DLD All Stars

Our first ever DLD All Stars online conference featured top speakers from around the world: for three days, from February 21–23, 2021, they shared insights about innovation, sustainability, society, art, politics and much more.

Below you’ll find an archive of video recordings of all sessions and related articles summarizing key takeaways of #DLDAllStars.




The New European Bauhaus

A Vision for Europe

Sustainability, renewable energy and the circular economy are stated priorities of the EU Commission under President Ursula von der Leyen. A key element of this strategy is the “New European Bauhaus” initiative, inspired by Germany’s influential design school of the 1920s, the original Bauhaus.  In her opening keynote address for DLD All Stars, Ursula von der Leyen explained how the New European Bauhaus initiative can help the European economy to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. “We need projects that open a perspective for the future, that make us dream, that touch our emotions and stimulate creativity”, the President of the EU Commision said. “And this is what the new European Bauhaus is about. It is also a project for recovery.”

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From Vision to Reality

Bjarke Ingels is one of the busiest, and most forward-thinking, architects in the world. With his company, Bjarke Ingels Group, he follows a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable approach to architecture and urbanism. In conversation with Hans-Joachim (“John”) Schellnhuber – renowned climate researcher and Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – he explores how the EU’s New European Bauhaus initiative can help the entire world in moving to a circular economy.

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The New Deal for Innovation

With its New European Bauhaus initiative the EU Commission aims to bring together innovators from different backgrounds to develop creative solutions for a better tomorrow. “In one sentence, it’s a cultural, environmental and economic project, because it has the ambition to make our Green Deal a cultural, human centered, positive and tangible experience”, EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel explains in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of London’s Serpentine Galleries. This DLD All Stars session explores the many facets of the interdisciplinary project.

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Book Talk: “Noise – A Flaw in Human Judgment”

There’s a lot of noise around us – distractions of all sorts that can be found wherever people make judgments and decisions. Too often, individuals and organizations ignore this. They show “noise neglect”, as Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman and his co-authors Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein argue. In their new book Noise – A Flaw in Human Judgment they show how noise can lead to errors in many fields, including medicine, law, public health, economic forecasting, food safety, management and human resources. In this DLD talk, moderated by John Brockman, the authors discuss simple remedies that we can all use to reduce both noise and bias in order to make far better decisions.

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The Road Ahead

Shifting Paradigms for a Sustainable Mobility

BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse explains his company’s roadmap for becoming a worldwide leader in e-mobility and the circular economy. “Our ambition is to build the greenest electric vehicles in our industry – from raw materials, the supply chain, and production up to recycling”, Zipse told DLD founder Steffi Czerny, adding that this included CO2 neutral production facilities as well as a “secondary first” strategy when it comes to using repurposed materials whenever possible.

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The (R)evolution of Movement

In mobility, everything is being reinvented. Car makers are moving from combustion engines to electric ones, as the industry is also heading for autonomous driving. Meanwhile, the sharing economy is offering new ways to get around without ever owning a vehicle. And how about flying to your destination in an air taxi? That’s not a vision from the distant future anymore – the first passenger drones are already being tested in different countries around the world.

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Urbanism Reloaded: Empowering the Countryside

When mobility is changing, cities are changing. Architect Rem Koolhaas – founder of OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) – is known as a visionary, always ahead of his times. In this DLD All Stars talk, Koolhaas expands upon the ideas presented in his Guggenheim exhibition “Countryside. The Future”. While Koolhaas may be best known as an urbanist who has transformed the skylines of cities around the globe, here he explains why – and how – rural areas could soon see a renaissance.

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Health & Medicine

Preventing the Next Pandemic

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer was the fastest ever to win approval “against a novel pathogen in medical history”, as BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin points out in his DLD All Stars presentation. He explains how his company managed to take its groundbreaking mRNA research and apply it to fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Sahin also illustrates why the same approach offers hope to cure cancer much more effectively than most current treatments.

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Rethinking the Future of Science

The Covid-19 pandemic has had the effect of alerting the entire world to the dangers of future viruses that could wreak even more havoc. Merck Group CEO Stefan Oschmann and Pardis Sabeti, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, discuss how advances in medicine can help us better prepare for future medical crises. The session was moderated by LinkedIn editor Sara Weber.

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Personal Genomics: What’s Next?

Precision medicine and personal health require deep knowledge about the body – and each person’s biological characteristics. With her company 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki has pioneered the field of personal genomics, offering consumers an affordable way to have their DNA analyzed. Over 80 percent of 23andMe’s ten million customers opt in to making their personal information available to research, Wojcicki told interviewer Kara Swisher, enabling the company “to crowdsource this incredible community of genetic information, and we use that to make discoveries”. Ultimately, she explained, her hope was to use these insights “to usher in true personal healthcare”.

