Predictions Event

The Power of Predictions

How Intelligent Machines Will Impact Decisions

From the Delphic Oracle to weathermen and demand forecasting, mankind has used predictions to make choices. While the accuracy of prophecies was questionable, decisions in today’s fast-paced world lose their foundations before they’re even made. Yet we stand on the brink of a revolution. With AI on the rise, CEOs, politicians, doctors and even hesitant grooms are bound to reach more informed conclusions. Soon enough, faster and better prediction tools will change entire industries. And they will create new opportunities.

Building on the success of their past conferences on Blockchain and Digital Assistants, IBM Research, Swiss Re Institute, and the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute will jointly analyze yet another fundamental evolution at “The Power of Predictions” conference:

  • Technology and innovation: IBM Research will reveal the latest findings from the forefront of science. It will describe the prospects and boundaries of the new prediction technologies.
  • Business: Swiss Re Institute will depict the consequences of ever better predictions for the financial services industry.
  • Society: GDI will address implications for the consumer. Who will be responsible for our decisions? What happens when technology knows me better than I know myself? And finally, how will our behaviour change once we “know” the future?

Join us on 4 June 2019 at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Rüschlikon near Zurich, and meet thought leaders and decision makers from business, society, and government.



Welcome Coffee

Opening panel

David Bosshart, CEO, Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Rainer Baumann, Chief Information and Digital Officer Swiss Re Management
Dr. Alessandro Curioni, IBM Fellow, VP Europe and Director IBM Research Zurich

Ajay Agrawal, Professor, University of Toronto and Founder, Creative Destruction Lab
The Power of Predictions: How Intelligent Machines Will Impact Decisions


Ran Balicer, Director, Clalit Research Institute
Predictive Care: The Doctor Will See Your Future Now

Martin Weymann, Head Sustainability, Emerging & Political Risk Management, Swiss Re Management
The End of Uncertainty: No Risk, No Insurance?

Michelle Ufford, Engineering Manager, Big Data Tools, Netflix
Gone in 60 Seconds: The Art & Science of Data-Driven Decision Making

James Bridle, artist, technologist and writer
Out of Control: When Machines Make All Decisions

Networking Lunch

Parallel Sessions

GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Predictions in Society
Workshop session
(This workshop session will take place in German and English.)
Health, politics, war – there is hardly an aspect of our world that will remain untouched by algorithmic predictions. These predictions can have a huge impact for individuals, society and business. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss both opportunities and risks with stakeholders before implementing predictive algorithms. Together with "Stiftung Risikodialog", the GDI created a card game to enable a discussion about opportunities and risks of predictive algorithms. Join us in playing the game and exploring possibilities to communicate and discuss the implementation of future technologies.
Jakub Samochowiec, Senior Researcher, GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Introduction and Game Facilitator
Karin Frick, Head Think Tank, Member of the Executive Board, GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Game Facilitator

Matthias Holenstein, CEO, Stiftung Risiko-Dialog St. Gallen
Game Facilitator

Anna-Lena Köng, project manager, Stiftung, Risiko-Dialog St.Gallen
Game Facilitator

Swiss Re Institute
Predictions in Financial Services and Beyond
(This session will take place in English.)
Evangelos Avramakis, Head Digital Ecosystems R&D, Swiss Re Institute
Digital ecosystems and predictions: The good, the bad, and the ugly

We will examine various examples in healthcare, mobility, and society and look at how these sectors take advantage of prediction techniques. We will then discuss the potential implications and limitations for the insurance industry.
Sandra Andraszewicz, Researcher and Project Leader, Behavioral Finance Team, ETH Zurich
The limits of predictability of human financial decisions

About 300 years of research in economics, psychology and mathematics aimed at developing the most accurate models that would help describe, explain and predict human financial decisions. The age of digitalization and Big Data brought a breakthrough that allowed to collect bulk data about our open and intimate behavior. However, algorithms are often blind to human intentions and unrecorded variables, as well as to extreme events. We will discuss cases, in which Big Data fails to correctly predict human behavior related to investment decisions.
Christian Klose, Senior Analytics Professional, Swiss Re Management
Is it possible to predict the next wildfire?

