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It is Saturday. You have just ended a heated debate about the deeper meaning of life with your A.I. operating system. Nowadays humans are more bionic than biological. Mind uploading has entered mainstream society. Education is completely personalized. Fusion power is widespread. Economic inequality has reached an all-time high. Most of the world’s languages are extinct. Humans are able to alter the weather. Advanced nanotech clothing is the latest trend in fashion. Meat has not been on the menu for quite some time. Religion is redundant for modern society. Longevity treatments halt aging. From news to porn, fully immersive virtual reality reshaped entertainment. Handcrafted art objects are luxury items. Nomadic floating cities are roaming the oceans. There is a single global currency. The first space elevator is opening up to the public next weekend. What if...?

One day packed with inspiration

"What if..." forces us to (re)evaluate our current actions in the present, in regard of the future we are simultaneously shaping. "What if..." is a constant state of questioning and underlying doubt. "What if..." things were different, go horribly wrong, or are simply better? Everything is frighteningly possible.


Meet the 2015 lineup of our 22 local and international speakers and 2 performing acts.

Eugenia Cheng

Eugenia Cheng

Pure Mathematician (USA)

Eugenia is a pure mathematician, concert pianist and author of "Cakes, Custard and Category Theory". She is Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her math YouTube videos have around a million views.

Matthew Cooke

Matthew Cooke

Actor and Filmmaker (USA)

Matthew Cooke is an actor and filmmaker. He is known for his films "Deliver us from evil" (Academy Award nomination for best documentary film), "How to make money selling drugs" (Best Writing Award) and "Survivors guide to prison".

Lalita Prasida

Lalita Prasida

Young Scientist (IND)

Lalita is 14 years old and lives in Damanjodi. She came to know about the low utilization of corncobs, which inspired her to find ways to use this agricultural waste. She recently won the Scientific American’s Community Impact Award at the prestigious Google Science Fair.

Paul Knoepfler

Paul Knoepfler

Biologist & Writer (USA)

Paul Knoepfler is a biomedical scientist and writer, focusing on stem cells and genetics. He is author of the forthcoming book, “GMO Sapiens”, and is an influential voice in the global debate on human genetic modification.

Eduardo Kac

Eduardo Kac

Telepresence/Bio Artist (USA)

Eduardo Kac is internationally recognized for his telepresence and bio art. His artistic practice explores the boundaries between the human and the non-human, the living and the non-living, the local and the remote.

George Nimeh

George Nimeh

Entrepreneur (AUT)

George is a digital entrepreneur and an award-winning innovator in advertising and communications. He has worked with top brands, global agencies and startups for 20 years. And probably like you, he doesn’t like most advertising he sees online.

Gabriela Barreto Lemos

Gabriela Barreto Lemos

Quantum Physicist (AUT)

Gabriela is a researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and an explorer of the tiny unseen world. Through the lens of quantum images she will show you that reality is not as banal as it seems. What is real anyway?

Alexander Betts

Alexander Betts

Academic Refugee Activist (UK)

Alexander Betts is Professor of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. He is the author of several books and founder of the Humanitarian Innovation Project.

Cosmo Scharf

Cosmo Scharf

Virtual Reality Pioneer (USA)

Cosmo Scharf co-founded VRLA, the world's largest virtual reality expo, the Proto Awards, the first award show for VR, and Visionary VR, a start-up building software for storytelling in VR.

Olga Murray

Olga Murray

Social Activist (USA/NPL)

You can live a joyful, fulfilling life at any age. In 1984, approaching 60 and retirement, lawyer Olga Murray discovered a country and a cause that transformed her own life and the lives of 45,000 poor children in Nepal.

Gernot Grömer

Gernot Grömer

Space Explorer (AUT)

Dr. Groemer researches exploration astrobiology and has led eleven Mars field simulations. He has logged 94 hours of spacesuit activities as analogue astronaut and 30 minutes of zero gravity.

Salah Ammo

Salah Ammo

Syrian Kurdish Musician (SYR/AUT)

Salah arrived in Vienna as a refugee in 2013 with only his instrument and small suitcase. In 2014, he was a finalist of the 'Austrian World Music Award’ and his Album ASSI was nominated for the award ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik'.

Mike Rugnetta

Mike Rugnetta

Internet Professional (USA)

Mike is a composer, programmer and web show host. He is one third of the live, lecture-based performance art trio MemeFactory, which makes fast-paced work inspired by the intersection of technology and culture. He is the writer and host of the award-winning Idea Channel.

Katharina Unger

Katharina Unger

Home Insect Breeder (AUT/CHN)

Katharina grew up raising chickens, cows and horses. Noticing the dramatic state of our food system while living in Hong Kong, she is now determined to "design nature for humans"; her first product is a desktop insect farm.

