvinus University. He is a big traveler not only because of his profession but it is also a beloved leisure activity for him.
Bobby Sager – business leader, philanthropist: Be Selfish, Go Help Someone
Bobby Sager is tough-minded businessman who made a fortune by seeing opportunity where others haven't, Bobby was a driving force behind the spectacular growth of Gordon Brothers Group. Bobby joined Gordon Brothers in 1986 when it was a small Boston-based jewelry business. Today, Gordon Brothers is a preeminent global financial services business conducting over $10 billion of transactions annually, with 10 offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Bobby currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Polaroid, which is one of Gordon Brothers' investments. Making a Difference as a Family In 2000, Bobby and his wife and kids founded the Sager Family Traveling Foundation & Roadshow. Helping People to Help Themselves With Bobby, there's no handouts, no charity. His philanthropy uses business principles and business accountability, whether it's fostering entrepreneurship in Rwanda and Palestine, training teachers in Pakistan or a leadership program for Tibetan monks.
Márk Süveg Saiid – slam poet
Márk Saiid Süveg, is a slam poet and a member of Akkezdet Phiai, an underground rap-group fusing contemporary poetry with hip-hop music to such acclaim that their work has became part of high school curriculum. He is an emblematic figure of the Hungarian slam poetry scene, having received recognition for his art internationally as well. He is several-times champion at slam competitions where performers read or recite original work or improvise for a highly engaged audience.
Krisztián Nyáry – writer, literary historian: Poetry Is Dead, But Doing Just Fine
Krisztián Nyáry - writer, literary historian - has taught history of poetry at the University of Pécs for a few years but left teaching in the 90’s and has been working as a communication advisor ever since. He has directed a market leading PR-agency, has been the communication advisor of thousand employee state organization, head of market research company, but currently he is managing director of his own advisory company. In 2012 he started posting little etudes of Hungarian artists’ and writers’ love lives on Facebook for his friends, now more than 34 thousand followers look forward to these posts every day. From these was the book „Így szerettek ők” (This is how they loved) born which became one of the hits of 2013 and won several book awards. The sequel of the book „Így szerettek ők 2” (This is how they loved 2) is among the firsts on every book selling list in 2014.
Marge – singer
Marge is a singer-songwriter-composer. She made her debut in December 2010 with her album 'And' that is available for free download. Her song 'My Way' became one of the most frequently played hits on Music Television and Music Channel 1. Her interpretation of Liszt's 'Rhapsody' was used for a Liszt installation displayed at the Ealing Autumn Festival in London. 'Stronger', released as singles in the autumn of 2013, was one of the most exciting musical exoticism on the Hungarian and international pop music market. Marge creates the spectacular visual world of her unique stage shows in collaboration with Zsolt Korai, staff member at media lab 'Kitchen Budapest' and designer of visual images for contemporary dance groups and theatre. One of the songs from her new singles will debut within the framework of her show that is to be staged at TEDxDanubia. The show features the live act of Áron Farkas, the dance performance of two-time European champion Alexandra Likovits, as well as the unique interactive visual world of Zsolt Korai.
Laurie Garrett – writer, policy maker: Directing Evolution
Laurie Garrett is the only writer to have won the “Three Ps” of journalism: the Pulitzer, Peabody, and Polk Awards. She is the author of three books and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. She took undergraduate and graduate studies in biology and immunology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Berkeley, and Stanford University, after which Garrett had a distinguished career in journalism working for National Public Radio, Newsday, and a long list of magazines and broadcasters, reporting from nearly every continent, covering epidemics, wars, space launches, and the frontiers of science. In 2004, she became Senior Fellow for Global Health at the nonpartisan think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.
1600 - 1700

Conversation break

1700 - 1900

Session 3: Changing the Game

We live in a whirlwind of changes. And when things move fast around us, we need to act and react faster too. But when we move fast, even small changes can result in large impact and far reaching consequences: from our personal lives to large scale global challenges. The world we have inherited from the 20th century is under pressure in a multitude of ways. We need to respond. But how? And what really makes a difference? This session is about stakes and opportunities, decision points and long term perspectives, the power of making choices and the need to act.

