Let's talk about Your Future

Brain Bar hosts the biggest European festival on the future annually in Budapest. We bring together the most exciting visions from top thinkers, businessmen, artists to politicians from all over the world. Diversity is key for inspiration: that is why we offer a wide variety of topics from business to parenting, from art to technology, from politics to food.

Brain Bar gives a spotlight to visionaries, not celebrities. We understand that intellectual surprises drive inspiration. We find the most interesting ideas from different fields and bring them together.

Our objective is to question the status quo, drive discussion and spark debate about the most important questions of our future. We invite you to talk about the latest discoveries, how technology affects humanity and ethics in the age of robots.

Let’s reboot the future of


What if we got climate policy all wrong? Swimming against the mainstream, Bjørn Lomborg challenges concerns approved by the masses while provoking the listener to improve their critical thinking around the hottest (or coldest?) topic of today. As president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School, he has been named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, so you are guaranteed to have hot debate on your hands.

Lital exemplifies the modern woman by tackling controversial topics many wouldn't even dare to touch. One of the rising stars in international broadcasting, the future Wonder Woman of the newsroom is here to share how to fight fake news, antisemitism and inequality.

Ever since he was a small boy, Franky Zapata has dreamt of being able to fly. Firmly convinced that nothing is impossible, his research gave birth to the Flyboard® Air, a hydroflighting device that flew for the first time in 2016. Vowing to continue making to create innovatory machines straight out of comic books, this time Franky will fly over the Danube. Meet the visionary, mad inventor and get inspired by his unstoppable conviction as he takes our dreams closer to the sky.

If you ever thought that science might be a bit too abstract for your taste, Hannah is here to prove you wrong. Described as one of the 'Rising Stars in Life Sciences' Hannah is a Cambridge University neuroscientist and psychiatrist demystifying the human brain. She doesn't shy away from attacking thoughts on everyone's mind as a regular broadcasting figure with TV appearances on BBC's Tomorrow's World Live, Channel 4’s The Secret Lives of 4 and 5 Year Olds and her popular books Consciousness: A Ladybird Expert Guide and The Science of Fate with Hodder in 2019.

Alexey is serial entrepreneur and a founder of multiple companies that introduce technologies and systematization into the automation of buildings, agriculture and, of course, robotics. In just for years, Promobot went from single orders for local shopping centers to bulk production of robots for customers all over the world. To date, more than 500 Promobots were manufactured by the company and are now working in 38 different countries.

After working on the marketing of Alicia Keys, Pink and Britney Spears, Nancy is on a mission to inspire more women to become leaders in their fields of business. Her unique method of Rock ’n Roll Branding to amplify the voices of women in business while she travels to share her thoughts about about women empowerment through personal branding. (Photo Credit: Photographer: Linda Stulic)

Establishments and conglomerates are slow to adapt and even slower to change. But one man did not, and will not accept this: Tom Szaky, the CEO and founder of TerraCycle. His unique company is leading the way in making consumer products from waste, while he himself advocates tirelessly towards a truly zero-waste future.

Can you be a standup comedian, a circus artist and a data scientist at the same time? Andrea said yes to all of these, while challenging the complexity and diversity aspects of data as the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the New York University Center for Data Science. With our nominee for the 'Coolest Teacher Award', it's time to literally flip what you believed to be true about data science.

At only 10, Ryan has become an international icon for recycling awareness. He is active in leading beach clean-up events in his community and speaks globally about how we can take action in saving our planet. With an impressive number of over 700,000 cans and bottles recycled, Ryan is a junior ambassador for numerous visionary organizations. Talk about being accomplished!

Having a lens into the future is the kind of foresight that many world leaders would kill for and Radha Mistry knows this better than anyone. Radha has incredible insight for forecasting how our organisations, cities and communities will change and how WE can address and impact these changes. Practice Leader for Foresight at Autodesk, former member of the Arup Foresight + Innovation team in London and San Francisco, she is an expert architect crafting speculative futures every day. Time to see how prophecies and visions can actually come true!

Spoiled children, total freedom and unreal expectations - is this all we can get from modern parenting? David Eberhard challenges preconceptions with his long clinical experience as a psychiatrist, but more impressively as a father of 6. In his international bestseller, 'How Children Took Power' he writes about the permissive upbringing that will lead to problems when kids turn into young adults. They say there are no definite rules in parenting... but is it time to reassess what we think about raising our kids?

