DLD Munich 2020

Joy Buolamwini, Algorithmic Justice League, DLD20

January 18 – 20, 2020 ‧ Alte Kongresshalle Munich

Thank you for joining us at Europe’s leading digital conference!
Here’s a selection of videos, images and related articles.
For live impressions posted on Twitter, please look for the hashtag #DLD20

Table of Contents

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Highlight Reel DLD Munich 2020

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Aenne Burda Award

Digital Democracy

Tristan Harris, Co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, speaks with Financial Times journalist Rana Foroohar about digital media, democracy and the loss of trust. Fake news can inflict lasting societal damage, Harris argues, especially since platforms like YouTube and Facebook have not been able to effectively fight the spreading of misinformation. “This is a really serious thing that is affecting two billion people and eroding the truth ecology and our trust environment.”

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales speaks with technology reporter Steven Levy about his new social network WT Social, explaining what makes it special.

Indonesian journalist Maria Ressa explains how media can fight efforts of censorship by authocratic regimes.

Early Facebook investor Roger McNamee explains why he became a vocal critic of the social network and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook VP of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in conversation with Tanit Koch, Managing Director of German news channel n-tv.

Deeptrace founder Giorgio Patrini and investor Alex van Someren discuss how artificial intelligence can help to identify misinformation and manipulated images on the Internet.


Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus calls for companies to show more social responsibility to help overcome poverty and inequality.

Janngo founder Faoutmata Ba, Nobel Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus and Mastercard executive Peter Bakenecker discuss how to empower founders in developing countries., in a panel moderated by Martin Weiss of Hubert Burda Media.

Siemens Chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe describes the impact of digital transformation of society and corporations – and calls for a dramatic change in problem solving in leadership strategies.

BMW executive Jens Thiemer and Margit Wennmachers, partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, discuss how brands can stay relevant in an ever-changing business enrivonment. Moderated by Britta Weddeling.

Is artificial intelligence advancing or hindering gender equality? Computer scientist and self-proclaimed “poet of code” Joy Buolamwini, Harvard economist Iris Bohnet and Maria Furtwängler highlight the necessity for systemic change in business and society.

How can leaders successfully manage an organization? In this panel discussion, Michael Diederich, CEO of HypoVereinsbank, Tarek Müller, co-founder of About You, and Deutsche Telekom board member Claudia Nemat came together to delve into what it takes to lead an ever-evolving workforce

Esther Perel, renowned psychotherapist and author, gives an energetic and insightful talk about the importance of emotional intelligence and human relationships for success in the workplace: “Quality relationships are central to the quality of our lives as well as to our business success,” she observed. “But unlike hitting benchmarks relationships are much harder to measure, harder to sustain and harder to repair.”

Society & Politics

Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, paints an alarming picture of the racial, gender and class bias present in current AI systems. “Machines are not flawless, they reflect something”, she says. They “are the reflection of those that have the power of technology.” 

Three presentations explore the importance of trust in the digital society. Hyunjun Park, co-founder of CEO of Californian startup Catalog, describes how data can be stored in the form of synthetic DNA. UC Berkeley researcher Jodi Halpern examines the importance of ethics in the digital economy. Marietje Schaake of Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center take a look at regulation and innovation.

Author Andrew Keen explains how technology contributes to the rise of populism.

Merck CEO Stefan Oschmann asks how to address techo-pessimism and suggests that the key will be “to tackle three important challenges: efficiency, ethics and collaboration.”

In this provocative talk, Ramesh Srinivasan, a professor at UCLA studying technology’s impact on our lives, examines how a few tech companies have built products that now influence the lives of billions of people around the globe.

“To what extent should our lives be governed by powerful digital systems and on what terms?” asks author and barrister Jamie Susskind. His talk explores the growing power of technology companies in our society as well as the role of lawmakers and regulation.

Clara Barnett of the U.K. Government Digital Service inspired the motto of DLD20. In her speech she told the story behind the motto – and gave suggestions on how to infuse it with meaning in our daily lives.

Space & Mobility

Former astronaut Cady Coleman flew twice in a Space Shuttle and spent 6 months living onboard the International Space Station. At DLD20, Cady spoke about her experiences with investor and space enthusiast Esther Dyson, who underwent training as an astronaut herself and served on NASA’s Advisory Council.

The satellite business is booming – and presenting humans with a new problem: How to clean up Earth’s orbit before man-made objects collide with each other? This discussion brought together analyst Harriett Brettle of Astroscale; Moriba Jah, Associate Professor at the University of Texas; Regina Peldszus of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and Daniel Porras, Space Security Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. It was moderated by Torsten Kriening, Publisher of SpaceWatch.Global.

Walking has a number of surprising benefits that help to improve our health, posture and, most surprisingly, our mind. Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara, Harvard academic Jeffrey Schnapp and space researcher Regina Peldszus explore the topic in a panel discussion moderated by Michael John Gorman, Founding Director of Biotopia.

Will air taxis and passenger drones bring the next revolution in mobility? AI pioneer Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk, believes that autonomous flying vehicles may well be the best way to “free the world from traffic, once and forever.”

