It was a very fun and interesting experience. I learnt a lot and I'm only sorry I couldn't put more time in the preparation.
The delivery went better than I had expected due to the poor preparation. Nevertheless, after seeing the video, I still find many things that would have worked much better had I put more time in the speech preparation. In any case, I placed second and that was a great result for me, specially since the guy who won happens to be my mentor! So much to learn, but definitely looking in the right direction.
As many of you asked for the video, I uploaded what I have. The sound quality is not great and the image has some artifacts. In any case it still was useful for me to see what I can improve in the future. At the bottom of the post you can find the speech script. It is not edited to match what I actually said but you may find it useful in case the audio is not clear enough for you.
If you watched the previous video that I had uploaded you will probably notice that I speak slower and have longer pauses. Of course, finding the sweet spot for the pauses' length remains a point that I need to work on.
Technology, transportation and telecommunications have radically changed the world we live in. Today’s technology is indistinguishable from magic for someone who lived just a century ago. Illnesses that were mortal in the past, are treatable in many cases and curable in some. You can literally travel in 20 hours to the other side of the world. Without leaving your home you can see live video of an event happening in Japan and I have more computing power in this device than what was available to plan the Apollo moon missions or develop the first hydrogen bomb. We already live in the future. Dear Contest Master, Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests: Welcome to 1983! George Orwell was not a science fiction writer. George Orwell was a visionary. We are a few months away from reaching the state of society that he described in his novel 1984. For those who have not read it, or never heard the expression “Orwellian world” let me describe it for you. Society is controlled by Big Brother, who knows everything about everyone. People are under constant surveillance and individuality and reason are considered thoughtcrimes. But all the system would not be able to work without the aid of the Ministry of Truth which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. We are rapidly converging to the world as described in the novel and people don’t seem to realise it, just like a frog in a pot does not realise that the water temperature is rapidly rising and it will start boiling soon. Big Brother is already here! Many people are afraid of their actions online being tracked and demonize Internet for it’s privacy failures. But what many of you don’t realise is that every time you carry a mobile phone on you, or you pay with your PIN or credit card, or you use a loyalty card you are being tracked. Someone knows where you are, what you buy and how much you spend. Over time they can build a profile that reflects who you are more accurately than what you would be able to consciously give away. This is not science fiction, it is happening today, as we speak and it is a market that is worth millions of euros, so not really going away anytime soon. But this does not worry me. What really worries me the most is the work what the Ministry of Truth is doing. We don’t call it Ministry of Truth just yet. We prefer to call it: the media. Do you realise how media influences and ultimately rewrite history? We are reaching a very dangerous point. There is an over abundance of media possibilities and to fill in all the time and paper they need content. When there were two daily newspapers they had one full day to curate the most relevant pieces of information and offer them to their readers. Nowadays, thousands of media compete for a slice of their users attention. Media have to one-up their competition to stay relevant, and it a race to the bottom the journalism tenets of truth and information verification are more often than not ignored. Breaking “news” based on sensationalist articles and populist topics drive the media economy. Things that would have had no relevance a few years ago, are blown out of proportion and intoxicate the public opinion. Unfortunately, people keep thinking of media as information sources when they have effectively become opinion beacons with little rigor. It is easier than ever to hole oneself up in an echo chamber where you only read media that repeats what you already believe in polarizing even more your views. If nothing is done, it will only get worse. Critical thinking is a skill that needs to be honed and practiced. Unfortunately people are turning into drones that mindlessly repeat whatever they have heard on the media. But... why am I telling you this? We are Toastmasters! We can change the situation! I have given you the wake up call. With your leadership and public speaking skills you have the chance to pass on this message to others. It is not too late. It’s in our hands to prevent 1984 from becoming real. Think critically! Tell others! Change the world!