While the IAA premiered in the Bavarian capital Munich, around 200 invited guests gathered at the BMW World, to discuss one of the most pressing topics of our time: sustainability.
DLD All Stars - three days, 39 sessions, 57 prominent speakers and 7,500 registered participants. But what did we actually learn from panelists like Biontech CEO Uğur Şahin, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales or President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen? One thing we know for sure: crises bring us together. And the cohesion of the DLD community was transported from the studio in Munich to the screens all around the world. Normally, the DLD community would have met for the big conference in Munich, but the Corona virus has changed our world and will continue to do so. These continuous changes were reflected by the topics that the DLD All Stars addressed. Here are our five key take-aways:
It was November 2020, when Uğur Şahin, CEO and founder of Biontech, and his team made the world's first breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: In a record time, they had researched a new vaccine that achieved more than 90 percent efficacy in a large clinical trial. For more than a decade, the company has been working on the development of mRNA vaccines to fight cancer - and that is how they have also found a solution against the Corona virus. Şahin shared further details on this journey during his DLD All Stars session.
"We had started to make a vaccine for a single individual and we ended up making vaccine for the whole mankind."
Uğur Şahin, CEO and founder of Biontech
Watch the full session with Uğur Şahin here.
The pandemic has hit Europe's economy hard, but at the same time it offers an opportunity for a more sustainable future. One project pursuing this goal is the "New European Bauhaus" presented by Ursula von der Leyen. The "New European Bauhaus" is an ecological, economic and cultural project that combines design, sustainability and investment to support the European Green Deal. One approach is to rethink architecture: instead of constructing buildings out of concrete, which support climate change due to their high energy consumption, more focus should be placed on wood. "Every month we build another New York City on all of Earth," says architect Bjarke Ingels. Using wood can "create a huge global carbon sink," climate scientist John Schellnhuber added. He further explained that up to 30 percent of global emissions of CO² could be captured using this technique. For more info, click here.
Another industry that needs to become more sustainable is the car industry. Oliver Zipse (BMW) said: "Our ambition is to build the greenest electric vehicle in our industry." Marc Berg (Free Now) went even further: he expects to see flying taxis in cities sooner than autonomous driving cars. He makes an exception for automated vehicles that drive in their own lanes.
"But full autonomous cars on a personal level that navigate through high intense travel - that's going to take a couple more years."
Marc Berg, CEO Free Now Group
Florian Reuter (Volocopter) commented that there could be widespread options for fully autonomous flights within the next five to 10 years. The full sessions can be found here (Oliver Zipse) and here (Mark Berg & Florian Reuter).
The use of social media is higher than ever. But: "Networks are like junk food for the mind," Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales pointed out. You have to limit your social media consumption, which he is trying to teach people with his company WT.Social: Users are encouraged to think twice before posting anything and expected to engage in civil discourse, instead of virtually arguing. The pandemic, however, generally led to a rapidly advancing digitalization. Many unexperienced users now rely on online services: "Therefore, we have to upgrade our security measures", said Werner Vogels (CTO Amazon). Internet attacks are becoming more frequent which is why companies need to take a broader approach to data security. More information on the development of social media can be found here.
Social media has also a massive impact on hate speech and the loss of trust in democracies, according to experts. " What the world needs is for us to realize that an atom bomb has gone off in our information ecosystem," said Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, alluding to this year's DLD theme, "What the World Needs Now." The goal should be to "become more immune to our own hackability," explained "The Social Dilemma" star Tristan Harris. Technologies should focus much more on empowering the mind, rather than harming it. People should also re-learn to inform, as author Elif Shafak explained, "We forgot to say, ‘I don’t know.'" More information here (Elif Shafak) and here (Maria Ressa).