When you think about building bridges, you think about merging two places of increasing importance. And when you think about our future as a society, the bridge with our present is constantly evolving, upgrading, extending.
On the 22nd of May, the leading technology company of our times, Microsoft, took for the third consecutive year a bold initiative, true to its core values of empowering people, countries, organizations. To host, for yet another time, the global conversation with technology, in real-time fashion. Interweave was naturally there too – with a solid purpose and a powerful drive to make this flagship event stand to its true heights: To aid the Microsoft Summit, organized by the Microsoft Hellas, Cyprus and Malta, reach the real summit of the dissemination and communication of pioneering ideas, across every digital channel. But the experience we witnessed was much more than just that!
We arrived at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center early in the morning. The clear skies and radiant sun created the ideal setting for this day and filled the IW team, Magda, Dimitra, and Dimitris, with energy.
We swiftly entered the Central Stage hall of the Greek National Opera to set up our workstation and be ready when the event kicked off. No matter how many times you visit this room, you can’t help but feel astonished. James Whittaker was early there too and his energetic, charismatic and always punny interaction with the team behind the show revealed that boredom would not be possible today.
We took the chance to walk around the rest of the event venue and met Vassilis, who wholeheartedly introduced us to the Hololens, a mixed reality innovation that is exciting and captivating – as you can probably guess by the following images.
As the SNFCC started flooding with people, the anticipation for the start of the talk sessions grew higher.
The CEO of Microsoft Hellas, Cyprus & Malta, Peggy Antonakou, opened up the event with a highly motivational speech about the trust and human-centric character that needs to be constantly maintained when adopting new technologies and about how you either design the future, or you have it designed for you. We, as creators, couldn’t agree more!
Next up, the former President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, took the stage – and the conversation to a more political level, by pointing out the need for countries to be digitally transformed and explaining how this can be achieved, through an effective consensus between the different strategic decision makers. By the way, did you know that the only things an Estonian can’t achieve digitally are to get married, divorced and exchange land?
And then came James Whittaker! His flamboyant personality and his views on AI literally blew the minds of every single member of the vast audience. He, almost theatrically, crowned data as the true possibility makers of the future and planted the seed of preparation for a world where machines built by human will be actually smarter than us. No wonder why he wears that t-shirt!
In case you ever meet him, say hello and ask him for an epic selfie. We actually did it!
With all this inspiration pouring, a chance to let the information sink in was much needed. During the break, hundreds of people queued to up their energy levels and balance the food for thought with equal amounts of real food! We too got our hand on some tasty delicacies. And they were extraordinary!
Networking opportunities are always a vital part of such occasions. The Interweave team seized that opportunity and met truly amazing people!
After the break, the baton was handed over to Dimitri Amiras, the first ever doctor who applied mixed reality in reconstructive surgery, with the use of Hololens. He described the novelty behind future patient treatment, in the form of holograms and did not hesitate to make the bold statement that if we can find a way to make things safer for patients via technology, we must do it, even if that means that doctors will be led to extinction.
The event ended with the talk of Constantinos Daskalakis, the famous Nash riddle solver, now an ingenious MIT professor, who took a more grounded approach in the way new technologies are perceived in the present and what we can expect from them. He also underlined the issues of ethics and reliability that needs to be properly addressed, as well as the proper framework that should be constructed to achieve a fruitful relationship between machines and human beings.
The electrifying feeling which was scattered inside the whole room after the end of the Microsoft Summit was something truly captivating.
As the sun begun to set, we savored the moment over a chilled glass of white wine. Filled with invaluable insights and positive interactions. Itching to see the future unfold, proud to be part of the Interweave team!
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