Arts & Media

From smartphones to VR goggles, the combined power of art and technology is rapidly changing the possibilities of both our imagination and reality. This panel brings together Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel, artist Alex Israel and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London.

“We need, in facing an unpredictable future, unpredictable minds” that are “comfortable with navigating ambiguity, uncertainty”, British author Margaret Heffernan argues in her talk. After all, she says, we are “more than data, more than numbers, and we have freedom – if we remember to use it.”

The popularity of spoken audio, particularly in the form of podcasts, has skyrocketed over the past few years. To explore the phenomenon further, this panel brought together June Cohen, CEO and co-founder of WaitWhat; Matt Cooper, CEO of Skillshare; Marcus Stahl, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Boxine GmbH. It was moderated by Christian Teichmann of Burda Principal Investments.

In a conversation led by Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Galleries), British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy (Oxford University) and Mexican artist Eduardo Terrazas speak about how merging the worlds of art and science can lead to new perspectives.

What are consumers looking for in digital news and entertainment? Conrad Albrecht of ProsiebenSat.1, Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, and Olaf Acker, Global Digital Platform Leader at PwC Strategy, search for answers.

Tau Lewis, artist, DLD, Munich, 2020, talk

Tau Lewis is not only a writer but also a successful sculptor. Her artworks present carefully crafted characters and creatures from make-believe worlds. “I think the imaginary is truth, it a lot of times becomes a tool when you have no other tool at your disposal”, she says. Asked by Hans Ulrich Obrist about working with limitations, in resources or information, she responded: “I think when you create anything out of limited circumstances […] it forces you to engage with certain measures you wouldn’t have to. It’s the pressure that creates the diamond.”

In the digital age, photography has been democratized and made accessible to nearly everyone. In this talk, photographer Kurt Moser speaks to journalist Karl Hoffmann about his “Lightcatcher” project – an effort to slow down photography by reverting to a technique that dates back to the 1850s.

Sky Hopinka, artist, American Indian, culture, language, DLD, video

Sky Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and descendant of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. A big part of Hopinka’s artistic practice grapples with the accelerated disappearance with language and attempting to resist it. For him, language is a container of culture.

“There are so many different ways of looking at the world with the language that you speak, sometimes you notice it and sometimes you don’t”, he explains. “The language that I learned from from my different tribes, they taught me how the landscape and different cultural aspects that are precious can only be understood within the language.”

The session starts with an observation by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, who refers to a provocative idea by the late French writer and poet Edouard Glissant about how we live in an “age of homogenized globalisation” in which cultural phenomenon, such as languages, are beginning to disappear—and why we need to resist that.

Health & Medicine

Drawing from studies that show the benefits of foods like soy and cooked tomatoes in fighting cancer, William Li, CEO and co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation, presents a compelling case for how food impacts our health defenses.

New tools like gene editing allow humans to change nature to their liking. Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin, illustrates what’s now possible and asks how far we should go.

“Many of the treatments that we see today are overly simplistic”, observes Stefan Vilsmeier, founder of Brainlab, at the outset of this panel discussion, which also includes Rajesh Jena of the University of Cambridge, Florian Weiß, CEO of health portal Jameda, and moderator Matthias Schönermark. Together they explore new possibilities to personalize medical treatment with the help of technology.

What happens when humans become digital? This is the question that Divya Chander – a physician and neuroscientist – delves into during her talk about human augmentation, “a new movement of neuro body design.” Examples include a cyborg artist that has an antenna-like sensor implanted into his skull and people who are inserting RFID implants with medical records into their body. Chander also addresses ethical questions, like what happens when people start designing the babies that they want?

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris heads the Centre for Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College London. In this panel discussion he examines the potential health benefits of psychedelic drugs, alongside Christian Angermayer (Apeiron Investment Group), Cristiana Falcone (strategic advisor and investor) and Anne Philippi (The New Health Club). Moderator: Jörg Rohleder, Focus magazine.

Digital Transformation

In his keynote address, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton defied the notion that Europe risks losing the race for future technologies. “Europe is not lagging behind”, he insisted, pointing out that the continent owns half of 5G patents and is launching a new initiative in computer programming and smart antennas. However, to guarantee success “we need a clear vision of what we want to do and how we want to behave with our data”, Breton said.

How does Europe’s startup landscape differ from those in Asia and the U.S.? Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and chairman of TransferWise, offers a unique perspective in this conversation with Ina Fried of Axios. Hinrikus has a long history of launching entrepreneurial ventures in Europe. Prior to founding TransferWise in 2011, he was part of the team that launched Skype.

Looking ahead to 2030, Jens Spahn, Germany’s Federal Minister of Health, imagines Europe as a place that is united, prosperous and secure. “To achieve this, successful digitization will be crucial,” he said at the beginning of his talk, “Our European way of life and the future of liberal democracy are closely linked to digitalization.” He also outlined how Germany is planning to digitize its healthcare system.

