Speaking in front of a large audience requires a lot of courage. In particular when your talk is also broadcasted via a livestream to the whole wide world. Matthias, Data Scientist at our Zurich office, has faced this challenge. He spoke about his favorite subject at a TED Talk at Lucerne University: Artificial Intelligence.
Why did you choose Artificial Intelligence as the topic for your TED talk ?
I wanted to present it from a different perspective. It is a highly discussed topic right now – everyone is talking about it. I wanted to dismantle prejudices and bring in a new point of view.
Which new point?
The media often describes Artificial Intelligence as a threat. This seems unrealistic to me in the near future. Artificial Intelligence has had some impressive achievements in recent years. Just think of autonomous cars or the board game Go. Nevertheless, this technology is currently only applicable in very well defined limits. It is finally in our hands to use this technology so that everyone can benefit from it – for example by opening this key technology to everyone.
Were you nervous before your presentation?
Yes. There were 150 people in the lecture hall and on top of that, I was being filmed. My wife was sitting in the audience, but I could not locate her. I was only able see the first row, because the spotlights were blinding me.
What was the biggest challenge for you?
One problem was that the TED-Talk had to be in English, which is not my mother tongue. The most difficult part, however, was to break down this complex topic, so that I could explain it within twelve minutes. The talks must not be longer. In addition, there were members of the audience who were already familiar with the topic and for others it was completely new information. In order to deliver a good talk, every sentence had to be concise.
How did you prepare?
The preparation was intense and time-consuming. I had to send an application video to a jury, who consisted of students and professors from Lucerne University. As soon as I got accepted as a speaker, the organizers coached me. I got tips on content, length, and form. A native speaker checked the correct pronunciation. Altogether, I did three rehearsals. Then I worked on it repeatedly until I finally went on stage.
Would you do it again?
I would definitely attend a TED-talk again- as a speaker or audience member. TED offers a great platform and interesting contacts for the discussion of fascination topics.