For the Romanian version, please read here.
UPGRADE 100 exceeded the expectations of digitization enthusiasts this year and was in line with the experience of the previous versions, known to the public as iCEE.fest.
Kondiment and Majoritas teams contributed to the event's agenda, with a unique proposition for improving the way technology is adopted by companies, political organizations and citizens. While a relatively large part of our news was presented to the participants in a private room, required by the terms of the festival, we are now able to reveal some exclusive behind the scenes.
We are talking about technologies that could have a disruptive impact on how we perceive and solve political, social and economic issues.
The future looks bright, not just for artificial intelligence
This year, the event focused primarily on innovation, digital content, online security, IA and robotics, the future redefined by emerging technologies, the measurement of brand power in the digital environment and VR / AR.
Majoritas was in the vanguard once again by presenting its own tech products. Salim Ismail, the guest STAR of the event, launched the book "Exponential Organizations" in Romanian and shared his vision of business models. He also inspired the audience to imagine new directions of evolution of companies and societies in a context of abundance generated by exponential growth of access to information, data, technologies and solutions to the most pressing issues of humanity.
Just like in a future episode of mankind, which we would have otherwise experienced only through cinematic productions, UPGRADE 100 made us acquainted with Escu, an active representative of the artificial intelligence developed locally. Escu dazzled us with a friendly humanoid look, jokes and a British accent, but also with its resemblance to WALL-E.
Wrapped in plastic and iron, Escu boasts a vocabulary of over 3,000 words. It effortlessly combines them into his interactions with humans. Is it just machine learning or perhaps complex thinking processes? For Escu, only the Cloud is the limit – it can work in the supermarket, the factory, the museum, newsroom or even Hollywood.
Online advertising gets a new voice
Our colleagues from the online marketing department could not miss out on presentations from Google and Facebook. It has long been discussed how machine learning and AI will disrupt the status quo and how automation will be the new way to manage online marketing campaigns.
The artificial intelligence used as an SEM tool can be applied in segmentation, retargeting, monitoring and analysis, among others. We wonder to what extent this automation will replace the human workforce. Too bad we did not get to ask Escu. It would have been delighted to answer that marketing / PPC specialists will continue to make an important contribution to valorising the digital field. Human talent is still needed to understand the user behaviour and experience in the online medium and develop a human-centred design (creative approach to complex problem solving).
Another trend that has been around for a few years seems to take a new form. According to Cisco, by 2021, 82% of IP (Internet) traffic will be for video content. Therefore, SEM campaigns focused on live video or voice search optimization will bring added value to the consumer.
We won’t develop start-ups, we will develop ExOs
Although he considers that traditional organizations and world’s governments are not ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salim Ismail trusts that small countries (like Romania) and urban communities will pave the way for innovation. Indeed, with an advantage for Romanians, whom the founder of Singularity University considers a bit "crazier" than most people. Why? Probably because he saw the Romanian ingenuity at work and noticed its creative potential.
In front of a room with more than 800 participants and attended live by another 500 in a hall next door, Salim lsmail put forth conclusions and facts that urged many to reconsider the power of scalability and adaptation of an institution or community. The larger the institution, the more "its immune system" will prevent it from being open to risk and taking exponential steps through disruptive solutions.
Salim Ismail has coined the concept of "exponential organization" or "ExO", which applies to companies such as Uber, Spotify, Netflix, Waze or Amazon. There are some basic criteria that determine if your organization can grow exponentially. You can find all these answers in the book "Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it).
Innovation gravitates around a city, not a country
Singapore is one of the best examples of an exponential and scalable city. Although it is a city-state, which does not own natural resources and has a very limited physical space, Singapore is the definition of a community that has developed exponentially.
Radu Puchiu, founder and CEO of H.appyCities, introduced us to an ecosystem solution for a happier and prosperous city life. City halls or public institutions can create a more effective dialogue with the inhabitants of a city, regardless of its size or location, while accelerating the socio-economic development of a city. Learn more about how H.appyCities products can help your city grow exponentially.
During his presentation in the VIP Stage, Radu revealed that he was in negotiations with global cities (outside of Romania) interested in the H.appyCities solution. So, keep an eye on us and let yourself be inspired by solutions that will put new cities on the global map of urban happiness.
Democracy can be democratized
How about looking at democracy and technology as a synergy, not as an antithesis? The UDemocracy stage, organized by Majoritas Academy, welcomed speakers such as Salim Ismail, Lucian Despoiu, Radu Puchiu, Dan Kanninen, Vlad Haţieganu, Michael Bossetta, Cătălin Dumitru, Sorin Mândruţescu and Marcus Shingles. The speakers offered their audacious visions, ranging from proposals of Blockchain-based voting systems to collecting personal data ethically, or switching from a representative democracy to a direct one.
By all means, the conclusions of each participant are biased. But apparently, as Salim believes, we can think there is a prospect of switching to governance without a government by adopting emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning or Blockchain. Perhaps many skeptics believe that this is a far-fetched future. But these ideas and concepts have already entered the media and literature, and people are talking freely about such a possible evolution.
The tech ecosystem that Majoritas and its partners are developing will have to consider several aspects of the changing nature of the contract that citizens and their chosen representatives would be willing to sign. Exponential organizations have a duty to help stimulate an upgraded democracy that we are bound to enjoy together.
Sharing information is caring about our future
The first UGRADE 100 edition proved to be a positive sum of ideas and events. This article only scratches the surface of what we experienced at the largest digital transformation festival in Central and Eastern Europe. We took home a copy of Salim's book, launched with passion and attention by a dedicated Kondiment team.
We would like to share with you the vision of an author and businessman who has contributed to the development of many scalable global start-ups. We strongly believe in the potential of his ideas meant to help local entrepreneurs better understand the mechanism behind an exponential organization.
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