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Healthcare and AI

Artificial intelligence will likely play a crucial role in shaping the future of medicine. Renowned venture investor Jim Breyer explores the many possibilities of this promising technology in conversation with Burda Media CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen. One of the prospects is combining top talent from Silicon Valley companies with the expertise of medical companies, which is already “leading to an explosion of very positive opportunities around AI in medicine”, Breyer says.

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Attention Economy 2.0

Are you paying enough attention to the signals your body is sending? Technology pioneer Esther Dyson and ZEIT online editor Jochen Wegner speak about the benefits of health tracking and explore how digital health can create value for all of society, not just technology providers – as exemplified by Dyson’s Wellville project, which serves as a real-life example of how technology can improve lives.

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Business & Finance


In his trademark rapid-fire fashion, NYU professor Scott Galloway analyzes current trends in technology and business for the year ahead. His predictions include: Apple will buy Peloton, Amazon will move into health insurance, and cryptocurrency Bitcoin will continue to gain in value. But Galloway also warns: “Investing is not a game” and emphasizes that day trading is extremely risky. “The good news is: I know exactly how to get you rich”, he says. “The bad news is: the answer is slowly.”

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Sustainable Finance: An Impactful Approach

Consumers can create impact by spending their money at businesses they believe in – be it organic produce, ethical fashion or sustainably produced furniture. In financial markets, ESG investing is aiming to have a similar effect. By now, more than $30 trillion of professionally managed assets go to companies that promise to uphold certain standards with regard to the environment, society and government. In this DLD All Stars session, Sir Ronald Cohen – a pioneer of impact investing – discusses these efforts with HypoVereinsbank CEO Michael Diederich and Acton Capital’s Elisabeth Löwenbourg-Brzezinski.

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Follow Your Ears

Foursquare powers the location experience of more than one billion people around the world. In conversation with Yossi Vardi, Foursquare founder and CEO Dennis Crowley explains how his company found success in providing location data to other companies, rather than trying to compete in the consumer business with its own mobile app.

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AI and the Post-Work World

What can artificial intelligence do – and where will humans always be superior? These are the core questions revolving around the future of work that AI expert Dr. Kai-Fu Lee explores in his DLD All Stars presentation. A renowned researcher and former top manager at Microsoft, Apple and Google, Dr. Lee now leads the VC firm Sinovation Ventures which he founded in 2009. We also highly recommend Dr. Lee’s DLD Sync session with Technonomy editor David Kirkpatrick.

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Investors’ Talk: The Importance of Culture

Two of the biggest names in venture investing come together in this DLD All Stars talk: Ben Horowitz, co-founder of az16, and Atomico’s Niklas Zennström discuss what makes startups successful, why the right team matters and what entrepreneurs need to consider when growing their companies. An absolute #mustwatch for anybody interested in tech, innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Persistence Rules

First he made Angry Birds a worldwide hit, now Peter Vesterbacka wants to create Europe’s leading startup ecosystem: In this DLD All Stars talk, Vesterbacka explains why he’s planning to build a privately financed tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn. The idea is to connect founders, researchers and investors in Finland and Estland, fostering innovation in similar ways to San Francisco’s Bay Area. Only this bay area would be the “finest”, he argues – because it covers both Finland and Estland. (Wink, wink.)

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Mindfulness Matters

How to Stay Sane in Times of Division

From Covid-19 to climate change: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a sense of perennial crisis – in politics, society and nature. Award-winning author Elif Shafak and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Galleries) explore what we can do to overcome the sense of doom, where to find hope in dark times, and how art can help us master challenges on an individual level but also in society.

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Stoicism & Corona

What’s the best way to get through the corona crisis and deal with the mental stress induced by the pandemic? Rolf Dobelli recommends stoicism – the art of enduring hardship by strengthening the mind. “Our brain is an opinion volcano”, he says in his DLD All Stars talk. “Please put this volcano to sleep.” After his presentation he explores his arguments further in conversation with DLD founder Steffi Czerny.

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Framing the World: Storytelling Through Music and Film

In times of change, humans need narratives, storytelling and artistic visions for inspiration, and to make sense of life’s ever-present disruptions. This DLD All Stars session brought together Manthia Diawara, Alexander Kluge and Hans Ulrich Obrist in a wide-ranging conversation about the interconnectivity between culture, business and society.

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Beautiful Numbers

No, it’s not all bad. Times of crisis may make it seem as if the world is going in the wrong direction – but in many ways life has improved dramatically, Stefan Sagmeister argues. Watch the DLD All Stars presentation of the internationally renowned graphic designer and storyteller for insights, inspiration and a ray of hope – particularly when things look dark.

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Free Yourself from Tech

Are we closer to our smartphones than to the people we share our lives with? How can we break our tech addiction without giving up the aspects of digital change that truly empower us? In this DLD All Stars session, Oxford neuroscientist and poet Pireeni Sundaralingam and star designer Olafur Eliasson explore many possibilities to make technology more humane. The conversation was moderated by Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

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Digital Society

Technology and the Social Fabric

Former Google ethicist Tristan Harris co-founded the Center for Humane Technology after realizing how manipulative many social media platforms have become. In a DLD Munich talk in 2020, Harris explained in detail why design choices matter, and how the attention economy is negatively affecting society and democracy. In the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma he explored these thoughts further. This DLD All Stars presentation focuses on what can be done to make technology giants rethink their ways and truly benefit society instead of benefiting from its weaknesses.