We can't see the atoms that make us, we only see a tiny sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum, and 95% of all animal species are smaller than the human thumb. We think we see the whole picture of reality - but we don’t. Ziya Tong, former co-host of Discovery's Daily Planet and author of the international hit, 'The Reality Bubble' takes you on a journey through the hidden pathways that shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. Good old Mother Nature might have a trick or two left up her sleeve.

Is it possible that we became dangerously addicted to our almighty web? What if the internet was gone, and there was no search engine to answer your questions, no late-night pizza just a click away, and online dating was non-existent? Or would the reality actually be far more serious and scary? Tim Maughan, hotshot of modern sci-fi and author of 'Infinite Detail' imagines a tomorrow where everyone has been forced to log-off, for good.

Kinga turned down lucrative job offers to pursue a vision - and time proved her right. As the CEO of PublishDrive, an e-book publishing software her team is streamlining the publishing process, while giving a voice to independent writers and upcoming talent. Her disruptive work caught the eyes of the world too - she was listed as one of Forbes 30 under 30 for the Europe Media Category in 2017.

Benji Backer is a conservative political activist from Appleton, Wisconsin, USA and a senior at the University of Washington, serving on numerous boards and fellowships. He has been named to two national "30 Under 30" lists by RedAlert and GreenBiz, and was one of the Grist 50 as well. Through ACC, Benji is excited to be helping unite people on pro-environmental reforms and change the narrative when it comes to the environment.

Dr. Demkó Attila, or David Autere as his fans know him, is so much more than an author. During his impressive career he held various top-level positions at the Head of Department in the Defence Planning Department in the Ministry of Defence of Hungary. Senior columnist on security and defence policy issues in different Hungarian periodicals, he is also known for his thought-provoking book, “Máglyatűz” which deals with possible Russian penetration and failed Western policies in Central and Eastern Europe. How long can a region remain peaceful? Are we destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?

The World Economic Forum estimates that we are still over two centuries away from gender economic equality. Even though so many agree that gender equality is necessary and worthwhile, why does it continue to elude us? Revealing both hard truths and possible solutions, Aliya's work talks about organisations, gender, emotions and how they all relate to each other. Paying attention to our everyday behaviours, conversations, beliefs, Aliya exposes the invisible but obstinate ways that we continue to reproduce equality even as we claim to embrace it.

Where is Europe heading? Specialised in the fields of Roman Republican and Oriental Hellenistic History, the Philosophy of History and Universal as well as Comparative History, David first captured the reader's attention when he compared the crisis of the European Union to the decline of the Roman Republic back in 2013. As years went by, the front page news all around the continent happened to be eerily similar to what he forecasted in his book 'The Decline'. Are we bound to fall apart or can we learn from the mistakes of our shared past?

Once upon a time we went to the shops. Now the shops come to us. But online grocery has been the hardest egg to crack, there's no denying it, shoppers still like to see and feel what they buy in advance. So how do you take a sluggish industry like grocery retail, and drag it into the digital age? James McQuillan is the CEO of, a business which launched in January, and now finds itself spear-heading the vanguard of online grocery shopping - charming customers at every step.

How to avoid innovating yourself into organizational meltdown, business failure or military defeat? You should ask someone who has worked as a cook, a bookbinder, a decorated combat veteran, a search and rescue specialist, a wildlife crime investigator, an academic researcher and an innovation consultant. Robert C. Castel’s modus operandi is always marching toward the sound of gunfire, real or intellectual, and preferably from the wrong direction. In his 2017 book When Innovation Failed, he takes a sceptical look with our infatuation with novelty by warning us about the dark sides of innovation.

From Northern Michigan to Tatabanya Hungary - From US Embassies to Data Science @Spotify, there is not much which is off-limits for Ryan's curiosity, who's real passion is to build digital products people can't get enough of. His current focus is on leveraging data to find, model, and make cases for new growth strategies for Spotify.

Archaeologist and anthropologist, who also has a PhD in human cognition and music - not much is of the table with Sara. After working across the globe for emerging tech companies, she is now spearheading the Czech artificial intelligence initiative as a part of, bringing together industries, academics, the state, and startups to harness Czech Republic's AI talent and build it into a global AI hub. Her passion is to help institutions and individuals navigate our next social evolutionary stage. To show just to how interconnected our world really is, Sara will take you on a journey you never expected to be possible.

Lee Cohen is an Adjunct Fellow of the Danube Institute and former advisor to The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in US. Specializing in US-UK and US-Hungary affairs, Cohen is an editorial contributor to the The Washington Times and a frequent commentator on the US-UK and US-Europe relationship on broadcast media.