Societal and economic risks of wildfires have become more concerning in recent years, especially in densely populated areas and areas with industrial operations. Wildfires remain one of the least predictable perils due to their uncertainty mainly associated with wildfire ignition triggers, and the lack of knowledge about fire fuel availability, physical setting, and weather. We will look at how Deep Learning can improve the uncertainty in forecasting wildfire occurrence, severity, and temporal and spatial patterns, and how it allows decision makers to reach more informed conclusions faster by predicting wildfire prone regions several months in advance.
Moderated by Daniel Eckhart, Advocate, Swiss Re Institute
IBM Research
Prediction Technologies for Enterprises
This session will take place in English.)
Dorothea Wiesmann, Leading Technologist and Department Head, Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions, IBM Research Zurich
Building fair AI systems for enterprises

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on biases in machine learning (ML) models and the importance of ensuring that the training data is “representative” and “unbiased”. While that is important, such a statement alone is not very actionable for practitioners who are building such models. What does “unbiased” and “representative” mean? “Unbiased” in what “scope”? “Representative” of what “scope”? Who defines that “scope”? These are all questions that we must provide answers for practitioners to build governable AI models. In this session, I’d argue that there is no such a thing as an “unbiased” ML model. So, instead of striving for unbiased ML models, it must state its biases openly.

Anika Schumann, Manager AI for Industries and Services, IBM Research Zurich
Explainable Recommenders

Recommender systems are pervasive in our daily lives as they became cornerstones of most internet scale applications for shopping, travel, entertainment, etc. Yet, most of these systems have been developed as black-boxes, without explaining WHY the system suggests something to a specific user. With recent developments in regulations and privacy requirements around data and AI, users now have the Right to Know and the Right to Contest any data-based decision or recommendation that they may receive. In this session, we will take a quick overview of state-of-the-art research in AI for Explainable Recommenders and highlight some of the key challenges in building and deploying them at enterprise scale.

Abdel Labbi, Distinguished Engineer & RSM, Manager AI Systems, IBM Research Zurich
Real-time Predictions

Predictions are a powerful and pervasive application of narrow AI ranging from equipment failure predictions to demand predictions for fashion to predicting the onset of epileptic seizures. While in some contexts, time – both for training and inference – is not a critical aspect, in others, e.g. for medical complications in an ICU or to prevent cascading equipment damage, real-time prediction, alerting, and action is essential. In this session, we will discuss use cases as well as algorithmic and hardware advancements for significant speed-up for increasingly complex and accurate models.

Anika Schumann is an internationally recognized expert for Artificial Intelligence Diagnosis.  At IBM Research – Zurich she leads a team on Artificial Intelligence for Industries that seeks to predict abnormal behavior of physical systems ahead of time.

Moderated by Chris Sciacca, Communications Manager, Global Labs, IBM Research



Martin Wikelski, Managing Director, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Tracking Wildlife: When Animals Predict Disasters

Thomas Ramge, journalist and author
Data Capitalism: How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing the Economy

Norbert Bolz, Professor of Media Studies, Technical University of Berlin
Artificial Intelligence: Hunting the Black Swan



Ajay Agrawal

Ajay Agrawal

Professor at the University of Toronto. Agrawal is an expert for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In 2012, he founded the Creative Destruction Lab, a successful program for science start-ups. In 2018, Agrawal published his latest book "Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence ".

Alessandro Curioni

Alessandro Curioni

IBM Fellow, VP Europe and Director IBM Research Zurich. Since November 2015 Curioni is leading the research activities for the Watson Internet of Things unit. Curioni is an internationally renowned leader in the area of high-performance computing and computational science. He and his colleagues received the US National Medal for Technology and Innovation in 2008 for IBM's high-performance computers.

Rainer Baumann

Rainer Baumann

Chief Information and Digital Officer at Swiss Re Management. Before joining Swiss Re, Baumann was a lecturer at ETH Zurich, Junior Partner at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Head of Network Security at United Security Provider. Baumann holds a PhD in Information Technology from ETH Zurich.

Michelle Ufford

Michelle Ufford

Head of the big data tools engineering team at Netflix, where she’s responsible for platform innovation and usability tooling for Netflix’s industry-leading data platform. Previously, she led data engineering, data management, and data platform architecture at GoDaddy. Michelle is also a published author, patented developer, and award-winning open source contributor.

Norbert Bolz

Norbert Bolz

Professor of Media Studies at the Technical University of Berlin, zeitgeistphilosopher and trend analyst. Bolz is an important thinker on cultural development and author of numerous publications on media, marketing and communication.

Ran D. Balicer

Ran D. Balicer

Director of Clalit Research Institute; Director, Innovation Division, at Clalit Health Services; Professor at Ben-Gurion University. At Clalit, Balicer is responsible for strategic planning of organization-wide interventions including the introduction of innovative data-driven tools into practice. In his role as a professor, Balicer investigates clinical databases.

James Bridle

James Bridle

British artist and writer. Bridle’s artworks have been exhibited worldwide, most recently in London's Victoria and Albert Museum. His writing on literature, culture and networks has appeared in many publications including “Wired”, the “Atlantic” and the “Guardian”. In summer 2018 Bridle published the book "New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future".

Martin Wikelski

Martin Wikelski

Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology; Honorary Professor at University of Konstanz. Wikelski is also the director of Icarus, an international cooperation for the observation of animals from space. Wikelski has received several awards for his scientific work, including the Max Planck Research Prize in 2016. He became elected member of the Leopoldina, the German national science academy, in 2014.

