Innovation Destination: Hartford had the pleasure of attending the latest Connecticut Forum event: The Next Big Thing on Saturday, October 3 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts.
Panelists Joi Ito and Fareed Zakaria discussed “cutting-edge technology and innovations that will change our lives.” The evening commenced with an Innovation Showcase in the Bushnell lobby with hands-on technology and interactive displays.
Students from the CT YOUTH Forum had an opportunity to talk with the panelists before the Forum began. After intermission, a welcome back speech was delivered by Simsbury High School Senior Graham Clarkson, a member of the CT YOUTH Forum.
“Few realize that Connecticut is a significant high-tech center known for innovation, especially in aerospace and biomedical research,” said Jill Fletcher, Director of Corporate Advancement at the Connecticut Forum. “It makes a lot of sense to have innovation luminaries such as Joi Ito and Fareed Zakaria help us ‘look around the corner’ at what future technology has waiting for us.”
The thought-provoking conversation was moderated by writer and cultural critic Virginia Heffernan. Her topic of choice is the Internet, which she sees as not just a new technology, but a “cultural object.” Hefferman’s forthcoming book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art, will be published in March 2016.
AN ENTREPRENEURIAL OUTLOOK
Ito, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and activist, is the Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. He was an early-stage investor in Internet companies including Flickr, Kickstarter, Twitter and Wikia.
Ito engaged the audience with his discussion about the U.S. education system, bitcoin and immortality and focused on the importance of “the four Ps”—projects, peers, passion and play.
"You don't get a Nobel prize for doing what you’re told. You get a Nobel prize for questioning authority,” he emphasized.
THE DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE
Journalist and author Zakaria hosts CNN’s flagship international affairs program, Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is a columnist at the Washington Post, contributing editor at The Atlantic and author of The Post-American World. Zakaria discussed gun control, the diffusion of knowledge and thinking outside of the box.
“Innovation is a very complicated phenomenon,” According to Zakaria, who also advised the audience to “ask yourself: What quality is absolutely essential to becoming an entrepreneur?”
WHAT’S THE NEXT BIG THING?
With regard to the next big thing, the panelists also discussed artificial intelligence, biology, drones, self-driving cars and the importance of globalization and technology.
For more information about upcoming events at The Connecticut Forum, visit www.ctforum.org.