>TOP 10 Insights<
By Tommy McCubbin
The Blockchain is maturing from a concept that simply
powered Bitcoin, into something that has potential to shape
how we live.
The Blockchain thrives when there are transactions of any kind
that require transparency, trust and absolute security.
We heard from Horizon State Founder Jamie Skella, who is
building on the Blockchain to power a better Democracy.
Security, transparency and trust all haunt the current voting
system, and when his vision is realised will make voting and
campaigns a much cheaper, easier and authentic process..
Another promising application was with Australian Startup,
Power Ledger, a peer-to-peer marketplace for renewable
energy. The household batteries that our solar panels charge
have the ability to store more than we use, so we can trade
and sell that back to the grid. The Blockchain is a perfect way
to host these transactions, without requiring the heavy and
expensive hand of a third party supplier.
1 “Now Australia doesn’t have to play
catch up [in tech] with America. We are
all equal if we get on the blockchain
train. It is the next internet. It is the
authentication layer the internet has
Editor-In-Chief, Tech Crunch
How we interact with computing now doesn’t require a screen.
We can ask Siri anything, we can hop out of an Uber without
tapping a card, and we can have our eyes scanned at Airports.
Cecelia Ambros gave us an insight in her Amazon’s ambition to
become part of our households. As voice is fast becoming the
new way we converse with machines, and Amazon is driving a
rapid innovation in its Alexa and Echo products. Amazon’s
ambition to integrate into our home is set to give a whole new
way to shop.
For example, If we run out of toothpaste, our AI Assistant can
listen to us calling from the bathroom, and make the order for
us. This poses a question for brands, ‘now an AI chooses for us,
where does our brand get a chance to promote itself?’.
The marketplace for buying ‘words’, ‘statements’ and ‘phrases’
is bring a whole new dimension to the AdWords media model
Google has pioneered.
2 “Now a brand can buy the phrase ‘How
do I remove a stain?’ And a brand such
as Tide Washing powder can buy it, and
oﬀer their product and the solution.”
Founder, Fruitpunch Projects
Creative Chaos Cecilia Ambros – Head of Design Research, Amazon
How many times have we read articles saying ‘Everyone’s job
will be replaced by AI in the year 20… blah, blah, blah’?. That is
true to an extent, but the key message left out is there will be
a whole new world of industries and careers for us to exploit.
We should enthusiastically delegate the mundane tasks of our
jobs to machines, opening up our time and head space to
tackle, the bigger more complex problems facing us tomorrow.
One technology that has become best practice very quickly
are chat bots, which are mastering ﬁelding and directing
incoming customer calls. Not only is the language and tone of
the bots sounding more human, they can instantly translate
any language and understand mood and stress level.
So let the robots take the call, and get on with thinking of
3 “AI is already helping many professions
be smarter and more creative.
Ultimately it's about enhancing the
IBM Fellow, AI Tech, IBM Research
Automate the boring
tasks, and get
The ﬁrst Industrial Revolution was fuelled by steam, and then the
second was petroleum. Now, the third is powered by data. This is
the dawn of a whole new way of living. According to some, we
have experience the ’The Internet of Broken Things’ - but now the
network is maturing, and the hundreds of billions of sensors
around the world are connecting, and sharing valuable data,
fuelling our species next major transformation.
As sensors can be placed in virtually anything, we are seeing
them move beyond gimmicky trials to invisible hardware that is
saving lives. Microsoft’s Rita Arrigo discussed how aged care is
one ﬁeld being transformed. People with Dementia in care can
now wear socks with sensors that trigger proximity alerts and
activate door locks when they wander oﬀ, saving lives, and
allowing staﬀ to direct their attention to other people in need.
4The dawn of
the 3rd Industrial
Inspired by Rita Arrigo, Chief Digital Advisor, Microsoft
What is real anymore? Not the news. Not our friend’s lives on
Instagram. Not the brands who donate back to charity while
manufacturing tonnes of clothing in third-world warehouses.
A panel made up of the diﬀerent worlds of Agency Creatives,
Brand Owners, Inﬂuencers and Publishers discussed how
important (and rare) authenticity is. Myki Slonim from Vice
Australia told the story of ’The Shed Of Dulwich’, where a guy in
London created a fake restaurant on Trip Advisor and hyped it to
the #1 restaurant in London. What this really proved: humans
have always bought into hype, but the internet has made that
phenomenon global and instantaneous. Check out the
documentary here (https://www.facebook.com/VICE/videos/
For a brand to not only survive, but thrive, it needs to have a
purpose that is declared and honoured from the inside out.
a rare commodity
“People aren’t buying products - they’re
buying people. The brands of tomorrow
are going oﬄine and oﬀering
experiences and services.”