Annamária Kádár– psychologist: Fairy Tale Heroes in the 21st Century
Annamária Kádár is a psychologist, currently working as a teacher at Babes-Bolyai University, training teachers at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of Târgu Mures. She is a regular visiting academic scholar and co-editor of a weekly programme at Radio Transylvania FM and a live show entitled Psychotrills on TV Transylvania. Her work is also her hobby, training profession being her great love, and it's where she feels most at home. She regularly holds team-building courses and workshops for the development of communication and management skills, as well as emotional intelligence. Her book entitled 'Psychology of Fairytales' (Mesepszichológia) is the outcome of her decade-long research based on emotional intelligence and fairy tales. In 2012 the book on psychology and child-raising became the best-selling publication in Hungary and won the Libri Golden Book Award in the category of science, non-fiction. Annamária Kádár believes and claims that leaving the comfort zone is the real driving force behind development, the most important personal value is credibility, playfulness and tales are the deepest well of resources, and that real output can only be achieved by teamwork. This is where she offers her help to people she comes in contact with through her work.
Nikhil Goyal – writer, education researcher: Do We Still Need Schools?
At age 18, Nikhil Goyal is an activist and author of the forthcoming book Skipping Class. He is currently working on the City as the School Experiment and a Student Bill of Rights. He has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC and FOX and has written for the New York Times, MSNBC, NPR, and Forbes. An international speaker, Goyal has spoken at Google, The Atlantic, Fast Company, NBC, MIT, Stanford University, Barnard College, SXSW, and others. He lives in New York.
Péter Pozsár – architect: Build to Change
Péter Pozsár, architect, graduated with honors at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest in 2005. Now teaching at the same institution, he seeks to integrate a larger, more complex social perspective into architectural education. Besides teaching, he leads a Research Lab on Social Architecture, co-founded Reflekt Studio, a non-profit organization, whose aim is to highlight the coherence between social development and architectural intervention by directly involving local people in order to transform social spaces for the benefit of the community. He is also one of the founders of Hello Wood a socially conscious architectural camp which has grown into a diverse international community of designers over the past four years.
István Kenyeres – biotechnologist, creative ecologist: Rethinking Cities and the Budapest Zoo
István Kenyeres, a chemical engineer and biotechnologist by profession, started his carreer as a Researcher at the Budapest Technical University, focusing on bioreactor and artificial ecosystems design and bio-refinery processes. After 15 years he left academia, founded and led several successful companies, including Organica Water Inc. which – having introduced an entirely new paradigm to the industry based on his inventions – has become a global player at the cutting edge of the water treatment market. In 2012 Istvan left Organica to start the Biopolus Institute, a non-profit private R&D organization to facilitate closing the water, food, waste and energy loops, combining urban water reuse with distributed biological manufacturing in densely populated urban environments. He holds the Silver Merit Cross of the President of the Republic of Hungary for his contribution to modern environmental industry in Hungary.
Freelusion – 3D-Dance Art Group
Freelusion, dance group specialized in creating noval experiences by combining 3D video-mapping with contemporary dance in their shows.

Andrew Hessel – genomic futurist: Synthetic Virology
Andrew Hessel is a Distinguished Researcher with Autodesk’s Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group, which is developing advanced software tools for designing living and nanoscale systems. Trained in microbiology and genetics, his work explores the real and imagined technological, societal, and economic landscapes created by advances in life science. He was co-chair of the biotechnology and bioinformatics program at Singularity University and has written articles on genetics for The Atlantic, Wired UK, and Huffington Post. His current work is exploring how to rapidly design and build cancer-fighting viruses.
Emily Levine – comedian, philosopher, oracle: What Does It All Mean?
Emily Levine is a philosopher, comedian and oracle who lectures on science and the human condition. She is currently in post-production on "Emily @ the Edge of Chaos", a film that asks, "What's wrong with the world?" "What can one brainiac comedian do to help?" And "If a film with Al Gore explaining science made $24 million, how much more money could a film that explains science with jokes make?” Emily has also begun work on a book entitled "Why I Hate Ayn Rand and Love the Higgs Boson".
Sena Dagadu – singer
Sena Dagadu is a conspicuously unique and lively character of the Hungarian music scene who, after almost ten years of working on various projects and being the lead singer for Irie Maffia (a band mixing elements of reggae, hip-hop, funk, rock and dancehall, considered one of the best concert bands in Hungary), has taken a new step in her adventurous musical soul-searching with her solo career

Drinks, Conversation