On March 6, Shared_Studios hosted a #7DaysofGenius conversation that connected entrepreneurs in Brooklyn with those in Herat through Portals — gold spaces equipped with immersive audiovisual technology. 

What was the topic of your event? 

This event asked participants to reflect on how we can use technology to bring people together; to solve a local challenge and/or address the spread of disinformation and polarization.

Where was it? Who participated?

Our event was in the Brooklyn_Portal by Shared_Studios at the New Lab in NYC and the Herat_Portal by Shared_Studios in Herat, Afghanistan. Representatives from several start-ups participated including:  Yu Nong Khew from Khew Cornelius, Adel Frankel from Nanotronics, Berk Kapicioglu from OccamzRazo, Jacob Hall Gordon from Artiphon.

What ideas were discussed or presented? 

Participants shared their first or most memorable experience with technology as a way to break the ice. Many found uncanny similarities as they encountered the same technology and software around the same time but in different countries:  the introduction of the internet and chat/messaging software like ICQ, MSN and now Facebook Messenger; the concept of Cat-fishing and fake profiles; online Dating and how online dating is in different cultures like Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Participants spoke about how technology allows individuals to explore and expand their global views and vocabulary. Through social media and the internet, the participants have been able to connect with strangers and friends from all around the world, they have been able to break down cultural boundaries and stereotypes that exist by experiencing the benefits of new technology like the Portal as a means to holding meaningful conversations.

Did your Genius event lead to new action or opportunities for your community?

Participants exchanged contact information with one another with the intention of engaging and participating in more Portal Conversations and in the hopes of connecting with more locations like Herat, Afghanistan again.