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22 février 2006

Tech conference attracts luminaries in Monterey

Stars will converge on Monterey event starting today

More than 900 corporate, scientific and artistic leaders will converge in Monterey this week for an invitation-only event whose very title -- Technology, Entertainment, Design -- reflects the agenda and fantasies of Silicon Valley.

Attendees will pay $4,400 to attend the event, which opens today and runs through Saturday. TED's place in tech history was established the first time it was held, in 1984, when Apple Computer showed off its new Macintosh.

In the ensuing years the conference, like Silicon Valley, has had its ups and downs and changes in leadership. But the seaside event has managed to keep its reputation for looking over the horizon.

"This is definitely one of the must-attend events of the year,'' said Shel Israel, whose San Carlos consulting firm, Conferenza, follows and rates the tech industry's many gatherings.

Israel said TED has managed to hold its own against events such as the prestigious Web 2.0 conference because it raises thought-provoking themes and attracts provocative speakers.

"There is a reason why TED happens in Monterey: It's a one-hour drive to Silicon Valley ... and that gives it a unique well of potential attendees and speakers,'' said Bruno Giussani, a Swiss author and former executive with the Davos World Economic Forum who helped organize a European version of TED in Oxford, England, last year.

This week's conference, billed as "The Future We Will Create," will feature notables such as Stanford Professor Paul Berg, who earned a Nobel Prize for helping invent the gene-splicing tool that helped develop biotechnology, and Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, the '80s-era software guru who now worries that some technologies are slipping out of human control.

Other speakers include music industry innovator Peter Gabriel and former Vice President Al Gore, who has reinvented himself as one of the forces behind San Francisco's pioneering grassroots video startup, Current TV....

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