First 20 speakers announced for Thinking Digital conference to be held at Sage Gateshead

Keynote addresses at technology discussion forum will cover everything from the digital-healthcare crossover to the ethics of information

Herb Kim at the Thinking Digital conference at the Sage in Gateshead
Herb Kim at the Thinking Digital conference at the Sage in Gateshead

A wealth of international experts from fields covering everything from robotics to music are due to appear at this year’s Thinking Digital conference at Sage Gateshead.

Established by North East tech guru Herb Kim, the event, which is now in its eighth year, is recognised as a leading discussion forum for the latest digital developments in technology, science, media, business and the arts.

With the first 20 speakers now announced for the 2015 event, which runs between May 19 and 21, The Journal can reveal that the roll-call brings together movers and shakers from top UK start-ups with academics and specialists from the likes of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, inspiring fresh thinking and new approaches using the latest ideas in practical applications.

Among the line-up from the US will be Holly Lloyd, who has worked on more than 10 films, including Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, in almost 20 years with Pixar Studios, as well as developing creative elements for Disney World and Disney Land.

Patrick Meier, the Washington DC-based UN World Humanitarian Summit member and author of Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response, then, will discuss the digital world’s impact on humanitarian efforts.

Dr Catherine Mohr, of Intuitive Surgical, which developed the da Vinci surgical robot, will look at the digital-healthcare crossover, while San Francisco-based author Tim Leberecht will be sharing his vision for the future of business.

From further north along America’s West Coast, Tony Hay, who spent a decade with Microsoft, will also be travelling from Seattle to attend the conference.

From the UK, meanwhile, presenter and music composer/hacker, LJ Rich, who works on the BBC’s tech show Click, will look at music and technology crossovers, while Sam Aaron, and Postdoc Researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, will be discussing the idea of programming as performance, examining the importance of emphasising, exploring and celebrating creativity within all aspects of the skillset.

Returning after a well-received presentation last year will be BBC science presenter Steve Mould, who is known for his knack of explaining complicated scientific ideas in an accessible manner,

Thinking Digital staple Tom Scott, a former Sky 1 presenter, will likewise be back to deconstruct how the internet continues to impact our lives.

Also speaking will be:

* and FrontlineSMS founder Ken Banks, who will be discussing his internationally-renowned work using technology for social, conservation and environmental change.

* CEO, Alexandra Depledge, who will be tackling start-ups, the sharing economy and how individuals can become micro-entrepreneurs

* Ian Wharton, the creative director at AKQA and the creator of Jamie Oliver’s bestselling mobile app, who will look at creative thinking

* the Canadian-born Stefanie Posavec, who will showcase her design process, which specialises in the visual representation of data from language, literature and science.

* Prof Luciano Floridi from the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, an international expert on the philosophy and ethics of information

* Tara Shears, a particle physicist at Liverpool University and a representative at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, who is regarded as one of the world’s best communicators of scientific ideas and

* Prof Andy Stanford-Clark, who works on IBM’s global Internet of Things team, is an IBM Master Inventor with more than 40 patents, and has a visiting professorship at Newcastle University.

Mr Kim said: “We have pulled together a truly eclectic and inspiring line-up for this year’s event. There is truly something here for anyone with an interest in technology, innovation and creativity and how ideas can transform our lives.

“The calibre of the speakers already confirmed for May is outstanding, and we are looking forward to be what promises to be the best Thinking Digital event we’ve ever organised.”

Thinking Digital will also be providing hands-on workshops and networking opportunities.

For more information and to book tickets, visit


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