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Wired 2017: Recap

Louisa and Maria ChristinaNovember 07, 2017

Last week the DVELP team travelled east to Tobacco Docks to attend the two-day Wired tech expo. The conference went all out, showcasing everything from VR using your smartphone to immersive and interactive AI artwork.

We hopped back and forth between the keynote and access stages, checking out as much content as we could - we were blown away by the variety of speakers and topics on display.

Here is a short summary of our top 5 talks:

Swipe Right for Equality | Whitney Wolfe Herd

Founder and CEO, Bumble

In conversation with Wired’s Senior Editor Victoria Turk, the founder of Bumble discussed the importance of tackling sexism both in the dating and business world. She believes that online behaviour can and should be changed - and Bumble’s mission is to lead us into the light. If we gamify kindness through an app like Bumble, Wolfe Herd believes that we can fuel positive interactions online and become addicted to kindness. A thought-provoking chat, which highlighted the impact that social apps can have on society.

Counterterrorism on Social Media | Brian Fishman

Lead policy manager, counterterrorism, Facebook

In a highly topical talk, Fishman addressed Facebook’s role in the proliferation of online radicalisation and drew attention to how the platform has taken its counterterrorism duties to heart. He explained how they have learned to find people with terrorist links who sign up with fake aliases and keep them from sharing material. Most importantly, he drew attention to the big tech companies’ pledge to work together to help impede the growth of online terrorist networks through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. He provided an important insight into the role of social networks in the fight against political and religious extremism.

Algorithmic bias | Joy Buolamwini

Founder, Algorithmic Justice League
Founder, Code4Rights

Joy Buolamwini is a PhD student at MIT working to eliminate the racial bias of facial analysis software. She showed the audience how facial recognition oftentimes can’t detect her face because programmers coding the algorithms haven’t taught it to recognise different skin tones and structures. She is is trying to change that by challenging what she calls the ‘coded gaze.’ Her work to fight bias in machine learning is truly inspirational!

Fireside chat | Bill Gadja

Senior vice president, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Visa

This fireside chat delved into the opportunities and pitfalls that open banking and the upcoming regulation PSD2 might present. Gadja is very excited about the prospect of APIs being open to all, as they would allow a fundamental shift in the ecosystem, pushing companies to accelerate their digital strategies. However, he stressed that these would succeed or fail depending on one factor: the consumer. Insightful and optimistic, he showed that Visa is ready for change.

Taking Flight | Richard Browning

Founder and Inventor, Gravity

Richard Browning is Wiltshire’s real life Iron Man. On day 2 of Wired Live he took his audience through the iterative, trial-and-error development process of his jet-powered suit. He started with one micro gas turbine strapped to each arm in a field, hopping about so that the jets held him up for about half a second longer on each jump. After his talk, he gave a demo wearing his most up-to-date suit in which he can stay in the air for up to 12 minutes! The Gravity suit is now a light exoskeleton attached to six gas turbines with a combined thrust of 130 kilograms. Richard’s light-hearted style of presentation balanced with his strong sense of purpose should inspire anyone facing a steep learning curve. Check out Richard in flight below; for more, we recommend his Ted Talk.

If you want to know what else went on, read Wired’s own summary of events here.

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