World-changing ideas can only become reality when founders find investors who believe in them. In this panel discussion, Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner at the Softbank Vision Fund, and Yaron Valler of Target Global discuss with Technonomy’s David Kirkpatrick how investors can make a difference in fostering the best and the brightest.

In her keynote speech, Judith Gerlach, the Bavarian State Minister for Digital Affairs, explains how politicians and public administrations can be instrumental in the digital transformation of society.

Moderated by Carsten Knop, Editor-in-Chief of digital products at Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung, this panel brought together Axel Voss, member of the European Parliament; Li Xin, Managing Director at Caixin Global; and Andrew Keen, author of How to Fix the Future.  In a lively debate, the panelists discussed the future of Europe in the digital world, in particular in competition with the United States and China

Investor Tom Wehmeier of Atomico takes a close look at the state of Europe’s startup ecosystem. His briefing is full of stats and data.

All around the globe, major shifts are happening in society, politics and technology. In a talk with Hannes Ametsreiter (Vodafone Germany) and Andrew McAfee (MIT Sloan), moderator Amy Wilkinson (Ingenuity) got the pulse on how people in Germany are perceiving the turbulence in comparison to the U.S.

Sustainability & Climate Change

In this riveting talk, bestselling author and economist Jeremy Rifkin calls for a radical transformation of energy production and distribution in order to keep the climate crisis in check. “We need a compelling economic vision for the future and an action-based plan for a fossil-free society by 2040 – not 2050,” Rifkin demands. You can read more in this Q&A with DLD News.

What role do businesses play in fighting climate change, and how can economic growth be managed in more sustainable ways? This panel, moderated by Katja Speck, brought together Claudia Kemfert (Hertie School of Governance), Ferry Heilemann (FreightHub), Boris Wasmuth (Gameduell), entrepreneur Anna-Katharina Alex, investor Fabian Heilemann (Earlybird Ventures) and Konux founder Andreas Kunze.

Does economic growth automatically lead to the depletion of resources? MIT scientist Andrew McAfee takes a look at historic developments and explains why he believes why we can prosper using “more from less” (the title of his new book).

Bulb, a renewable energy provider, uses technology to bring down prices for consumers. Founded in 2015, Bulb has become one of the fastest-growing startups in the UK. In conversation with David Kirkpatrick, Bulb co-founder Hayden Wood explains the success of his company and what other can learn from Bulb. For more, take a look at our interview with Hayden.

The Arctic is melting, with dramatic consequences for polar wildlife and the Earth’s climate. On the other hand, new trade routes are opening up where the ice is receding. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, former President of Iceland and Chairman of the Arctic Circle, explores the consequences of this development in conversation with Scott Minerd, Founding Managing Partner of Guggenheim Investments.

“By 2050, we will need two planets to feed our entire population,” say Lior Shalev, CEO and co-founder of SimpliiGood. His startup produces food rich in protein, vitamins and minerals based on an algae named Spirulina. For more on plant-based meat alternatives and the future of food, see our in-depth article with additional DLD videos.

In cities, vertical farming is just one way of growing vegetables without destroying forests for farm land. Alexander Gerfer, CTO of Würth Elektronik, explains how smartly controlled LED lights can be used for indoor agriculture that requires very little water and no pesticides.

Climate activist Marc Buckley discusses the future of our planet, his global change manifesto and how society can reach 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations. “It’s virtually impossible to work on one SDG and not others”, he explains. “It is important to understand that they are all a system and all tied together.”

Deep Tech

What is the current state of quantum computing in Europe, and how can the continent stay competitive in this key technology? This panel, moderated by Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, brought together Ignacio Cirac (Max Planck Insititute of Quantum Optics), Sebastian Luber Infineon Technologies, Ian Walmsley (Imperial College London),  Torsten Siebert (Frauenhofer-Gesellschaft) and Wolfgang Hübschle (Invest in Bavaria).

Can distributed computing help to reboot the Internet and give the power that now lies in the hands of a few tech giants back to users? Former Ethereum CTO Gavin Wood, now co-founder of Parity Technologies, explains the power of Blockchain in conversation with New York Times journalist Mike Isaac.

Artificial intelligence is “surrounded by a fog of uncertainty and mythologies”, observes chess champion Garry Kasparov. In conversation with Michal Pěchouček, CTO of security firm Avast, Kasparov explains why he’s not worried about intelligent machines but rather convinced that “we are not going to be obsolete, actually we are going to be promoted!”

How big a risk will quantum computers pose to cybersecurity? This panel discussion, moderated by Gabi Dreo Rodosek, Executive Director of the CODE Research Institute, brought together Jan Goetz, Co-Founder of IQM Quantum Computers; digital safety expert Helmut Leopold (Austrian Institute of Technology); Lena-Sophie Müller (Initiative D21); Heike Riel (IBM); and Grazia Vittadini (Airbus). This is an in-depth discussion about one of the most important cybersecurity topics of the future.

This is just a selection of presentations recorded at the conference. For a full list of videos please visit the DLD20 collection our YouTube channel.

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