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TEDx Louvain-la-Neuve

© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve
© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve

For the first time a TEDx event was hosted in Louvain-la-Neuve last 23 march 2013. It was the 4th anniversary of TEDx and plenty of conferences were organized around the world at this occasion. Like all TED conferences, the spirit of this conference was based on the motto “ideas worth spreading”. Sixteen speakers were invited to give twenty minutes talks on various subjects going from artistic cooking, to collective awareness over politics and bad managements practices in companies. The day was divided in four parts of four talks and between the parts we had the opportunity to discuss with the speakers and the audience on an informal way.

In the interesting talks Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Ph.D. MIT, presented his study on the evolution of privacy with social media and mobile data. It was very interesting to have a comparison between the identification techniques still used by some governments as fingerprints with the ability for mobile data to identify you even more quickly.

© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve

With fingerprints you need 12 similar points to be able to deduce the identity of a person. During his research he analyzed data on 1.5 million cellphone users over a span of 15 months and found that just four points of reference with fairly low spatial and temporal resolution was enough to uniquely identify 95 percent of them. In other words, to extract the complete location information for a single person from an “anonymized” data set of more than a million people, all you would need to do is place him within a couple of hundred yards of a cellphone transmitter, sometimes over the course of an hour, four times in one year. A few Twitter posts would probably provide all the information you needed if they contained specific information about the person’s whereabouts.

© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve Twitter: @Freek_Vermeulen
© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve
Twitter: @Freek_Vermeulen

We also had an interesting talk from Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, about bad management practices in companies. He pointed out how it’s hard to get rid of bad practices for decades or longer. Three reasons explain the lack of vision about those practices: collective inertia, management myopy and self-fulfilling beliefs. We have to be careful of those bad practices that may be used for good reasons in the beginning but may not be optimal at some point.
He cited some good examples:

  • Collective inertia: Why are newspapers so big?
  • Management myopy: What are the risks on ranking hospitals on their performances?
  • Self fulfilling beliefs: Is a film successful because of its actors and filmmaker?

The day concludes with an inspiring talk from Thomas d’Ansembourg, therapist, human relations consultant and certified trainer in Non Violent Communication. Self knowledge and personal development are not just personal issues. We won’t by miracle learn how to globally respect Nature outside without learning how to individually respect our personal nature inside. We can not create new ways and attitudes without learning how to drop old ways of thinking and without opening our minds to think in a new way. Today, in front of the challenges our civilization is facing, our deep personal and spiritual development is key to social and sustainable development.

© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve Twitter: @Th_dAnsembourg
© TEDxLouvainLaNeuve
Twitter: @Th_dAnsembourg

TEDx Louvain-la-Neuve was the first time of TEDx in our little student city of Louvain-la-Neuve but it will most likely not be the last time. The organizers told us they wanted to make it an annual event. So for the future we may also be present as EURA NOVA at this event and present some interesting stuff. TEDx is in fact comparable to our Technical Talks (once a month, an EURA NOVA’s member presents a topic he finds interesting and intriguing to our team) in a bit bigger and a bit more subject wide.

More info on

Grégoire de Hemptinne


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