Michael Herold

Michael Herold

Character Animator (GER)

Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, no-one was sure how Michael's life would unfold as he grew up. Three decades later, he is a character animator on award-winning kid's TV shows. He is still far from being grown up.

Filip Antoni Malinowski

Filip Malinowski

Film Director (AUT)

Through a camera Filip dives into existential aspects of reality. As the grandson of archaeologists but educated as a photographer his documentary films inspect the core ideas of how we live together as a global society.

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule

Spoken Word Artist (UK)

Vanessa's poetry is personal but always extends itself into something universal: the need to be heard and understood by each other. Vanessa feels that poetry provides an alternate history beyond the textbooks; one altogether more nuanced and more human.

Matt Wall

Matt Wall

Cognitive Neuroscientist (UK)

Matt is a neuroscientist with interests in vision, pain, psychopharmacology, and functional MRI methodology. In addition to his academic work he has written for Slate, The Conversation, and The Guardian.

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald

Social Adventurer (CAN)

Kyle MacDonald decided to use the internet to attempt to trade one small item for something bigger and more substantial. His goal was to end up with a house. He started with a red paperclip and traded it for a pen. Then traded the pen for a doorknob...

Jannike Stöhr

Jannike Stöhr

Profession(al) Pioneer (GER)

Due to doubts concerning her career, Jannike started the project "30 jobs in one year" to find her calling. She sold her possessions, gave up her apartment and went on a journey through the work world.

Christian Felber

Christian Felber

Dancing Economist (AUT)

Christian Felber rocks the establishment with a fresh alternative which changes everything: The Economy for the Common Good. At the age of 42 he has written 15 books but is also a passionate dancer and friend of nature.

Oskar C. Aszmann

Oskar C. Aszmann

Reconstructive Surgeon (AUT)

Dr. Aszmann is an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Both his research and clinical focus have always been peripheral nerve reconstruction and extremity/hand rehabilitation.



Opening Act

Opening Act

Performance Artists (UK/GER)

What did you know? Isn't this the tortuous question we asked our grandparents? Moreover, what did you do and what did you not do? Today, on the basis of which knowledge do we act and/or do we not act? The four performance artists Anna de Carlo (led different actions for the center of political beauty), Maryam Zaree (actress and filmmaker), Johanna Wolff (actress) and Gwen Pare (student) do not want to leave their grandchildren’s questions unanswered. They invite contemporary witnesses from the future to testify how our times will be cherished.

Mnozil Brass

Applied Brass Musicians (AUT)

Mnozil Brass started their career in the 1st district of Vienna in a tavern called Josef Mnozil. The band has become so well known in concert circles that they now hold more than 120 concerts throughout the world each year. They call their music “applied brass music for every situation.“ They face every challenge; no tone is too high for them, no lip is too hot and no music is too inferior. You can see their music and you can smell their stage performance. Mnozil Brass stands for 22 years of service to the lived sheet music.

Mnozil Brass

What makes a TEDxVienna conference a world-class event?

TEDxVienna talks

Experience live TEDx talks firsthand.
Watch previous talks.

  • 22 speakers + 2 performing acts
  • Innovative fields
  • New insights

Interactive Experiences

Interactive experiences and innovations on display at the exhibition area.

  • Try new technologies
  • Talk to the industry
  • Discover innovations

The Community

Meet local and visiting innovators, from technology, entertainment, design, and a host of other exciting fields.

  • Networking
  • Food and drinks
  • After Party

TEDxVienna 2015 Schedule

  • 09:00 - 10:00 Registration | Welcome Drink by Friya
  • 10:00 - 12:15 1st Session of Talks: Challenges

    Opening Act: Performance
    Matthew Cooke: What if everything we are doing is wrong?
    Filip Malinowski: What if the climate crisis actually is an opportunity?
    Gernot Grömer: What if you had a day on Mars?
    Alexander Betts: What if we helped refugees to help themselves?
    Salah Ammo: What if you were a refugee?

  • 12:15 - 13:30 Lunch Break by Topfreisen & Rita Bringt's
  • 13:30 - 15:25 2nd Session of Talks: Systems

    Olga Murray: What if you could live a joyful and vibrant life at any age?
    Christian Felber: What if the common good was the goal of the economy?
    George Nimeh: What if there was no advertising?
    Jannike Stöhr: What if discovering the job market meant discovering yourself?
    Kyle MacDonald: What if you could trade a paperclip for a house?
    Mike Rugnetta: What if there is something beyond the network?

