This year we are finally much more active at the community events! As a constantly learning company, we decided to expand the scope of community events beyond the “classic” engineering conferences (e.g. testing, development, devops or machine learning). A perfect opportunity to “look outside our own bubble” is the excellent re:publica, the festival for the digital society that takes place every year in Berlin. This year’s theme was “CASH” and many of the talks, workshops and sessions were therefore related to technical, social and political aspects of different financial systems. Three Minds, namely Veronika Sturm, Michael Fischer and Michael Mlynarski, had the pleasure of learning along with almost 20,000 re:publica visitors. What did we learn in particular?
As strongly IT-focused people, we tend to see digitalisation mostly from a technical perspective. At the conference we had the pleasure of learning about different perspectives such as sociological, political and also sustainability. Speakers like Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner (President of the Federal Environment Agency) explained in a very clear way how the different trends will affect our lives in the near future. We, as the technological part of digitalisation, need to understand what the socio-economic effects will be and how we can better communicate the added value of technology to reduce the fear of change. Even simple (non-critical) applications of AI, such as the creation of avatars for social media, can cause problems, as Barbara Wimmer demonstrated in an entertaining presentation.
In the majority of sessions at re:publica, the topic of AI dominated as the most important technology trend that is starting to revolutionise the (financial) industry. As it matures, regulation and standardisation initiatives are also evolving. We learned a lot about the AI Act and other EU instruments in this area. The main goal here is not only to ensure basic human rights, but also to provide support for typical problems with AI applications (such as ethics, accountability, explainability etc.). Many of our customers are currently in the process of applying AI to their processes and therefore need to address such issues. We were very happy to meet our customer Deutsche Bundesbank and to learn more about their way of introducing AI while keeping people at the centre (see session Human in the loop).
The sessions mentioned above are only a very, very small selection of the huge number of conference sessions. Besides AI, we also learned and discussed a lot about blockchain, financial lobbying, politics, globalisation and journalism. The venue (Arena Berlin) and the format of the conference perfectly matched the very diverse nature of the discussions and the community. For us, it combined the digital society with the forward-looking nature of the topics discussed. All in all, a great opportunity to learn, network and incorporate some thoughts into our strategy and projects. We will definitely be back next year!