Thomas Ramge

Thomas Ramge

Technology correspondent for the German business magazine “brand eins”; journalist for “The Economist”; author of “Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data”. Ramges’ texts have been honored with several awards, including the getAbstract International Book Award and the “Financial Times” Business Book Award.

Martin Weymann

Martin Weymann

Head Sustainability, Emerging and Political Risk Management at Swiss Re Management. Previously, Weymann was Senior Risk Officer for Latin America and Delegate of Swiss Re to the Institute of International Finance in Washington DC. 

David Bosshart

David Bosshart

Dr. David Bosshart is CEO of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute for Economic and Social Studies. He holds a PhD in philosophy, is the author of numerous international publications and a worldwide sought-after speaker. His work focuses on the future of consumption, societal transformation, digitisation, management and culture, globalisation and political philosophy.

Speakers Breakout Sessions

Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Swiss Re Institute
IBM Research
jakub samochowiec

Jakub Samochowiec

Jakub Samochowiec is a Senior Researcher at the GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. He analyses social, economic, and technological changes with a focus on decision, old age, media and consumption.

Abdel Labbi

Abdel Labbi

IBM Distinguished Engineer, Distinguished RSM and Manager, AI Systems at IBM Research. Labbi is an expert in AI, big data analytics, scalable engineering and business optimization. He currently leads a Global Research and Engineering team which develops and deploys bleeding edge enterprise-scale, distributed data and AI platforms. In addition, he and his team design and deliver enterprise-scale cognitive solutions to IBM clients. The innovative aspects of Labbis work are demonstrated by numerous patents and awards.

Karin Frick

Karin Frick

Karin Frick is Head of Think Tank and a Member of the Executive Board at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. As an economist, she researches trends and countertrends in business, society and consumption.

Dorothea Wiesmann

Dorothea Wiesmann

Leading technologist and Department Head of Cognitive Computing and Industry Solutions at IBM Research Zurich. In this role Dorothea Wiesmann directs a research team that explores AI, deep learning, blockchain, computational systems biology and pathology, computational sciences and simulations, robotics, security, quantum-safe cryptography, and data privacy. She has authored and co-authored more than 70 conference journal publications and holds numerous patents.

Matthias Holenstein

Matthias Holenstein

Managing Director of the Risk Dialogue Foundation. Holenstein has been working in risk and crisis management since 1998. He studied environmental science at ETH Zurich and subsequently worked in the insurance sector and as an advisor on technical and security risks. Since 2005, he has been working in the Risk Dialogue Foundation on the risks associated with infrastructures, energy and networks, as well as on the methodological aspects of risk perception, assessment and communication.

Anna-Lena Koeng

Anna-Lena Köng

Project manager at the Risk Dialogue Foundation. Köng works on projects focusing on risk perception and human behaviour. She studied social, organisational and economic psychology at the University of Zurich, with a minor in journalism and communication sciences.

Chris Sciacca

Sciacca Chris


Communications Manager, Global Labs, IBM Research. Chris Sciacca is leading a team that carries the responsibility of all communications activities for IBM Research in Asia, South America, Europe and Africa. He recently published „Building Global Innovation Ecosystems through Public Private Partnerships: How IBM has Leveraged Academic Collaboration for 70+ Years (Elsevier)“.

Florian Inhauser

Florian Inhauser


Journalist and moderator. Florian Inhauser presents the main newscast at Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SRF and he is also the anchor of the foreign news magazine «#SRFglobal». With a master in history and anglistics he speaks English fluently. He has also an excellent reputation as an international correspondent, covering conflicts and crises around the globe.


20% early bird discount until 25 March 2019: CHF 960

10% early bird discount until 30 April 2019: CHF 1080

Full price: CHF 1200 from 1 May 2019

Price for startups: 450 CHF (Request for voucher code:

The conference fee includes all food and beverages. Participants registering less than two weeks before the event can pay by credit card only.



German/English (simultaneous interpretation)

Changes to the programme

The programme is subject to change. If an event does not take place, fees will be refunded. Further claims are ruled out.


If you are unable to attend, please let us have your cancellation in writing. The fee will be reimbursed on cancellation thirty or more days before the event. After this term and until five full working days prior to the event we will charge 75% of the fee. In the event of later cancellations we will charge the full participation fee. Substitute participants welcome.

Hotel reservation

To benefit from special rates, please use the following email adresses and refer to the following code: Predictions2019

Hotel Sedartis, Thalwil:

Hotel Belvoir, Rüschlikon:


There will be a free shuttle bus service between the GDI and the Hotel Sedartis Thalwil and Thalwil train station.





GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Langhaldenstrasse 21
8803 Rüschlikon