WIRED25: The Top Moments

WIRED25 was jam-packed with unrivaled content – it truly put all other events to shame.  That said, it was incredibly difficult to just identify one moment as a ‘favorite,’ but here is a try from each of the attendees.

Chad Vavra

Genevieve Bell’s eloquent presentation on the challenges and opportunities of living with artificial intelligence was a much needed interlude during talks from engineers turned CEOs and VCs.  She reminded us all what it will mean to be human, in the age of machine.


Chris Hogue

I was pretty sure the biggest highlight for me was listening to Sean Parker and Alex Marson talking about the advances they’ve made at the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Hearing they have successfully edited genes in T cells to attack and kill cancer cells blew me away! Biohacking is the future.

But then, this happened…


Leigh Christie

For myself, the most inspirational part of WIRED25 was seeing Boston Dynamics’ SpotMini up close and personal. It’s motions are incredibly fluid and “dog like.” It triggers your empathy in the same way that a living creature would. As such, it’s much easier to imagine a world where artificial beings co-exist with humans in the workplace as well as at home and in public.


Tonya Bakritzes

The speaker list at WIRED25 was certainly impressive making it difficult to select one stand out moment.  It’s not every day that you get to hear Kevin Systrom share why he made the decision to leave Instagram, listen as Anna Wintour asks Jony Ive what keeps him up at night and then be treated to a surprise visit by Jeff Bezos where he shared the origins of his passion for space travel.

Setting aside the inspiration that comes from seeing so many visionaries in one room, I was moved to hear Jiwoo Lee, a student at Stanford University, speak about her work using Crispr to kill cancer cells.  Jiwoo’s passion for science and accomplishments at such an early age left me with a renewed optimism for the potential of the next generation to bring about positive change.


Ken Waagner

Getting dragged on to the dance-floor by WIRED co-founder Jane Metcalfe to dance during Questlove’s dj set was second only to getting to hear Salesforce Founder and CEO Marc Benioff speak of the homeless problem in San Francisco and his commitment to trying to legitimately do something about it.


Paul Buranosky

With so much great content presented throughout the entire event, is it delightfully difficult to choose a highlight of the weekend. When the agenda is filled with session after session of the brightest, most successful and famous names in Silicon Valley it’s hard not to acknowledge a surprise appearance by Jeff Bezos as a highlight of WIRED25.  However, as is often the case I find the unexpected and simple message to be the most compelling. Keller Rinaudo, Cofounder & CEO of Zipline took the stage without a fanfare or expectations. He is not a household name like Anna Wintour, Jony Ive or Questlove, however, from the moment he started speaking he had the rapt attention of the audience. The story behind Zipline is inspiring and in this current climate of political divisiveness it gave me hope for the value of technology’s role in society.  Zipline delivers lifesaving blood to rural areas of Rwanda using a drone delivery service. The company uses technology to solve an issue in a way that actually benefits the people it is serving most while also creating a business that can be profitable and scale. Zipline is a clear example that startups can develop technology using practical insights and advancements to scale for success. But, most importantly companies can use technology to develop a sustainable business while saving lives.


Sara Saldoff, OhioHealth

When the opportunity came to join the Isobar team in San Francisco for the WIRED conference, I leapt at the chance. I grew up in digital and to see the titans of the industry in person was something I couldn’t turn down. Kevin Systrom, the former CEO of Instagram, said we have to stop the hackathon culture and have to start solving problems people actually have. If you solve for real problems then you don’t waste time and resources.  Imagine what would happen if everyone started working on real problems and not just cool features. Shiny and new is fun and exciting, but if it’s not making something better, is it worth it?


Jessica Balfour, Exelon

The conversations at WIRED25 highlighted how these titans of tech are becoming titans of a new and old industry in a way many never expected. From space exploration, to rethinking what it means to empower those with disabilities to engage in our workforces. What I was most excited to see and hear about, was about how today’s leaders are thinking about how the tools they have created, how they will be used in the future and the role we should play in governing the use of the new technologies. From how we responsibly use CRISPR and human genome to develop new approaches to treating cancer, to how we tackle the “fake news” on Twitter, cyber-bullying on Instagram and a rise of conspiracy videos on YouTube. And, with the rapid adoption and advancement of new technology, like AI, to help us accomplish these next big issues, it has become clear we are all responsible for cultivating the power of this technology, responsibly and with an eye on building a more collaborative and inclusive world.  

More than anything, WIRED25 made us inspired and excited for the future.  The last 25 years, WIRED has served as a beacon, guiding us through the technological developments of the past quarter-century.  However, leaving the anniversary event, we’re no longer looking back…we’re ready for what’s next.