xponential Change



Commonly, exponential growth means explosive growth, it means that things increase in an uncontrolled way. This intuitive understanding comes from examples we know from biology: Bacteria exhibit exponential growth under optimal conditions. As a consequence the term „exponential“ often has a disquieting connotation.

When it comes to the significance of exponential growth for human activities we need to talk about accelerating technological change. In the technological arena accelerating change means an increase in technological (and often also social and cultural) progress throughout history, which may suggest a faster and more profound change in the future. 10.000 years of progress - at today’s pace - will now be experienced in just 50 years due to the exponential rate of change.

Futurists like Ray Kurzweil have created the notion of a technological singularity and a scenario for the future: Accelerating change will lead to artificial intelligence that exceeds human intelligence. By 2015, a $1000 computer will have the same calculation power per second as the brain of a mouse. 2023 will see it equal to the power of human brain. In 2045 it will be equate to the power of ALL human brains combined. Similar exponential developments await us in the areas of robotics, nanotechnology or synthetic biology.

We want to explore where and how exponential change happens and what it will lead to. Which future will exponential change create for us? What are the implications these advances will have on society? What is the future role of humans in this brave new world? Is there a limit for exponential growth?



  • Cory Kidd


    Cory Kidd


    Dr. Cory Kidd is the founder and CEO of Catalia Health, a healthcare technology company focused on delivering effective behavior change.  The company has developed a hardware and software platform that uses a combination of psychology and artificial intelligence to successfully engage patients through interactive conversations.  These conversations happen through mobile, web, and socially interactive robot interfaces; together these interfaces create a relationship that can reach patients at any time they need support.  The data reported back through the system gives Catalia Health’s institutional healthcare customers valuable information to understand the daily activities and needs of their patients.

    Dr. Kidd is a serial entrepreneur who has been working in healthcare technology for nearly two decades.  Catalia Health was Startup in Residence at IDEO, the leading international design firm.  His previous company, Intuitive Automata, created interactive coaches for weight loss.  Prior to this, Dr. Kidd received his M.S. and Ph.D. at the MIT Media Lab in human-robot interaction.  While there, he conducted studies that showed the advantages of using a physical robot over screen-based interactions.  He conducted an extensive study showing the efficacy of his weight loss coach in helping people to diet and did work in local nursing homes with robotic companions for elderly individuals.  He also received his B.S. in Computer Science and was subsequently a research faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  While there he was a part of the Aware Home Research Initiative, a focused research effort that was looking for ways to allow older people to live in their homes longer.

    Twitter: @coryk | Website:

  • Hyeonseo Lee


    Hyeonseo Lee


    Hyeonseo Lee is a North Korean defector living in Seoul, South Korea. She has recently completed writing her memoir, The Girl With Seven Names, which was published in July 2015 in more than 20 countries. Over 5 million people have viewed her TED Talk about her life in North Korea, her escape to China and struggle to bring her family to freedom. Hyeonseo has given testimony about North Korean human rights in front of a special panel of the UN Security Council, and has discussed the issues with important leaders such as UN Ambassador Samantha Powers. 

    She recently completed her undergraduate studies in English and Chinese at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, and has been a Young Leader at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

    Hyeonseo spends much of her time speaking about North Korean human rights and North Korean refugee issues, including speeches at the Stanford University Global Speaker Series, Princeton University, New York University Law School, and at various venues throughout Europe. She has personally met public officials like UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the former South Korean Minister of Unification, Yu Woo-ik, to discuss these issues.

    Hyeonseo has written articles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the London School of Economics Big Ideas blog, and worked as a student journalist for the South Korean Ministry of Unification. She has also been interviewed by the BBC, CNN, CBS, FOX, MSNBC, Glamour Magazine and numerous other television, newspaper and radio outlets throughout the world. She is currently writing her second book with other female North Koreans living in South Korea, and is planning to start an organization to help promising North Korean refugees interact with the international community.

    Twitter: @HyeonseoLeeNK

  • Alexia McKenzie
    Alexia McKenzie

    In Alexia’s quest to optimize life, she hacks away the daily distractions from life’s goals. As an active member of the maker and bio hacker movements, nothing is safe from being shaped from iterations toward efficiencies. Where some would stop with DIY sensors and webcams, Alexia pushes the boundaries with projects like embedding magnets in her hands, and brainwave entrainment.

