Five speakers I'd love to see at Brain Bar... and never will

Every year, we do our very best to bring you some of the greatest minds on Earth for Brain Bar. When it comes to speaker outreach, my team knows no impossible... unless it takes a resurrection.

Here's my shortist of those people I'd invite immediately, but I can't because they're dead.

1. Michael Crichton on the Future of Man and Machine

In many ways, Michael Crichton was the essence of Brain Bar long before we've started. The problem with transhumanism (Terminal Man, 1972). Chaos theory, dangers of increasing complexity in human controlled systems, perils of playing God in innovation (Jurassic Park, 1990). The hidden conventionality of sexual harassment in business (Disclosure, 1994). Nanotechnology and the privatization of warfare (Prey, 2002). Environmentalism as a religion (State of Fear, 2004). While exploring some of the hottest ethical crossroads from the close future of mankind, he virtuously mingled science with entertainment, childhood fantasy with skeptical politics.

Between the parallel infantilism of Silicon Valley's technooptimistic utopia and its fatalist Luddite opposition, Crichton's cognitive versatility would be an exceptional asset to find a middle ground.

2. Saint Augustine on the Future of Western Civilization

I believe there's a good reason why "user friendly" spiritual practices like Mindfulness are becoming so fashionable recently in the West. People living in comfort (and boredom) are eagerly looking for methods to synchronize their genuine needs of an ever-advancing intellectual performance and finding a sound metaphysical meaning. Good news: it’s possible and we’ve actually had the ultimate coach to learn from — born in present-day Algeria a mere 1600 years ago.

In times of an acute Western identity crisis, imagine a holistic Saint Augustine keynote on how we - right at our seemingly insignificant individual life can advance our collective chances as a Civilization -- by actively rediscovering our ancient philosophical roots from Plato to Christianity.

3. Marie Curie on the Future of Women in Leadership

An East European woman in science? Boy, if you can call anyone's background cumulatively disadvantegous... Curie's personal journey would be extremely tough today not that 100 years ago. What I'd love to celebrate about her at Brain Bar is not those revolutionary Nobels but her endless persistence decades before quotas, also her pretty timely experiment how a self-conscious role in leadership is not necessairly contradictory with the pursue of an empowering family life.

4. Ármin Vámbéry on the Future of Multiculturalism

Scholar. Spy. Adventurer. Indiana Jones on steroids. Born to the Jewish Hungarian underclass, spoke fluent Latin, French, German, English, Swedish and Russian by the age of sixteen, became one of the most prominent European experts of the Central Asian, Ottoman and Persian spheres of influence way before his 30th birthday, advising the British imperial intelligence.

These days, countries like Iran and Turkey are on the rise again. Mass migration from places like Africa and Afghanistan to Western Europe is a long-term megatrend. Political Islam applies for a new role in a secular Europe. Yes, I think we would definitely need a big-budget movie on Vámbéry's incredible life -- and even more, his live insights on the Brain Bar main stage.

5. Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes on the Future of Hip Hop

The creative genius behind America's best-selling girl group TLC, a collective that did an unforgettable job to popularize hip hop without leaving its roots behind. Coming from an education in gospel music, Left Eye was the wild card for their astonishing success -- a vocalist who co-written most of their hits, created the concepts and group style, their messages and legendary videos.

20 years later, hip hop is a multibilion dollar industry with an indisputable impact on hundreds of millions of young people, in an age when racial tensions are inexorably back in town. How about the genre's social responsibility?

She was a genuine influencer, a loving mother and a noted philantropist -- I'd love to hear her voice.

(On the cover: author, screenwriter, film director and producer Michael Crichton)

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