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Today’s the day for the speakers taking to the TEDxDayton stage! This is the 6th year for TEDxDayton, and once again the historic Victoria Theatre is sold out. Best of luck to everyone stepping out today to deliver their “idea worth sharing,” including John-Michael and Mark, the two speakers I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring through the five month process.

Two years ago, I was where they are this morning. Here’s what it looked like:


RoboCop on Wheels
The multi-pronged push for autonomous driving continues apace through the efforts of Tesla, Google’s Waymo, and even the likes of Mercedes Benz. When a company like Uber rolls out a fleet of self-driving cars to test, you know the lives of Uber drivers are going to be impacted as much as riders.

What happens, though, when autonomous cars get sworn in to “serve and protect”? Motorola has an idea, and a patent application to protect it.

2The Trouble of Designing for Disruption
Disrupting an industry is all fun and games until somebody (or thousands of somebodies) gets hurt. According to Khoi Vinh, principal designer at Adobe, the job of designers requires more than just designing. Using the upsides and downsides of the design-fueled disruption inflicted on the transportation industry by Uber and Lyft, Vinh believes product designers have a responsibility to the rest of us to look beyond the requirements of their work to the impact of their work.

3Sometimes “Disruption” Is Just an Excuse

It is easy to look at a brick-and-mortar retail chain filing bankruptcy and blame the online industry newcomer as the cause. Netflix killed Blockbuster. We were told Amazon killed Toys-R-Us, This time it’s Mattress Firm, and the easy answer villian is online mattress startup Casper (along with others).

These narratives can be deceptively easy to accept. Unfortunately, they can also hide a more fundamental cause to the woes that actual lead a company to the bankruptcy courthouse. With the case of Mattress Firm, this story is littered with clues that its leaders are the cause of its demise. See if you can spot them.

4“We Just Got Banksy’ed”
Some people — like the leaders of Mattress Firm — aim to create value but end up destroying it instead. Others, like anonymous British street artist Banksy, aim to use the tools of destruction to create value instead. Usually, Banksy uses graffiti art to make his point. This time, it was a shredder he hid in the frame of his famous “Girl with Balloon” painting … which activated and shredded the piece as soon as the gavel banged down closing the auction sale of the work for $1.4 million.

In his Instagram post explaining how and why he did it, Banksy quoted Picasso: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

5When AI Starts Creating Fake News Video

We are still up in arms over the proliferation of “fake news” across social media during the 2016 election … and essentially every day since. Right now, we struggle with knowing when a news story is accurate or not (which doesn’t necessarily make it “fake”). Through the magic of photoshop, pictures are no longer a default trustworthy medium. For example, with another major hurricane smashing a large section of America’s coastline, these realistically frightening photos purporting to show sharks swimming in the flood waters are making the rounds on social media (again).

So, what are we going to do when audio and video can be manufactured and faked to a similar degree of realism?