Surveillance capitalism, bioengineering for sustainable energy production, and neurotechnology in medicine: Pioneering international scientists will showcase their breakthroughs at the Falling Walls Conference


Date: Saturday, 9 November, 9 am – 7 pm
Venue: Radialsystem V, Holzmarktstraße 33, 10243 Berlin


Berlin, 27 September 2019. The massive collection and exploitation of user data is having a profound impact on the world’s economic systems. Free services used by billions of people are exploited by private companies to monitor, predict, and influence user behaviour. Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School (retired). Over the last decades her research has focused on the digital revolution, the evolution of capitalism and the historical emergence of psychological individuality. She will present a troublesome picture of a business model that commodifies human experiences to a level where not only notions of democracy and privacy, but also individual freedom itself is at stake.

Sang Yup Lee is Dean and Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and will explain how metabolic engineering can be harnessed to turn renewable biomass into many different chemicals. Despite the well-known consequences, much of the world’s energy demands continue to depend on fossil fuels. As environmental concerns continue to mount, biotechnology has been making strides and could soon help address a range of global problems, such as climate change, ageing societies, food security, energy security, and infectious diseases.

New cutting-edge technologies that work to control the brain’s function have revolutionised the field and brought hope to millions of people who have lost limbs, suffered neurological damage, or are afflicted by chronic conditions affecting the nervous system. Grégoire Courtine is Associate Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Together with his congenial collaborator Jocelyne Bloch, Head of the Functional Neurosurgery Unit at the Lausanne University Hospital, he will show how a wireless implant, mimicking how the brain would operate in a healthy person, can administer a precise electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, enabling people with spinal cord damage to walk once again.

Overview of all speakers and topics:


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Live Coverage
In order to make science accessible to the public, there will be a livestream and instant coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. The official hashtag is #FallingWalls19.

Falling Walls is an international platform for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society. It fosters discussion on innovation and promotes the latest scientific breakthroughs among a broad audience from all parts of society. It was initiated on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2009 and asks now every November 9: Which are the next walls to fall?

The conference will be opened on the previous day by three events: Falling Walls Engage (science communication), Falling Walls Lab (100 early career researchers that qualified in 80 contests worldwide) and Falling Walls Venture (research-based start-ups).

The Falling Walls Conference is part of Berlin Science Week with over 130 events taking place from 1–10 November in Berlin

For more information visit our website via


Press contacts
Jennifer Lehmann & Julia Knolle
Falling Walls Foundation gGmbH
Kochstraße 6/7
10969 Berlin

Tel: +49 30 60 988 39 71
Fax: +49 30 60 988 39 79

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