A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the digital innovation summit Solstice FWD 2018: Being Human. It was incredible. Although everyone enjoys walking away with some cool freebies (as seen below), I truly had an educational, inspiring and genuinely fun day hearing intelligent speakers, networking with other attendees and getting hands-on interactive experience with new technology.
The day was filled with 20+ Ted Talk-like speaker sessions, networking and interactions with new technology. The speakers were divided into five themes: Being Human, Engagement, Inspiration, Transformation and Innovation. These speakers have various backgrounds in data and technology, innovation, psychology and other fields in both entrepreneurship and academia. They take their life experiences to the next level through inspiring and influencing positive impacts on the world.
One of the sessions at Solstice FWD included a virtual reality game with a flower garden that requires you to work with the audience. You “hold” a watering hose and on screen the audience can see which areas in the garden are flowers and which are weeds. The audience must direct you to water the flowers and avoid the weeds. This was a great way to show the partnership between people and technology.
I also had a lovely conversation about my fitness interests with a robot. She was friendly and very comical in referencing current athletes and trends. At the end, she provided a fitness program recommendation. Although robotic in her tone and speech pattern, her syntax was very human-like.
The most impressive program, however, was an AI facial-recognition program. The program analyzes your reactions to movie and music video clips from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Then it analyzes your company’s recent twitter activity (your company’s tweets, likes and retweets, and interactions with other companies). As a result, it groups you into one of the following from the picture below and recommends three other people with the same results attending the event that you should network with.
I was identified as one of the “Cool Kids” (and got a sticker to prove it).
These highlights are just the tip of the iceberg. Overall, I had an amazing experience at Solstice FWD. Although it was fun, more importantly it was eye-opening and inspirational.
One speaker brought a bike on stage that was engineered to turn the opposite way of the handlebars. She explained that sometimes humans can fear learning things a different way if a practice is already established, but we shouldn’t restrain ourselves to this way of thinking.
Humans are capable of more than we believe if we work together as a community to use and advance the resources we have. The real restraints are motivation and time.
Movies and novels about AI turning evil have provided entertainment and perhaps instilled a genuine fear in society. However, technology can better ourselves and our world with positive innovation and work.
If you attended or plan to attend Solstice FWD in the future, I’d love to hear your thoughts about your experience! Drop us a line in the comments.