Chicago Ideas Week kicks off

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Ideas Week kicked off Monday. Thinkers and innovators from across the country are here to share ideas for change.

Every Chicago Ideas Week program starts with attendees introducing themselves to someone they don't know. It's all part of the 7-day event that bills itself as the world's largest ideas festival.

"We have seen stories of people finding new jobs, new volunteer opportunities, new inspiration for businesses because they were all propelled to talk to a stranger," said Chicago Ideas Week spokesperson Sona Jones.

What brings strangers together for the 7th annual Chicago Ideas Week are a variety of events on topics ranging from life lessons, issues of the day, to science and technology.

One sold-out program called Future of Work featured CEOs of companies sharing ideas about how technology is changing the workplace. Judy Blakey came hoping to get some answers.

"What happens to people at the end of their careers when robots looking to take over everything?" Blakey asked.

Chicago Ideas Week also ventures into the Neighborhoods. ABC7's food reporter Steve Dolinsky led a tour of Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.

"I live down the street and I've been very bad about exploring my own neighborhood, so this a perfect opportunity to get to know the food I live around," attendee Steve Smith said.

Chicago Ideas Week has a new idea this year: they have installed hello booths at 20 sites across the city. You can sit behind a booth and connect with someone from a different neighborhood through video conference.

"Inside the booth there are all sorts of prompts and questions that you can talk to strangers about," Jones said.

Chicago Ideas Week runs through Sunday. To draw a variety of people, most events are only $15.

ABC7 is a partner of Chicago Ideas Week. Sessions will be live streamed each day on
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