Lauren Smith 
“What’s Driving the Connected Car? Data, It Turns Out.”
Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? The Transformation of Transportation
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
The Queen  MORE INFO

“The prospect of a TEDx talk was thrilling, but, to be honest, also daunting. I had only started public speaking a year earlier. I completed nearly twenty talks in that time, and they had gone well, but TEDxWilmington was going to be different from all of those. I know the topic on which I speak inside and out, and have shared it with academics, policymakers, and conferences, but for a TEDx talk I was going to have to change the framing completely. It would be the talk I had long wanted to give…a talk that would pull the uninitiated into this little world that I find so fascinating. Give them a succinct, engaging pitch, hook them on how this topic was going to transform their world, and they—everyone—should care.  That was not the way of policy conferences.

But I hesitated. The idea of submitting a one minute audition video seemed suddenly paralyzing. How would I reframe the topic? What was the clever anecdote and five-word slide that could encapsulate my work? What would I wear? How would I talk? The deadline of August 16 would not come for a month. I did not want to submit last minute but for weeks, I nervously put off recording, while versions of how to deliver the talk played constantly in the back of my brain.

Then the unexpected struck. On Friday August 11, five days before the application deadline, I started feeling very sleepy. I slept most of the weekend. I stopped by a doctor’s office on the way to work on Tuesday, and they sent me instead straight to the ER. When they told me I likely had viral meningitis and should do nothing for at least a week, I went home to the couch and hardly moved for, it turned out, a whole month.

The only problem was: the TEDxWilmington application was due the day after I came home from the ER. I had put it off too long, but I had become so enthralled by the idea of giving this talk that I couldn’t, even in my sickness, let it go. In the fog of meningitis, I scraped together a script. I peeled myself off of the couch to manage a shower, and endeavored to, it felt, put lipstick on a pig—to see if the right outfit, and makeup, and lighting could transform me for 60 seconds from someone who could barely place two feet in front of each other into someone who could persuade a TEDxWilmington selection committee that I could wow a crowd.

To my surprise, it worked. And while I remain anxious with anticipation for October 17, if that muted version of myself was able to make a compelling case in August, I hope that means the now-healed version will truly reel you in this October.”


Lauren Smith is Policy Counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum, where she focuses on big data and the Internet of Things as related to connected cars, data ethics, algorithmic decision-making, and health technology. Lauren leads the FPF Connected Cars Working Group, and serves as an expert and thought leader across the country.  READ MORE

Who’s in the Driver’s Seat? The Transformation of Transportation :: Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 The Queen  MORE INFO