After beginning the day with talks on competition, social robots, and attention, and then learning about the power of simplicity, the banking industry’s existential crisis, and why machine learning is not vibranium, we wrapped up BRITE 2019 with a series of fascinating conversations.
1. We’re finally ready for XR.
The third session began with Ori Inbar, the Founder and Managing Partner of Super Ventures, and his talk titled “Enter the Next Dimension with Spatial Computing.” He opened his talk by tracing the history of XR technologies—such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence—all the way back to the year 1968 and “The Mother of All Demos.” This monumental computer demonstration introduced both two-dimensional displays and three-dimensional displays. History chose 2-D. It was cheaper and there was more of an established ecosystem.
Yet, as Ori pointed out, as human beings, we evolved to relate to our environment in three dimensions, not two. His prediction is that XR will reach a strategic inflection point in 2019. As evidence, he cites a number of factors. All of the tech giants are making major investments in 3D, on the belief that this could be the next major source of growth after mobile. The Fortune 1000 are finally getting meaningful ROI from spatial recognition-enhanced applications. As an example, with augmented reality, Caterpillar is able to annotate real objects with digital images in order to facilitate and guide field workers making repairs remotely. In fact, Ori says that 70 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies are already using XR.
Essentially, Ori argues that we are just on the brink of an exponential shift in how we use XR.
Another important point is that people are becoming more familiar with these technologies thanks to use cases like Pokemon Go, Warby Parker’s application that lets you try on glasses before you buy, or L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius. And brands aren’t the only ones interested in AR and VR—investors are pouring money into what could potentially be a $2 billion market.
The real challenge, of course, is how we jump on the next S-curve and get to spatial recognition computing. Before that happens, Ori believes that we need to make sure we appropriately handle data, we need to move the internet off of screens and into the real world, and we need to figure out how to switch our attention from data to what’s happening in the real world. As for what the future holds, he predicts that we’ll have the AR cloud and we’ll see companies inventing ways to have us access our imagery across devices. We’ll be able to think together in large groups—imagine “spatial Wikipedia’s.” We’re at a really exciting inflection point where we’ll see a big move into spatial.
2. It takes a lot to create a great logo.
The next session was a fireside chat with Sagi Haviv, Partner of the design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, and Nicole Kankam, Managing Director of Marketing at the United States Tennis Association, about the journey to the new visual identity for the US Open. In telling the tale, Sagi shared a few lessons about what it takes to create a great logo: First, you have to remember that it takes time. It’s not necessarily love at first sight. Next, it’s not about communication or promotion. It should be distinctive, simple, and appropriate. It should also have a certain personality and feeling. And most of all, it should be appropriate to the brand.
So how do you get there? According to Sagi, it’s important to start by listening to your client, doing your own analysis, and doing some research. At his firm, they typically begin the process by hosting a series of brand interviews in order to make sure people feel heard and that they’re making informed decisions. From their conversations with Nicole and her team, they received the following criteria: It needed to have a nod to tennis, it needed a bold silhouette, it had to enable consistency across different uses like t-shirts and posters, it had to be dynamic and imply movement, it had to be appropriate for an entertainment brand, it had to work on all media from social to TV, it had to have a premium look but appeal to youth, and it had to be modern and innovative. And with that direction, the firm was able to take the US Open from a really outdated logo (a flaming tennis ball) to the much more clean logo that they now use today.
3. We need to save the future of AI.
The third part of this session was led by the amazing futurist—and my good friend and colleague—Amy Webb. In her new book, The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity, Amy raises the alarm that the future of AI is being determined by nine companies. And not only that, but these companies are subject to market forces and have incredible expectations to deliver against or risk failing. Amy argues that the time is now to take control of the evolution of AI because at the moment a comprehensive governance structure is not in place. Ultimately, her plea is to prioritize safety over speed. If you want to consider what our plausible futures with artificial intelligence could look like, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Amy’s book. Some of the scenarios she outlines are positively chilling!