Senior Editor, Digital Media & Marketing, WGSN
Some businesses have legacy processes and models that are
decades old, from a time when tomorrow was predictable and
steady, and the shape of business was vertical. Now entire
industries can be ﬂipped in a couple of years, with rapid
innovation being the only survival method.
Grant Petty of BlackMagic Design, a producer of ﬁlm equipment,
hosted How The Ideology Of Business Destroys Creativity. When
his company discovers a problem, their company culture runs at
it. He deﬁnes a problem as an opportunity for change, not a
threat to his team or his business.
Amazon’s Ambros supports a similar approach of more creative
thinking in a corporate environment. Her company’s culture
avoids linear thinking that focusses on a speciﬁc ‘drop dead’
outcome, but instead looks to make constant progress toward a
6Creativity is the
only way to grow
“Creativity is not a talent, strength or
process to go through. It’s something a
bit bigger than that. It’s a state of
Head of Design Research, Amazon
“Of course [problem solving and
creativity] are more important, but if
you can’t code make sure your best
friend or business partner can code,”
Facebook continues to dominate the media landscape with over
70% of us getting our daily news from the platform. Although
Zuckerberg is adamant his company is NOT a media company, and
merely a tech company, the global inﬂuence of the social
network and its algorithms is undeniable. Michael Short, Chief
Editorial Director of The Age says, “if it looks like beer, smells like
beer, and tastes like beer… it’s probably beer”, and Facebook by
deﬁnition is absolutely a media company. As soon as it is
declared a media company, certain sanctions will be in place and
regulation will strip back the leverage of their algorithms.
Tommy McCubbin hosted a live show of his award winning
podcast, Future Sandwich. The panel discussed The Future of
News, covering topics ranging from; how technology cannot solve
#fakenews, how the Blockchain may be the revenue creation
platform media companies desperately need, and what all this
means for the profession of a journalist.
7Facebook is a media
company, not a tech
“This year we will start to see regulation
applied to some of the tech giants and
their algorithms. They have too much
inﬂuence and are having global impact”
Founder, Future Sandwich Podcast
Artiﬁcial Intelligence was a hot topic across the festival, but
some examples showed how it is moving beyond code, and
becoming a creative thinker, and potentially even our a lover.
IBM’s John Smith spoke about how he used AI to scour 100 horror
movie trailers, and devised the ingredients that go into making
the scariest possible version of the 2016 Morgan Trailer. Now for
editors, they have a preselected library of the most compelling
frames to work from. The only risk, if we all follow this him sheet,
trailer will start feeling like more the same.
It was also debated that as AI becomes more sophisticated, it
has the potential to charm us into a romance. If Pixar can make
us feel something for a desk lamp, then I am sure anything is
possible as we ride the exponential growth curve of Artiﬁcial
8AI is growing up,
and it is scary
and sexy “If you think about ﬁlmmaking - 99% of
the work is actually very mundane. It’s
going through hundreds of hours of
video in some cases to arrive at the
core pieces to use. So there’s still a
very good reason to use technology as
an assistant here, rather than replace
the human in the loop.”
IBM Fellow, AI Tech, IBM Research
VR hasn’t fulﬁlled the expectations of becoming the mass
adopted platform it was once hyped to be. The technology is at
an outstanding level, but it has only been adopted by a few niche
areas. The growth is predominantly in Gaming and Porn with an
estimated 20 million units being shipped even with a recent drop
Liminal VR was a startup on show, which focuses on shifting the
mood and wellbeing of people undergoing a stressful experience,
such as surgery or rehabilitation. Their tech is based on
immersive colours and sound that have proven to lower the heart
rate, and increase the distraction from the reality outside the
The practical use cases for Augmented Reality are stacking up,
with education applications and technology becoming more
ubiquitous thanks to the things such as Apple’s ARKit.
is eclipsing that
“In a world where the average person
spends upwards of 3 hours a day
watching TV and 40 minutes on
Facebook, it’s hard to ﬁnd anybody who
even uses VR weekly.”
The build up to a movie release can span up to 12 months of
teasers and trailers. Netﬂix are challenging that model by
launching the promotion and the content series at the same
time. If you see the trailer, you can instantly watch the show. No
waiting for months to go to the movies. It poses an interesting
question; do we need the build up? Is instant access more
important than hype?
The movies and shows are being pumped out faster as the
technology reaches an unprecedented level of creative control.
Vince Baertsoen from The Mill can now visualise VFX in a frame as
his crew shoots the ﬁlm. This allows better creative decisions to
made faster, giving us better stories and more of them.
Bring it on.
10 ‘Before you used to shoot your plates
and do VFX later, now we can everything
on set in real time.”
Group CGI Director, The Mill
starting to move
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