The World Technology Awards

11/01/2011 12:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

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I go to a lot of tech conferences and trade shows.

It's a necessary evil for me. I don't enjoy it much, in fact they give me a screeching headache most of the time.

But last Tuesday and Wednesday, and Wednesday night in particular, I went to one that made all the others worthwhile: The World Technology Network Summit and Awards (WTN).

Founded by Jim Clark (no, not that 'Jim Clark') about 10 years ago, WTN is a membership association of people with deep interests in and commitment to technology; technology of all kinds and shapes. Biotech, Nanotech, IT, Software, Hardware, Communications (both Marcom and traditional), the Arts, Design, Education, Energy, Entertainment, Ethics, Environment, Health & Medicine, Law, Policy, Media & Journalism, Materials, Social Entrepreneurship, Space and more. It is amazingly diverse and interesting to me with all the divergent technologies it represents.

The Summit started with two days of speakers and start-up company demos at the Time-Life building in NYC. Highlights included: a talk by and interview with Ray Kurzweil (a personal favorite); Sarah Miller Caldicott, Thomas Edison's great grandniece; James Gleick, who's written books on amongst other fascinating subjects, Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics; Susan Herman, President of the ACLU; and a crowd favorite, Marco Tempest, who put a smile on everybody's face.

But the show-stopper was the awards night gala held last Wednesday night at the UN. Jim Clark said, "You are all changing the world." and he was right. This group of pure technologists and scientists mixed in with academics, authors, experts and a healthy dose of biologists and medical doctors are discovering, inventing and perfecting the technologies of the future. Their products will save money, the environment and lives.

There was Second Sight Medical Products which won for their sight-saving efforts; Mitchel Resnick who won in the Education category for his innovative efforts building "Computer Clubhouses" for kids -- really making a difference in young lives; and you had Otavio Good, a youngish programmer who delightedly showed how he invented an app which would translate foreign languages by using the camera. The topper for me? A company called Airdye Solutions which has invested a process through which this planet's textile companies can stop ruining trillions of gallons of water with their dying chemicals, leaving more for the rest of us to drink.

Jim Clark, WTN's founder and CNN Anchor, Poppy Harlow handled the MC duties jointly with humor and panache. All in all, it was a very engaging, inspiring and optimism-filled evening. And that, was a rarity for the tech conference circuit.

Here are the winners for each category:

2011 WINNERS -- WORLD TECHNOLOGY AWARDS

ARTS: MARCO TEMPEST

BIOTECHNOLOGY (INDIVIDUAL): JAMES J. COLLINS

ENERGY (CORPORATE): AQUION ENERGY

EDUCATION: MITCHEL RESNICK

HEALTH & MEDICINE (CORPORATE): SECOND SIGHT MEDICAL PRODUCTS

IT-HARDWARE (CORPORATE): APPLE

FINANCE (CORPORATE): BAND OF ANGELS

IT-SOFTWARE (INDIVIDUAL): OTAVIO GOOD

MATERIALS (INDIVIDUAL): ANDREW BARRON

ETHICS: PAUL ROOT WOLPE

ENVIRONMENT (INDIVIDUAL): ANN HAND

ENERGY (INDIVIDUAL): XIN ZHAO & ROD RUOFF/MERYL STOLLER

MATERIALS (CORPORATE): 3M

MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS: AEDHMAR HYNES, TEXT 100

ENVIRONMENT (CORPORATE): AIRDYE SOLUTIONS

HEALTH & MEDICINE (INDIVIDUAL): ANTHONY ATALA

ENTERTAINMENT: KATI LONDON

SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: HOWARD WEINSTEIN

FINANCE (INDIVIDUAL): ESTHER DYSON

IT-HARDWARE (INDIVIDUAL): STEVE TEIG

LAW: ARTI K. RAI

POLICY: ALEX DEHGAN

BIOTECHNOLOGY (CORPORATE): CELGENE CORPORATION

COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY (INDIVIDUAL): GABRIEL CHARLET

DESIGN: ALEXANDRA DAISY GINSBERG

COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY (CORPORATE): SKYPE

SPACE (CORPORATE): SPACEX

SPACE (INDIVIDUAL): GWYNNE SHOTWELL

IT-SOFTWARE (CORPORATE): AMAZON

MEDIA & JOURNALISM: ATHAR OSAMA