My plane touched down in San Francisco several hours after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Like everyone else in the world, I was in a weird state of shock. The world just changed in a very real, very frightening way (maybe for the better, but likely for the worse).
Arriving at Half Moon Bay Resort 30 minutes later, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Techonomy 2016 (the technology innovation conference hosted twice per year by the awesome team at Techonomy). I knew the talk of the event (at least the first day) would be the impact that Trump’s presidency would have on technology innovation, but how those conversations would play out, and whether fellow attendees would openly engage in discussions on the topic, was a mystery.
The official topic of the event was: Man, Machines, and the Network: Toward A Sentient Ecosystem:
The Internet of Things has increased the ability of machines to sense and adapt to changes in its environment, allowing them to interact with human beings (and vice versa), in a seamless manner. It becomes an instrument of empowerment that lives, listens and adapts. But lives, listens and adapts to whom or to what? And to what end?
As ever increasing volumes of data and information are generated, from increasingly interconnected sources, how do we determine what is urgent, accurate and actionable? With the parallel and linked evolution of artificial and human intelligence, VR and AR, new frameworks are required to ensure that insights and correlations from the intelligence within the IoT create a faster-growing, healthier and wealthier global society.
Join us at Techonomy 2016 to better understand the implications of this massive evolution, as we rapidly shift into a world that is responding, intuiting and adjusting to our every move.
How could I resist?
Upon arrival I was very pleased to see, in the first session, open and honest discussion about not only Trump’s potential impact on technology innovation, but Silicon Valley’s role in contributing to the angst that caused this populist backlash. The tone was being set for an event where the conversations would be thoughtful, raw, and compelling. This, coupled with a killer agenda that covered everything from ethics in Artificial Intelligence to global entrepreneurship, made for a special event that I was very happy I attended (huge thank you to Techonomy founder, David Kirkpatrick for the invite and to the entire Techonomy team for producing an incredible experience).
You can watch videos of all sessions, interviews and chats at the event website HERE. There was so much great content (too many to list as my favorites), but below are five videos of talks that particularly stood out for me, including David Kirkpatrick’s chat with Mark Zuckerberg where he announced that Facebook’s news feed had no impact on the presidential election (a comment that kicked up a storm).
1. In Conversation With Mark Zuckerberg
A conversation with Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and David Kirkpatrick, Founder of Techonomy.
2. In Pursuit of the Ethical AI
“Given the inevitable, growing impact of AI on all aspects of society, how do we facilitate responsible AI? How do we even define it?”
4. Internet Giants and The World
“An unprecedented new kind of company is gaining a new breadth of influence. Facebook has data on two billion and its algorithms guide what those people see. Google’s impact is similarly vast. And companies in all sorts of industries entrust their most precious systems and data to Amazon’s AWS. Commerce, communication, and to a good extent our economy now depends on these companies. We trust them, more or less, but as they command so much data, many wonder about oversight. The EU is already seeking restrictions on how a person’s data can be used. How should society best balance this great power against the public welfare?”
PANELISTS: Bill Gurley (General Partner, Benchmark Capital), Marc Rotenberg (President and Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)), Hemant Taneja (Managing Director, General Catalyst Partners). MODERATOR: David Kirkpatrick (Founder and CEO, Techonomy)
5. 180 Shift: Seeing Tomorrow From Space
“We’re in an era of agile aerospace, when a satellite the size of a shoebox can show us things we’ve never seen before. From agriculture and forestry, to business intelligence and defense. How will monitoring everything, every day impact how we live?”
SPEAKER: Will Marshall (Co-founder and CEO, Planet Labs)