Web Summit 2017 Lisbon – Day 3

November 09, 2017 - Written by

It was an incredible four days in Lisbon! 60.000 attendees from 170 different countries, half of them women, came to Web Summit to discover future tech trends and listen to amazing speakers.

This third and last day opens with Amazon VP, Werner Vogels, who talks about voice as the new paradigm for interfaces. As voice searches are increase and at the moment exceed 10% of all searches, it has been estimated that by 2020 over 200 billion searches per month will be voice searches. So we can say that voice is the new standard. The shift is from computer-centric interfaces using screens and keybords to human-centric interfaces using voice. Or better voice and conversation are the main interface and that can be absolutely disruptive in computing, as it leads the way to unlock digital systems to those who are not computer users too. Alexa, Amazon digital assistant, is based on AI. Its skills are on the cloud, available to people to voice-enable any product or device and getting smarter after each interaction.

Moving to Autotech/ Talk Robot stage we meet Xarbi Uribe-Extebarria, CEO at Sherpa the spanish start up using AI’s sophisticated algorithms to develop the next generation of personal assistants. He says they are intended to not only answer our questions, but to anticipate our needs. AI can be used to learn from our habits or our preferences and create a model that predict our behaviours. For example we are late? Our PA can show us the alternative routes even before we ask! Cool!

In the next speech Antoine Blondeau CEo and Co-Founder of Sentient Technologies explains how a society infused with AI could be. Think about an e-commerce that adapt and personalize the store – the website or app UI as well as its products – based on users browsing behaviour.

Coming back to the Centre Stage Alexander Nix from Cambridge Analytica explains how data can influence politics as their algorithm contributed significantly to President Trump’s election in the US. The discussion is then about math, data and even ethics. Who undertsand the value of a data-driven strategy can shift the balance of power as well as create or destroy value.

It’s time to reveal the pitch winner! What a surprise to see that Lifeina, the refrigerated case for medicaments we spot in the first day’s pitch, won €50.000 from Mercedes-Benz: technology can be used to help people in illness and improve their living for good. Well done!

Altice Arena is rapidly filling and no seat can be found. In a final powerful talk Al Gore receives a standing ovation. He appeals for responsibility and asks us to take action. Climate crisis is real and recents events of floods, burnings and progressive melting glaciers prove it. But we have tools, we have skills and it’s never to late to make the change. It was interesting to observe his ability in public speaking and standing on the stage, catching our attention. There is so much to learn!

And Web Summit has come to an end. Year after year we confirm it’s the best edition ever, but Paddy Cosgrave and his team went far beyond for the 2017 conference’s edition. Hope to be back next year. Obrigado.


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