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Never Give Up

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa has become an international symbol of hope and resilience due to her tireless fight for freedom of speech. Her DLD All Stars talk is a passionate plea for technology companies to accept more responsibility for information shared on their platforms – and for all of us to use these services more carefully. She demands more accountability from platform owners but also better governance that strengthens truthful reporting.

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Civil Society & Tech: A Benevolent Partnership?

While technology companies have brought many positive developments to our world, they have not always lived up to their responsibilities towards society. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, now a partner at investment firm Greylock, and WaitWhat CEO June Cohen discuss what should be done to make tech giants live up to their promises – and what startup founders should consider when growing their businesses to a size that affects all of society.

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Data and Democracy

How much freedom do technology companies need to be truly innovative? And where should government step in to protect privacy, consumers and market competition? Former Vice President of the EU Commission, Viviane Reding, and Brainlab CEO Stefan Vilsmeier discuss data and democracy, regulation, and Europe’s position in the competitive landscape vis-à-vis Asia and the United States.

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What’s Next, Jimmy?

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales analyzes what separates good technology from bad technology, with regard to its effect on society – and he explains what makes his new social network WT.Social entirely different from Twitter and Facebook.

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Universal Basic Income

Handing out money to all citizens, no questions asked, so that everyone can pay the rent and no one needs to worry about tomorrow’s lunch: That’s the idea behind a universal basic income, or UBI for short. No longer a fringe concept, it’s also an idea whose time has come, as Laura Brämswig and Albert Wenger explain in their DLD All Stars conversation.

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Creating a Self-Sovereign Identity for All Citizens

In this passionate plea for data sovereignty, Don Tapscott argues that the platform economy is broken: Technology giants earn billions by collecting their users’ information and selling insights to advertisers. This has many negative effects in business and society, Tapscott – Executive Chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute – says. “Without us reclaiming our identities, there can be no prosperity, security, autonomy of the individual, and no freedom.” The solution, Tapscott proposes, lies in applying decentralized data management that would allow all people to control the information that is collected about them – and easily decide who has access to this information.

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Future Forward

Machine Learning: The Magic of the Cloud

The next revolution in data analytics lies in breaking down silos and discovering fresh insights by applying machine learning to treasure troves of information. Data cloud specialist Snowflake has been a pioneer of this transformation. Co-founder Benoit Dageville and Christian Teichmann, Managing Director & CEO of Burda Principal Investments, discuss how the combination of AI and data analytics can benefit corporations and society alike – for example in the fields of medicine and drug discovery.

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The Exponential Age

“Society creates technology, technology shapes society”, observes Azeem Azhar, author of the influential Exponential View newsletter, in this DLD All Stars session with Axios reporter Ina Fried. Their conversation takes a deep dive into the consequences of rapid change, in all fields, and how we often struggle to keep pace.

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What’s Next in Tech?

Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels and journalist Jennifer Schenker explore the future of data analytics, artificial intelligence and enterprise data management.

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Interspecies Design

Paola Antonelli (MoMA) and Lucia Pietrouisti (Serpentine Galleries) call for principles of co-design with other species and leaving the superior position of the anthropocentric framework. The first step towards interspecies design, they argue, is symbiosis, where organizations respond more flexibly to ecological imperatives. The next step is to move from organizational sustainability and resilience towards planetary sustainability and resilience.

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Future of Music

As music streaming has replaced buying CDs, the music industry has been changing dramatically. Subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music compete with platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube, which offer both free and paid content. So what’s next for the music industry and music creators? In this DLD All Stars session, YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl and music industry veteran Troy Carter discuss major trends and their implications for artists, labels and technology platforms.

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The Power of Mindset

Exponential progress in technology, biology and many other areas of science enable humans to solve problems faster than ever before, and master challenges on an unprecedented scale. Peter Diamandis, Chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, explains in conversation with DLD’s Yossi Vardi how to make the most of the opportunities arising from these developments. Having the right mindset to finding new solutions is a key element of success.

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Humanity’s Future in Virtual Worlds

There’s much more to virtual reality than gaming, as Improbable CEO Herman Narula explains in his DLD All Stars presentation. Running complex simulations in virtual worlds could bring many benefits to business, society and politics, he points out. And there’s hope of reducing polarization, too. “Games in virtual worlds tend to force cooperation in ways social media never can”, Narula argues. “They’re not echo chambers, they’re shared experiences.”

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Known for works that shape movement, interaction and performance into art, Tino Sehgal involved involved Steffi Czerny and the DLD team in an interactive exercise to add a playful notion to a conference that this time had to be virtual, but no less engaging.

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