From a virtual Vizrt studio produced together with Kulturoperatørene, mcb tech .21 was broadcasted to 19 countries. Using advanced media technology the audience witnessed CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent, Jake Tapper being "teleported" from Washington to the studio in Media City Bergen. In a conversation with Dyveke Buanes from NRK Vestland, he presented the democratic challenges when news media are being framed as the enemy of the people by former president Trump.
The conference gave a broad perspective of how technology might change our everyday life and work. As we see artificial intelligence replace both blue and with collar jobs, we can certainly wonder where it all might end. Robots and algorithms make fewer mistakes than humans. And they are increasingly sophisticated. And smart.
From a virtual studio produced by Vizrt, this year's hosts, Rea Parashar (NCE Finance Innovation) and Anne Jacobsen (Media City Bergen), set the scene right from the start;
– As always, we are heading for the future, and algorithms are a big part of it, whether it is the fight to battle "fake news," to disrupt businesses and industries, or the right to your own personal data, said Anne Jacobsen, CEO at Media City Bergen, when introducing the conference.
Facebook vs. Democracy
We may have democracy, or we may have Facebook, but we cannot have both – A powerful statement from a powerful author, and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff gave the audience at mcb tech .21 something to think about and discuss.
As an introduction to her talk, she told the story of how the Trump campaign in 2016 exploited the advertising tolls combined with the tremendous amount of information that Facebook already had available. The campaign used this to target the group least likely to vote for Trump and started a massive campaign to make them believe that the best way to pretest was not to vote at all. And guess what, it worked.
Zuboff argues that only a fraction of the information Facebook stores is the information we willingly give. Facebook collects all possible information about you, only to capitalize from it, and sometimes, as in the Trump campaign from 2016, it is being used to change behavioral patterns.
Zuboff asks some uncomfortable questions and because we know the answer, some unpleasant realizations are being made;
Who knows, who decides who knows, and who decides who decides. The tech giants hold the answer to each question, though we never elected them to govern. This is the essence of the epistemic coup.
At the end of her talk, Zuboff concluded that the world's liberal democracies thus far have failed to construct a coherent political vision of a digital century that advises democratic government, values, and principles. This failure has left a void where democracy should exist. And the dangerous results have been a two-decade-long drift towards private systems of surveillants and behavior control outside the rule of law and democratic government.
– This is not a pronouncement of doom, but it is a call to action. It's a call to action for citizens; it's a call to action for lawmakers for businesses for every kind of institution in the democratic society. The digital must live in the democracy's house not as an arsonist, but as a member of the family. We must make our choice. We may have a democracy, or we may have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both. A democratic surveilled society is an extensional and political impossibility that will destroy our democratic future. The future that we all hoped for when we first entered the digital century 20 years ago, Zuboff concludes.
The Trump lessons
Jake Tapper, CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent presented the democratic challenges that arose when news media were being framed as the enemy of the people by former president Trump.
– Trump made an alternative world where he made no mistakes, and everybody how criticized him brought fake news to the table. He once tweeted: any bad polls are fake news.
Tapper argues that the concept of fact and truth was lost to millions of Trump voters during his presidency. A recent survey shows that 61% of the republicans still believe that the election was stolen from Trump and the republican party.
– What we learned is that these lies do not die; they expand, they grow, they metastasize. New lies are told, and frankly, American democracy is at real risk. I have not seen enough challenging of these lies, and we must ask ourselves if public officials are willing to lie about the election, what else are they willing to lie about? I wish I could tell you that the difficult days of being a journalist in the Trump era are over, but they are not. They just changed. The liars just adapted, so we as journalist needs to remain vigilant guardian of the truth to fight the actual enemy of the American people, the liars, says Tapper.
– We need a ministry of the future
Brett King is a thought leader within disruption and innovation, a world-renowned futurist, and bestselling author - known for his outlook on the future of business and how technology is disrupting business, changing behavior, and influencing society and society.
Brett King gave a broad perspective on the epic changes that we will see in the next 30-50 years, and one of them is that we need a ministry of the future. He argues that humans are planning in a very short term. And that we need to start planning for the future, not every man or every country for it selves, but together as a species. He continues that a national strategy and politics are never going to be sufficient. It needs to be global. The pandemic showed us the potential of a worldwide collaboration. The epic changes that we will face with AI, technology, climate change, food demand, the rise of the water level, and so forth, will demand a more vital global collaboration.
King argues that we need to stop competing against each other and start to compete for each other.
– If we want a positive, inclusive future, it must be based on a much more long-term view of humanity as a species and use technology to solve the biggest problems, King concludes.
Some of the most forward-thinking startups within media technology and fintech shared their fantastic take on the future with us.
Factiverse automates the detection of misinformation with cutting-edge AI and NLP, making credibility checking in newsrooms effective, easy, and simple! By simply installing their browser plugin, journalists and editors can conveniently fact-check the news and automatically identify fact-check worthy claims for any online information.
Bulder Bank is a new banking app that aims to provide financial services in a smarter, inexpensive, and more innovative way. They are going "all in" on mobile - and mobile-only - but in return, they promise to do this better than anyone else in the market. Their current value proposition includes automatic interest reduction on your mortgage, subscription management, and a smart overview of your finances and spending.
Visualyst is redefining what video compliance workflows should look like. Their tool helps publishers get more movies and series cleared for distribution to consumers faster using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The easy-to-use tool revolutionizes compliance by automating complex compliance review tasks and enabling team collaboration and sign-off, making for faster and more accurate compliance checks.
The best and most sustainable investments have traditionally been inaccessible and too complex for most people. Kron's mission is to make sustainable investments available to everyone. Their solution is built on financial expertise and smart technology combined in a user-friendly app. Kron is one of the fastest-growing industry players in Norway and recently launched a pension scheme, available to 1.5 million Norwegians, with a special offer to 200,000 members in the organization Akademikerne Pluss. This has resulted in an exponential growth in new customers and assets under management. With the speed of a startup and the professionalism of a financial institution, Kron offers the best of investment and savings at the lowest possible price.
Mjoll facilitates AI in Media Production to make everyday life for journalists and video editors more efficient. Their award-winning workflow tool; Mimir, is a cloud-based platform for automating a number of time-consuming tasks such as multi-language translation, transcription, and event tagging. It's an easy-to-use tool for video content creators which harnesses the power of market-leading cognitive services from Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and others to make your archives searchable and more valuable automatically.
Quantfolio is evening out the financial playing field. No longer is individual investment advice reserved for the privileged only. With Quantfolios technology, banks can provide true financial advice for ALL their clients through automated & digital journeys or by giving their advisors superpowers. By combining data, insight, and prize-winning financial theory they provide clients with individual and sustainable savings portfolios and protect them over time.