    Twitter: @Plaeh | Website:

  • Ashkan Fardost
    Ashkan Fardost

    Ashkan received his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from Uppsala University. He’s been a member of the scientific community since 2009, with several peer-reviewed publications in acclaimed scientific journals.

    Before his scientific ventures, in the mid 90’s, he leveraged computers, the early internet, and the art of growth hacking, to acquire a record deal and launch an international music career as a 17-year old.

    He has always been fascinated by the exponential progress of technology and how it empowers and transforms our lives, cultures and societies.

    Today, Ashkan is a public speaker and consultant for tech startups in Stockholm. He also appears on Swedish national television as a science reporter.

    Twitter: @TouristInSpace | Website:

  • Dominic Stühler
    Dominic Stühler

    Dominic is known as Presentation Punk and the founder of Presentation Revolution (presentation- He helps people deliver their ideas so that they stick. His company currently works on the presentation campus, an eLearning platform which gives anyone full access to tools to improve their ability to deliver great talks, whenever and wherever they like.

    He is the author of “Revolutioniere – In 7 Schritten zum Presentation Punk” ( and since 2009 Guest Lecturer at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. Dominic works with his students on concepts for talks, presentation design, and delivery.

    As digital nomad and internet entrepreneur Dominic travels literally all the time and thus has no settled domicile. One consideration of freedom to him is the possibility to work everywhere with no boundaries and restrictions, this could mean working on a catamaran in Southeast Asia.

    To achieve this he lives completely paperless.

    Twitter: @pnkacademy | Website:

  • Emma Mulqueeny
    Emma Mulqueeny

    Emma founded Rewired State and Young Rewired State, is a Commissioner for the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and a Google Fellow. Currently working with Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service on their digital transformation programme and as an adjunct for Ashridge Executive Business School.

    She has been recognised with an OBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list for services to technology and education, is included in the annual edition of Who’s Who and voted:

    • onto the Wired 100 list,
    • Tech City 100,
    • BIMA Hot 100,
    • one of the UK’s top 100 most compassionate business leaders (Salt Magazine),
    • one of the top ten women in technology by The Guardian,
    • top five influential women in IT by Information Week,
    • into the top ten Tech Heroes for Good by NESTA,
    • as one of the 25 most influential women in IT by Computer Weekly and
    • one of 2014’s 50 most incredible women in STEM.

    Emma writes regularly for the British Press and on her own blog, speaks on radio and on television, is best known for her campaign: ‘Year 8 is too Late’ (encouraging girls into technology subjects) and insights into the social digital generation: the 97ers.

    Twitter: @hubmum | Website:

  • Daniel McDuff
    Daniel McDuff

    Daniel McDuff is building and utilizing scalable computer vision and machine learning tools to enable the automated recognition and analysis of emotions and physiology. He is currently principal research scientist Affectiva and a post-doctoral research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab.  At Affectiva Daniel is building state-of-the-art facial expression recognition software and leading analysis of the world's largest database of human emotions (currently with 8B+ data points). Daniel completed his PhD in the Affective Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab in 2014 and has a B.A. and Masters from Cambridge University. His work has received nominations and awards from Popular Science magazine as one of the top inventions in 2011, South-by-South-West Interactive (SXSWi), The Webby Awards, ESOMAR, the Center for Integrated Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT) and several IEEE conferences. His work has been reported in many publications including The Times, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, New Scientist and Forbes magazine. Daniel has been named a 2015 WIRED Innovation Fellow.

    Twitter: @danmcduff | LinkedIn:

  • Andrew Keen
    Andrew Keen

    Andrew Keen is one of the world's best known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. He is the author of four books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, international hit The Internet Is Not The Answer, and his latest book How To Fix The Future. Published in February 2018, How to Fix the Future has been called "[a] bracing book" by Walter Isaacson and "the most significant work so far in an emerging body of literature…in which technology's smartest thinkers are raising alarm bells about the state of the Internet, and laying groundwork for how to fix it" by Fortune Magazine. The book also received a starred review by Kirkus Reviews.

