TEDxWakeForestU 2016



From cyber security to human trafficking to food safety to Sandy Hook, Wake Forest’s 5th annual TEDxWakeForestU speakers addressed various safety and security issues on Feb. 20. See TEDxWakeForestU and this link for speakers since 2012 and the bios of this year’s speakers. The Winston-Salem Journal reported on the event this month and its story is reprinted below.

Wake Forest hosts hundreds at TEDx talk

Security. Usually when people think of that word, they think of the physical sense of safety.

Students at Wake Forest University wanted to explore a broader concept of security, one that takes into account such issues as informational data, quality education and the existence of modern slavery.

For the fifth year, Wake Forest hosted its TEDxWakeForestU event Saturday in Wait Chapel. More than 1,300 people filled the chapel to hear eight speakers discuss security.


Mark Hurd, CEO of Oracle Corp., talked about data, how it’s threatened and how it’s secured.

Oracle is an information technology company that works with businesses to secure personal and professional data.

Hurd estimated that there are 17.6 zettabytes (1 billion terabytes) of digital information stored worldwide, and by 2020 that number could double. It’s generated by governments and companies, individuals, the private sector, and increasingly, machine-to-machine communication, Hurd said.

“Most of this is good,” he said. “It can save lives and create better service. But there is a dark side.”

Cybercrime, Hurd said, costs $450 billion every two years. The Pentagon is attacked 10 million times a day, he said.

Hurd’s advice to students: Read before you click and think before you post.

“The Internet forgets nothing,” he said. “No one is looking out for you. You decide what you want to put in the public domain.”

The second speaker, Katrena Perou, is the chief program officer at Urban Arts Partnership, a nonprofit that works to advance the intellectual, social and artistic development of underprivileged public school students.

Perou highlighted Samuel Gompers High School in South Bronx, N.Y., that had a graduation rate of 29.6 percent.

Perou said that juvenile crimes mostly happen between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., after school and before parents get home from work.

She became familiar with the high school students by listening to a CD of songs written by them and produced at the school.

One song called “State of Emergency,” written by a 16-year-old boy, made Perou pull her car over and write out the lyrics.

The song expressed what many students at the school were feeling — their voices weren’t heard, they weren’t trusted, and it was only a matter of time before they ended up dead or in prison, Perou said.

She used the song to draw the leaders of the school to the forefront and, by example, join arts programs that would help keep students out of trouble and further their education.

The third speaker, Bradley Myles, is the CEO of the Polaris Project, which fights to eradicate modern-day slavery.

Modern-day slavery, Myles said, shows up as labor trafficking and sex trafficking. The draw is the high profit, low risk model.

“Traffickers will tell you that they wanted to make a lot of money and they didn’t think they’d get caught,” he said. “What we want to do is reverse that model and make it low profit and high risk.”

The way that Myles and the Polaris Project is doing that is by implementing a national hotline for trafficking victims, collecting and analyzing data to track trafficking networks and working with partners to identify and stop traffickers.

There are 21 million victims of human trafficking, and less than 1 percent are being found because of their sense of helplessness, Myles said.

“We are the modern-day Underground Railroad,” he said of the Polaris Project.

Other speakers at the event included Maureen Berner, a professor of public administration and government at UNC-Chapel Hill; Carl Krebs a partner at Davis Brody Bond architectural firm that designed the 9/11 memorial and museum; Errin Fulp, WFU professor of computer science who researches security within computer networks; Ignacio Packer, secretary general of the Terres Des Hommes International Federation that works to promote the rights of children; and Nicole Hockley, the founder of the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit that works to end gun-related deaths in America.

TED is a nonprofit organization started as a conference in California about technology, entertainment and design. In its 32 years, it has broadened its scope to include other “ideas worth spreading” with speakers who talk about their lives in 18 minutes.

TEDx offers individuals or groups a way of hosting local, self-organized events.


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