Extraordinary times require new (event) formats: The international conference network DLD launched a new interactive online event series called DLD Sync featuring one selected DLD speaker in each episode.
Taking place in Munich this weekend, the 14th DLD has “Reconquer!” as its slogan. As DLD founder Steffi Czerny explained in her opening speech, this is less a declaration of war than a call to stop and think. Over the past years, digitalisation has quickly influenced every aspect of our society. The time has now come to remember our values, to recapture our optimism and trust.
“Digital Wild West”
In his opening keynote on the DLD stage, Elliot Schrage (Facebook) was surprisingly open and self-critical. Facebook has received a lot of criticism in the past year; the spread of fake news on the platform has made users critical and suspicious. Schrage emphasised that, for example, around 99% of all messages uploaded by ISIS via Facebook were quickly deleted. However, he also conceded that Facebook has not been quick enough to identify fake profiles intended for political manipulation. Nevertheless, Facebook is no “Digital Wild West”, and he vowed to improve. Facebook needs to regain its users’ trust.
Digital Cold War
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also appeared at this year’s DLD, and on Saturday evening he warned of a technological race. Europe is competing not only with the USA, but also with China. Warning attendees, he asked: “Do we want to be spectators in a new Cold War for technological leadership? Or do we want to provide better answers than before?”
Dreams of the future
The future may not yet have happened, but author Andrew Keen offers solutions to problems generated by the digital transformation. He lent the title of his book to a DLD panel with Burda CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen: “How to Fix The Future”. Click here to watch a video of the panel session.
“Our consumers’ passion for lifestyle and everything that makes life better is part of our company’s DNA. This is why we like to invest in start-ups that focus on and are passionate about this area”, said Martin Weiss (Board Member at Hubert Burda Media) in a panel discussion with Howard Morgan (B Capital), Maximilian Kuss (EMH) and Frederic Court (Felix Capital). Entrepreneurial legend Yossi Vardi (DLD Chairman), who has himself invested in around 86 companies, moderated the session.
With a beaming smile, Brendan Blumer (block.one) took to the DLD stage with Christian Angermayer (Apeiron Investment Group). Having already written a piece of blockchain history, Blumer has every reason to be happy. His EOS tokens, which he launched last June, catapulted him into the top ten cryptocurrencies and are making him a fortune.
More than a cryptocurrency
Blumer emphasised that when most people think of blockchain, they think of cryptocurrencies; however, this technology can do so much more. Blockchain will truly revolutionise the internet, allowing content and social media interactions to be transmitted securely.
Meltem Demirors (Digital Currency Group), Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures) and Oliver Bussmann (Crypto Valley) also took part in the “Blockchain & Crypto Killing Venture Capital” panel.
Smart cities and air taxis
The “Reconquer (Smart) Cities” panel at DLD Munich 18 considered how technology can enrich urban life. Investor and author David Rowan discussed the issue with Francesca Bria (City of Barcelona), Jaana Remes (McKinsey Global Institute) and Daniel Wiegand (CEO of Lilium). According to Francesca Bria, we must focus on citizens’ needs, not the needs of technology. Autonomous mobility, using data and artificial intelligence, and changing our own behaviour will be central topics of the future.
Before the discussion, Daniel Wiegand presented the Lilium Jet, an electric air taxi that aims to enable air travel on demand. "It’s the same price as an Uber, but with 300km/h of speed and a range of 300 km,” he explained.
Mary Lou Jepsen (Openwater) is one of the world’s 100 most influential people according to “Time” and can read thoughts: to be more precise, she has developed a magnetic resonance imaging device that will allow her to transmit thoughts in future. Today, MRIs can indicate which words or images a person is thinking about. The DLD audience was mesmerised by her visions of the future.
Waking up each day with pride
“You have given a voice to so many women. Your attitude is remarkable. You can wake up each day with pride”. With these words, actor Sibel Kekilli presented the DLD Impact Award to Rose McGowan for her dedication in the #metoo debate. The American actor was visibly moved as she accepted the award and called out to the audience: “I never want to say the word ‘woman’ again. I never want to say the word ‘man’ again. I never want to say the word ‘gender’ again.” McGowan wishes for a future in which we are all equal.
Watch more videos from the conference on the DLD livestream: www.dld-conference.com/dld18