Present a new idea with the help of twenty slides, each of which you can comment on for twenty seconds. This – in a nutshell – is the idea behind PechaKucha (Japanese for chit-chat). Twelve people give such a presentation at each PechaKucha night. The idea came originally from two Tokyo architects, and PechaKucha nights have been held in Maastricht since 2009.
Master’s student in Artificial Intelligence Madan Ray, from India, will be one of the speakers at the next PechaKucha night on Wednesday 20 April. He will address the role of robots in the society of the future. “In the future we’ll be able to make robots that can respond like human beings. They’ll be able to make their own decisions.” Ray will try to answer questions like: “How will people respond to these robots? And how can we deal with the fear of losing control over them?” He’s a bit nervous. “It’s my first presentation for such a large audience.”
There’s no need to worry, says Catalina Goanta, a Romanian master’s student at the School of Governance, who spoke at a previous PechaKucha night. “There’ll never be a friendlier audience.” She hadn’t heard of PechaKucha before she spoke there, but was asked to give a presentation about scholarships by one of the organisers. “I know her from Crossroads [a magazine for expats that has recently been put on hold because of a lack of funding –ed.].”
Goanta told the tale of two students from Colombia and Uganda. “I asked the audience to imagine how their lives would have been if they hadn’t got a scholarship. They would have had far fewer possibilities and chances than they have now.” She got a good response. “People were really moved.”