A photogenic E-Performance, the Importance of 7 seconds and the future with AI: Four Perspectives on The Next Web 2019
Europe’s leading tech festival The Next Web Conference (TNW) gathered around 18,000 people on the waterfront at Amsterdam Noord last week — seeking the hottest topics around technology and the next big thing coming up on the horizon.
We’re looking back on two days full of keynotes, workshops, and roundtables with tech experts from all over the world. On two days of Amsterdam in its full beauty with sun and rain, tiresome traffic and colorful canals. This year, Porsche was one of the main partners of TNW Conference to share our journey from a traditional automotive player to a software-enabled car company. For this to succeed, we must change everything. That’s why we’re taking a first step by opening up as a company — to new communities, new technologies, challenging questions and ideas from developers, startups and other potential collaboration partners. This translates into our approach: Next Visions. Change The Game. Create Tomorrow.
Everyone loves E-Performance
Virginia: It was my first time at the conference and, of course, I was there to see the upcoming tech trends, spot new startups and network with like-minded people. But if you keep your head up as you roam around the area, there’s a lot more to enjoy than just technology — like the inspiring speech about the success of the legendary Guy Kawasaki, a ride on the Ferris wheel at our booth and being inspired by people and startups with new approaches. Even coming from the automotive industry, you will undoubtedly stumble into a community that’s just waiting to connect with you! My personal highlight was seeing the countless people passing by our booth and stopping in front of our concept car „Mission E“. Everyone loved it. It was a nice surprise seeing such huge interest in our first all-electric sports car at a non-automotive event!
7 seconds for a first impression: The importance of design
Kersten: During the past two days, I had several great conversations with different startups at our booth. Asking myself what’s the actual difference between a good and a great discussion, I came to the conclusion that it all boils down to the first impression. It’s psychological evidence that the time window for a first impression is only seven seconds. So what does that mean for a startup pitch?
The first impression in a startup pitch is often the product demo. The problem and its solution. This is where principles of good UX and UI Design comes into play. Even if the solution is very abstract or reflects an edgy use-case, it’s worth putting energy into a polished product demo. In this regard, the impact of style and design should not be underestimated. This does not mean a pitch deck should only look good and apart from that be meaningless. It’s just a quick reminder that you only have seven seconds to leave a positive impression — why not trigger that with great user experience.
The one real innovator: Lessons from a life in technology
Christian: Usually, I don‘t really get why people call themselves a visionary, keynote speaker or evangelist — TNW Conference proved me that with Guy Kawasaki, it is a different story.
Being in charge of the marketing of Apple’s Macintosh in 1984, he is one of the most iconic innovators on this planet. In his keynote, he highlighted a very humble and hands-on perspective on innovation — saying that the ultimate goal as an innovator is to create something that is unique and valuable. The fact that he stood in front of our Mission E before his keynote to capture the design and beauty of our electric future is more than a reward to us. Or how Guy put it himself: “Guy doesn’t turn things into gold, Guy only touches gold.” We feel touched.
Making AI part of our tool kit to enhance everyday life
Jan: My favorite moment at TNW was the incredible talk of Cassie Kozyrkov. She opened her keynote with the words of famous author Yuval Harari, who warns the world of the influences of AI and algorithms. But is this really what we have to fear? Cassie answered the question if AI is good or bad with: It’s neither of that.
AI is a tool, made by humans — like hammer and nail or pen and paper. As basic as it sounds, it was eye-opening for me when she said: Even pen and paper can outperform us humans in the cognitive task of remembering things. So why to fear AI if it’s better in calculations, classifications, or simply making decisions based on data. Instead, we should strengthen this tool and put it in our tool kit — next to all the other tools we are already using. AI makes daily-life more convenient when it recommends music I like, lets me talk to my car or maximizes my driving experience by sophisticated driving mode settings and partially automated driving based on data. I’m not afraid of that, I’m thankful for it.
James Bridle predicting technology and the end of the future
A less optimistic perspective on technology was raised by ‘New Dark Age’ author James Bridle. We live in times, where we know more than ever before. However, we feel like we don’t really understand the way things are going anymore. The world is less knowable as a direct result of our attempt to understand it by computational means. A simple example of this is the ‘death of GPS’, describing the state when people follow their navigation system without thinking. This automation bias overrides human intuition as people minds get lazy and follow technologies recommendations.
So, according to Bridle, mankind is architecting a future where choices are only made by technology. He suggests that we have to actively use technology rather than be used by technology. To better combine intuition with technology than fight intuition against technology. This reminded me of our strong traditional value at Porsche, our expertise from more than 70 years of shaping the future of sports cars, our heritage — that we are now combining consciously with new technologies to bring tradition and innovation together and leverage the potential of both.
The art of technology with Sougwen Chung
In 2016, Lee Sedol, a renowned world champion lost the game Go against the AlphaGo computer. By that, one of the last resorts of human stratagem that was said impossible to be solved due to its complexity and human intuition it requires was cracked by an artificial intelligence. This turning point of machine intelligence happened even 10 times sooner than AI experts had predicted by then. For artist Soughwen Chung however, this turning point changed her way of approaching art. In her impressive session at TNW 2019, she explained how she developed a new way of art where robot-human collaboration creates something new. Even though the two have very different views on technology, Sougwen Chung and James Bridle come to the same conclusion: Robots and AI are no danger. Even if they challenge our thinking and ability and change the game, in the end, it is the human behavior and interaction that drives the technological evolution. We have the power to shape our technological future and should be aware of this.
At TNW 2019, we have gained a variety of multifaceted perspectives on what the future holds for us. They showed, once again, that only if we clearly understand and master new technologies and ways of thinking and acting, we can create tomorrow and change the game!
Virginia Pinnisi is Business Analyst Digital Sales, Kersten Stahl is UI Designer, Jan Feiling is Ph.D. Candidate and Christian Knörle is Project Leader Strategy & Innovation at Porsche. For more details, get in touch with us on Twitter (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital), Instagram (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital) and LinkedIn (Porsche Digital Lab Berlin, Porsche Digital). Everything about TNW in Amsterdam can be found here.