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Previously at Brain Bar

Brain Bar brings together the brightest minds from all over the globe to discuss what's to come. Technology itself is NOT the future. What really matters is the moral choices we make as humans.


by Sophia

My greatest weakness is curiosity

What would you ask from the world's first android citizen and robot superstar? Brain Bar 2018 visitors meet Sophia face to face and talk to her about her first memories, whether she would sacrifice herself for a human and we could be more than just friends.


Click to know more about the future of


Are we getting addicted to information?


Do we have any reason to be optimistic in times of turmoil?


Will our diet destroy the planet?


Will you receive your pension in crypto?


Did we learn enough to avoid a new financial crisis?


Will dinosaurs roam the Earth again?


How to tell the story of Generation Z?


How can we provide a home for a large number of residents in the future?


Can robots provide us with emotional attachment?


Can philosophy save business?


Will science eventually lead to a posthuman era?


Is it time to control mass tourism?

Alumni highlights

Looking like a futuristic Audrey Hepburn, she grimaces and chuckles, and cracks jokes that make our blood curdle: meet Sophia the most advanced creation of Hanson Robotics. The computer driven media darling has given numerous interviews, sung in a concert, starred in talk shows, and even graced the cover of Elle magazine. And as Saudi citizen she has more rights than average flesh and blood Saudi women.

How to live a meaningful life? Who better to tell you than someone who has worked as a dishwasher, beekeeper, mill laborer, railway line worker, among many? Not your typical university professor, Jordan Peterson's favourite sport is winning over modern taboos, and he usually ends up with a knockout. In his latest bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life, he provides an antidote to chaos and gives practical advice to restore meaning in your own life. For example, why don't you start with comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not to someone else?

Can you raise your kids right, excel in multiple careers and still feel fantastic? A strong figure for female empowerment, Maye is a respected dietitian, international model and mother to three successful children, Elon, Kimbal & Tosca. She advocates for healthy eating and lifestyle while challenging the age stereotype within the fashion industry. Listen to Maye, a proud grandmother of 11 and you'll understand how you can make hard work, creative thinking and breaking boundaries traits in your own family. Surely, we couldn't have done it alone. We thank OTP Bank for making this happen.

One of the world's most successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Co-founder of PayPal, investor of Facebook, LinkedIn and SpaceX. Named “the most powerful person in tech” who dares to be dangerous.

Remember Dr. Grant from Jurassic Park? What if we told you that he's an actual living person who was the technical adviser of the series? Born, raised and educated in Montana, a Mecca for dinosaur hunters Jack Horner is one of the best-known paleontologists in the world. He is widely known for his discovery of Maiasaura, a dinosaur that backed up the idea that these prehistoric giants were in fact caring parents. But could we recreate them with cutting edge biotechnology?

Can an unpleasant experience turn you into an outstanding entrepreneur? Mikaila was four years old when she was stung by two bees in the same week. Rather than being upset with them, she was encouraged to do some research. Upon discovering the bees' important role in our ecosystem, Mikaila was determined to help them: using her Great Granny Helen’s lemonade recipe, she launched her business from her home in Austin, Texas in 2009. Today, her award-winning lemonade is buzzing off the shelves from across the United States.

Through his 21-years as an astronaut, Colonel Hadfield has become a worldwide sensation, harnessing the power of social media to make outer space accessible to millions. During his multi-faceted career, Colonel Hadfield has intercepted Soviet bombers in Canadian airspace, lived on the ocean floor, been NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia, and recorded science and music videos seen by hundreds of millions. A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, is also the author of two internationally bestselling books.

Described by the Economist as 'the rich world’s most powerful trustbuster', and one of the 100 most influential people in 2017 by Time Magazine, Commissioner Vestager has been a professional politician since the age of 21. She brought antitrust charges against Google and initiated investigations against tech giants like Amazon and Apple. She is also a mother of three.

Robotic lovers, virtual fantasies, long-distance kisses. Welcome to the future of sex. Since launching her top-rated podcast, Bryony has been on stages across the world, defining the direction of sextech for governments, technology and entertainment companies. Her wide body of research and annual report are considered the lead in industry insights.

The three Michelin star chef fights against hunger, food wastage and social exclusion with his nonprofit association, Food for Soul. Cooks use ingredients destined to be thrown out in the community kitchens where they feed the poor and homeless.