    Andrew is executive director of the Silicon Valley innovation salon FutureCast and an acclaimed public speaker around the world. He is the host of "Keen On" show, a popular TechCrunch chat show, and was named one of the "100 Most Connected Men" in 2015 by GQ magazine.

    Twitter: @ajkeen | Website:

  • Raymond McCauley
    Raymond McCauley

    Raymond McCauley is a scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur working at the forefront of biotechnology. Raymond explores how applying technology to life -- biology, genetics, medicine, agriculture -- is affecting every one of us. He uses storytelling and down-to-earth examples to show how quickly these changes are happening, right now, and where it may head tomorrow. His work and profile have been featured in Wired, Forbes, Time, CNBC, Science, and Nature.

    Twitter: @raymondmccauley | Website:

  • Toby Walsh
    Toby Walsh

    Toby Walsh is one of the leading researchers in the world in Artificial Intelligence. He is currently working in Berlin thanks to a Humboldt Research award. He is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales back in Sydney, Australia, and a Research Group leader at NICTA, Australia's Centre of Excellence for ICT Research. He has been elected a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of AI for his contributions to AI research.  He has also held research positions in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Ireland and Sweden.

    Earlier this year, he was one of the initial signatories of an Open Letter calling for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons. Nearly 3000 AI and Robotics researchers, many of them leaders in the field, have since signed this letter. The letter was also signed by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak. In total, the letter now has close to 20,000 signatures and has pushed this issue into the world's spotlight. The letter argues that we need to take action today to prevent an arms race in which these lethal autonomous weapons fall into the hands of terrorists and rogue nations.


    Twitter: @TobyWalsh

  • Jan Schwochow
    Jan Schwochow

    Jan Schwochow is Managing Director of the agency Golden Section Graphics, which he founded in 2007. The graphic design agency specialises in the creation of infographics and illustrations. Previously, Jan was responsible for the infographics of the magazines Stern and Max. He also spent two years working at the CP Agency KircherBurkhardt, where he established a unit for infographics and ran it. Jan Schwochow studied communication design at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg.

  • Karsten Becker
    Karsten Becker

    The 33 years old engineer Karsten Becker joined Part-Time Scientists Germany in 2009. Today he leads the electronic team.

    In 2007 the Google Lunar XPrize invited scientists from around the world to compete in this unique $30 Million challenge to land a privately-funded rover on the moons surface, drive 500 meters and send back pictures to earth.Today, the PT Scientists from Germany are 1 of 5 teams favoured to land a rover on the moon until 2017.

    Karsten will share fascinating insights in his work and passion for the goals and challenges of "Mission Moon".

    Twitter: @karbec | Website:


  • DjangoDeluxe
  • Berliner Kneipenchor


9am -10am Registration
10am - 12:15pm Session 1
Cory Kidd How socially interactive robots are helping us live longer, healthier, happier lives
Daniel McDuff Emotion Aware Technology - Improving Well-being and Beyond
Alexia McKenzie Living the DIY Life
Karsten Becker Space Exploration for Everyone
Dominic Stuehler How living paperless could change your life
Ashkan Fardost A Cure for No Cures - The Next Generation of Medicine
Django Deluxe Performance
12:15pm - 1pm Lunch Break
1pm - 3:30pm Session 2
Andrew Keen Exponential Fuck-Up
Emma Mulqueeny Does the digital Revolution threaten Digital Democracy?
Hyeonseo Lee Awakening North Korea's Valley of the Clueless
Jan Schwochow Visuelles Verstehen im digitalen Zeitalter
Toby Walsh How can you stop killer robots
Raymond McCauley Coming of Age in the Biotech Century
Berliner Kneipenchor Performance
3:30pm End




Partners of TEDxBerlin are companies that believe in "ideas worth spreading" and that are innovating examples for their industry as well as for society. If you want a chance to connect to a world wide network of thinkers and do-ers, a chance to show that you care, that your company supports the biggest and boldest ideas in Germany, please contact Sam ( and partner up with us for upcoming TEDxBerlin events.

Go back