Key-takeaways from the 15th European Trend Day

From attention hacking to artificial intelligence that recognises human emotions better than we humans do: at the GDI Trend Day 2019, thought leaders and innovative founders discussed the new interfaces of communication. A summary.

Aleksandra Przegalinska

David Bosshart: “We are capable to do more things, but increasingly know less what we want.”

We should no longer optimise, but have the courage to come up with something new. Technology today is a skill that seeks a will: We are capable to do more things, but increasingly know less what we want. The brain will become the most important interface in the coming years. If you lose access to the interface, you lose access to the consumer. Question: Where does a human interface bring added customer value, where not? The world is not becoming more human, simply because we are not exploiting the potential of robots. In the future, we will experience two worlds: "real" reality and reality on screens. Despite today's networks, truly innovative cooperations have become rare because we only deal with our peers in filter bubbles.

Tim Wu: “Convenience, attention, data: these are the monopoly makers of our time.”

Industrial competition in the 21st century means having people lose control over their attention and lose time online. Many startups think they have an incredible product, but launch and don’t get anywhere because attention is missing. Attention is the ultimate gatekeeper for all commerce. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Co. use powerful techniques for hacking our attention. The battle for our attention is about which platforms people visit, where they check in (and where they come back to), and which platform they become addicted to. There’s a new counter movement in the US where people start to leave Facebook and Google, and speak about how much effort has been used to make people addictive. It is the battle: you vs. the worlds most talented engineers. Convenience decides everything. Inconvenient options will die. Convenience, attention, data: these are the monopoly makers of our time. We have to take strong measures in order to keep some attention for ourselves.

Aleksandra Przegalinska: “We want systems that are going to avoid bias.”

Agritech, investment, legal, logistics, everything is transformed by AI. AI applications we know today like Alexa will in future be more of holistic devices, not just for shopping. Go Champion Alpha Go Zero is going to do other things, not only play Go in future. But we yet have to overcome the «Uncanny Valley». People are afraid of robots if they look too much like humans. People’s arousal level is much higher with humanoide chatbots/avatars than with simple chatbots. Another fact Przegalinska encountered: chatbots change their mind, related to persons they are talking to. Dimensions of trust in a chatbot: ability, privacy, anthropomorphism, transparency, predictability, control. We want systems that are going to avoid bias. Healthcare is one of the most important areas that AI can revolutionise in the coming years.

Joerg Zuber: “Noonoouri is like a sister to me, I just have to take care of her now.”

Eight years ago, Joerg Zuber drew the digital character Noonoouri for the first time. For seven years he unsuccessfully advertised for a cooperation with various investors. His breakthrough came at Fashion Week 2018. Since then, Noonouri has won 250,000 followers on Instagram, now works with brands such as Dior and Versace, and adorns fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue. Stars like Kim Kardashian and Naomi Campbell support Noonouri because she is not a "real" competitor. Zuber and his team need up to three days for an Instagram post and two to eight weeks for a video animation.

Roman Hirsbrunner: “Data brings people and brands closer together.”

Communication is interaction. Interaction needs infrastructure and relevance. Relevance derives from closeness, data creates closeness. For a long time, the infrastructure for interaction was the place where we were. This changes fundamentally: automation, dynamics, hyper-transparency, hyper-individualisation. Data brings people and brands closer together. Words lose importance, data gain importance, e.g. through intent-marketing.

Carl Guyenette: “This is about taking theatre to the next level. And cinema. And stage experience.”

Guyenette builds virtual reality worlds in London in which people travel back in time. The immersive experience takes the participants into a world where they solve puzzles and interact with holograms. Guyenette financed his first project himself, and he is now so successful that he works with investors.

Tim Llewellyn: “AI can outperform the ability of humans to predict emotions on people’s faces.”

Emotion analytics use large scale machine learning. Large bodies of examples are needed in order to teach computers six primary emotions. AI can outperform the ability of humans to predict emotions on people’s faces. Marketing companies can use these analyses to see how audiences respond to advertising. In healthcare pain expressions in non-communicative patients (dementia, children) can be read. In cars: driver monitoring systems for saftely and personalization can be installed. In banking: robo-advisors support the banking industry in advising prospective creditors. If there is a good end user benefit, applications see more rapid adoption.

Jowan Österlund: “Is there a better place to have control than in your hand?”

Jowan Österlund carries his passport, wallet and keys under his skin, stored on an implanted chip. The data is saved on next generation blockchain, so it is secure and cannot be used by third parties. With his company "Biohax International" he offers a digital identity that can be used globally. The Internet of Things becomes the "Internet of us". Biometrics are lousy alternatives. If iris or fingerprint data gets stolen, they hardly can be changed and are lost forever. Chips are easier to change than your face.

Olga Yurkova: “Share facts, not emotions”

Olga Yurkovas founded her blog against Russian fake news during the Crimean annexation in 2014. Today it is available in 13 languages. The independent project has exposed more than 1000 fake news so far, most of which, according to Yurkova, are of Russian origin. Russian propaganda has become more sophisticated. Thousands of online profiles are used to spread fake news. When facts are wrong, wrong decisions are made. Yurkova's recommendation: "Share facts, not emotions. Fake news can destroy lives." Accordingly, the fight against fake news can save lives. The information war cannot be won by stopfake.org, but it can raise awareness of the problem.

David J. Linden: “Humans have at least nine senses, arguably more.”

Our senses are not built to give us the most accurate representation of the external world. We are peering through a keyhole of sensory space. Our senses are built to be exquisitely sensitive to social information. Perception and emotion are always intertwined. Our perception seeks to create a useful and coherent narrative. Ten dollars won can be good or bad, depending on how much our neighbor has won. Humans have at least nine senses. These can also be directed inwards like the perception of hunger.

José del R. Millán: “BCIs will predict actions the user will do (or not do), and decode the user’s cognitive state.”

José del R. Millán is researching brain-machine interfaces that make it possible for physically impaired people to control robots. Intelligent neuroprosthetics: if there is an error the user makes, there is a decoder that knows the right action and corrects it. AI guesses what user wants to do. The main limitation today is in the sensors of the wheelchairs that are challenged by changing light.