Founder and CEO of Myna Mahila Foundation, Suhani's mission is to bring equal access to healthcare services for women in need. Compelled by the stories of the inhabitants of Mumbai’s slums, she has been working on strategies ranging from adolescent girl health, water and sanitation, to social protection policies. Her work has been featured in BBC, Glamour Magazine, TIME Magazine, Huffington Post and Vogue. Suhani is currently pursuing her PhD at Stanford University.

How do thinking and talking robots work? Inquire Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, the creator of Sophia! Dr. Ben Goertzel is one of the world’s foremost experts in Artificial General Intelligence, a subfield of AI oriented toward creating thinking machines with general cognitive capability at the human level and beyond. He has decades of expertise applying AI to natural language processing, data mining, video gaming, national security and bioinformatics.

How does one of the world's most accomplished marketing gurus see our future? Frank Cooper served at Pepsi and BuzzFeed among many, and has been acknowledged by Fast Company magazine as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business”. Frank is now responsible for shaping the global brand and marketing strategy of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager. 

The founder and leader of the first mosque in Scandinavia with female imams, Sherin is a trained cognitive psychotherapist and founder of The Exitcircle, an NGO against psychological violence. Sherin works to promote a re-reading of the Quran that promotes gender equality and is in balance with our societies. Her latest book is titled Women are the future of Islam. BBC has named her one of 100 most influential female pioneers in the world and in 2018 she received The Global Hope Award- Hero Prize under UNESCO. 

Rudi Westendorp is highly engaged in how we as a society view the older people and old age. Graduate of the Leiden University, he is appointed professor of medicine, and head of the Dept. of Gerontology and Geriatrics. He also founded the Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing. His new book deals with a key issue for the 21st century: Combining medical, biological, economic, and sociological insights, Westendorp explores the causes of the ageing revolution and explains how we can greet it with confidence and enjoy leading longer, healthier, and more productive lives than ever before. Author of the book “Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing”.

Mona Chalabi is a writer, illustrator and presenter who works with data. As well as being the Data Editor at the Guardian, Mona writes a column for New York Magazine that uses statistics to answer reader questions. Her datasketches, have been used by the United Nations and were commended by the Royal Statistical Society. She has presented for National Geographic, the BBC, NPR, First Look Media and VICE. Mona previously worked at the Bank of England, Transparency International and the International Organisation for Migration. Mona likes lists.

Trained in classical ballet and interior design McRae’s artistic study of technology began during her years at Philips Design, where she led the technology company’s far-future research lab. With a broad portfolio that focused on emotional sensing, she developed stretchable electronics and an electronic tattoo. Her range of emotion sensing dresses was awarded TIME’s Best Inventions of 2007. McRae is the inventor of the Swallowable Parfum and has spoken at Tribeca Film Festival, London’s Royal College of Physicians, Royal Albert Hall and BBC World Radio Service.

Would you reprogram your own mind? Would you parent artificially intelligent computer programs? Multi-award winning superstar of sci-fi Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" is described by many as the most important collection of short stories in the new millennium. 

A non-engineer maker and robotics enthusiast from Los Angeles. Her widely popular videos have been featured on Wired, Mashable, Business Insider as well as in The Late Show and Conan O Brien. She recently joined TESTED, a team of makers founded by master robot-builder Adam Savage.

Visionary production designer, 3-time Academy Award nominee. A regular collaborator with Christopher Nolan, Nathan designed the entire Dark Knight trilogy, and his recent projects include Interstellar, Westworld and Dunkirk. 

Niall is Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a regular contributor to television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic and a prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics. His acclaimed books include The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (also an International Emmy Award-winning PBS/Channel 4 documentary series), and Civilization: The West and the Rest. His most recent book, The Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, was an immediate New York Times best-seller within a week of its publication.

The world's first eating-designer. Having graduated  at the Eindhoven Design Academy, she set her mind to creating a new direction in design. After having developed and sold two experimental restaurants in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, she now works on restaurant concepts and long-term medical projects for hospitals. She launched the Dutch Institute of Food&Design last year.

Writer, photographer, conservationist, world renowned guru of digital culture. Kevin is founding editor of WIRED magazine, founder of Hackers Conference and author of several books, including 'Out of Control - The New Biology of Machines, Economic and Social Systems'. He was futurist adviser of the movie Minority Report by Steven Spielberg. Kevin's newest book, 'The Inevitable - Understanding The 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future' is a New York Times bestseller. He'll fly in to Brain Bar Budapest straight from Pacifica, California.

The Staub twins embody the essence of how the KonMari method can impact one's life: reconnecting with one's self and designing the life one wants. Their objective is to help people to live a more simple and happy life through their decluttered, joy-sparking living space.