  • 15:25 - 16:10 Sweet Break by Meinl
  • 16:10 - 18:05 3rd Session of Talks: Humans

    Vanessa Kisuule: What if we are losing the humanity in arts?
    Gabriela Barreto Lemos: What if we were the size of an atom?
    Oskar Aszmann: What if we could become transhumans?
    Michael Herold: What if I had a time machine?
    Paul Knoepfler: What if my neighbor's kid was genetically modified?

  • 18:05 - 18:50 Energy Break by Red Bull
  • 18:50 - 20:50 4th Session of Talks: Inventions

    Eduardo Kac: What if art can truly create biological life?
    Katharina Unger: What if this device could change your eating habits?
    Lalita Prasida: What if we could clean waste water with corn cobs?
    Mnozil Brass: Performance
    Eugenia Cheng: What if mathematics is the answer to progress?
    Matt Wall: What if we could really read the brain?
    Cosmo Scharf: What if we'll all be living in the Matrix in the future?

  • 20:50 - 21:30 Kick-Off Drink by Heineken
  • 21:30 - open end Afterparty at Café Leopold Cafe Leopold

    Free entry with your TEDxVienna name badge until 23:00, 5€ afterwards.
    The first 250 attendees get a free welcome drink.
    Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien (MuseumsQuartier)

Exhibitors & Interactive Experiences


Ready for some handicrafts? All you need is glue and some colored, pre-cut, and engraved sheets of paper to experience the joy of bringing digital creations to life. Learn more about "Origami 2.0" while tinkering with your own little unique katokami model.


You like virtual reality racing but want to take an exciting ride in real life too? Mazda has just the right thing for you: Make sure to take part in the competition and win the new Mazda CX-3 for one week and a safety driving training for two people!


You're fascinated with cutting edge technologies, DIY electronics, and VR gaming? Then get connected and interact with Metalab, Vienna's famous hacker space, which has some crazy projects you can experiment with!


Show us your biggest and brightest smile and get a very personal souvenir at the Smiletronic mobile photobooth! Go and capture unique, inspiring, and unforgettable moments at What if...!


Every Code has a story – what's yours? Participate in our fun What if raffle and discover other attendees' personal "What ifs"! Speech Code allows you to transform any information into printable data code, which can be scanned and accessed on your smartphone anytime.


Zoom in! TableConnect presents its giant smartphone and invites you to experiment with the first large-screen touch device! Displaying Android and iOS apps on a big scale, we organized a meet and greet with George from Erste Group, your future personal banking assisstant.

UPC Business

Believing in the power of entrepreneurship, UPC offers a range of start-up products that support mindblowing ideas. Mindblowing is also the unforgettable Fellow Citizen Perception Check hosted by UPC, which will show you how different your idea of reality and reality itself could be.


You have an inspiring idea? Visolutions makes it visible by creating hand drawn pictures to give them the attention they deserve by capturing the essence of talks and helping to relive and discuss what was presented. Make sure you pass by the drawings in the break and get the big picture.

VREI - Virtual Reality Lounge

What if... you could be the next Sebastian Vettel? VREI is stepping up to the virtual reality plate with its virtual racing chair - go and sit in a fully-equipped Assetto Corsa and push the pedal to the metal! VREI will make your VR dreams come true.

TEDx Simulcast in Bellaria Kino

Networking Lounge

Take a break and enjoy some snacks & drinks in the Bellaria cinema next door while still following the conference via our dedicated livestream.

Museumstraße 3, 1070 Vienna, behind the Volkstheater

TEDxVienna in pictures

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Tickets & Benefits


  • Tickets include

      TEDxVienna talks

    Experience live TEDx talks firsthand.

      Exhibition area

    Interactive experiences and innovations on display.


    Meet local and visiting innovators, from technology, entertainment, design, and a host of other exciting fields.

      Food and drinks

    The perfect way to complement the brain food we provide, feast on imaginative meals from resourceful local providers.

      After Party

    Celebrate a successful event with good music and drinks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I want to cancel my ticket?

Unfortunately, you can't, but you can transfer it to somebody else. Please send us the name and email of the person you want to transfer it to with the email you used to buy your ticket(s) until October 20.

What if I want to do more than listen to TEDx Talks?

We have inspiring and amazing exhibitors and performances, delicious local food and drinks, networking opportunities, and did we mention that the event is in the beautiful Volkstheater?

What if I don't want to stay seated for 12 hours?

That's totally okay. TEDxVienna 2015 features four sessions of talks, each of which are about 90 minutes long. But you can come and go or visit the exhibition area anytime.

What if I get hungry or thirsty?

No problem at all! We’ll make sure your focus is on great ideas and not your rumbling stomach. You’ll be able to enjoy a tasty selection of snacks and refreshments at no additional cost.

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Venue addressVolkstheater
Neustiftgasse 1
1070 Wien

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