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17th Future Congress: Agenda and program

A detailed description of the session formats and topics will be available soon on our Webpage Topics.


Below you can find the program of the 17th Future Congress of the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank from June 19/20, 2018 in Wolfsburg.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Starting at 7:00 a.m. | Welcome lounge


9:30 – 10:45 a.m. | Tomorrowing yourself - The human-machine roadmap 2028

Technological evolution is unfolding in increasingly faster development cycles. Every day we are presented with new apps, tools, services, and systems that will supposedly make our lives better, easier, or more efficient. We look forward to a future where trips to the doctor‘s can be replaced by real-time body analysis, where driving time is now work- or leisure time thanks to self-driving transportation, and even where our grocery shopping can be handled by our refrigerators. Generally speaking, we will live longer and healthier lives – but what will we do with all of this newly-gained time? What goals will we pursue? And how will we view ourselves then? 

We will also ask the same kind of questions about machines, because by 2028 machines will be much more intelligent than today; they will require – and perhaps demand – a new status in society. What will life shared between humans and machines look like in ten years, and where will we (still) find differences between the two species? 

Host and noted futurist Sven Gábor Jánszky will lead you through the theses of the day and exchange with you about the questions that will be most relevant for our living and working environments in the next ten years.

Richard Chung, Vice President, Innovation & Design, Adient, US,
    "Mobility Disruption 2028"
> Christa Koenen, CIO, Deutsche Bahn AG, DE
   "Technological possibilities vs. society - drivers of visions or drivers of

Dr. Patrick Kramer, Founder, Digiwell, DE
   "Brains become collective clouds, language will be superfluous."

10:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.| Business speed dating


11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Opening keynote

Welcome to the year 2028, a future that may well look like this: Chatbots or intelligent electronic customer service are now virtually indistinguishable from human beings. Companies evaluate real-time data in order to compile a precise personality profile of you as a customer. Headhunters and HR officers can do the same using only a small language sample. These systems are faster and more intelligent than ever before. Thanks to self-learning computers capable of conscious thought, it is now possible to develop even more intelligent products, services, and solutions. The massive problems facing humanity – food, water, and energy – will appear solvable to our ultraintelligent quantum computers. And: Computers will achieve general human intelligence around the year 2060. 

Fortunately we have some time now to prepare ourselves in advance: enough time to ask the right questions, and to discover the business models of the future.

> Dr. Simon Kos, Chief Medical Officer, Microsoft, US
   "Robo-docs and machine diagnosis for a world where we no longer get sick - the future
    of artificial intelligence in healthcare"

12:00 – 13:00 p.m. | Lunch, conversations, FutureLounge


In parallel  12:15 – 12:45 p.m. | Press conference


1:00 – 2:00 p.m. | Tomorrowing your customer – The human being as a consumer

Do you also notice time and again when companies are still working with Sinus-Milieus or age groups? Newlyweds are offered a mortgage discount because this should be the next step in their lives, the 60-year-olds are pitched denture cream and endless ginkgo tablets, the middle-aged manager a new luxury car ... Our real customer needs, however, cannot be derived from demographic characteristics, but our real-time data – and later from our faster-than-real-time data. The customer segmentation of the digital age orients itself in line with (and beyond) our digital affinities, identity preferences, and trust in technology. Segmentation arises as we are more active or more passive, whether we share our data or not, whether or not we are tech-savvy. Digitalization has led to the appearance of new perspectives, beliefs, and demands. Our call for truly suitable and adaptive solutions is likely to grow louder and louder in the coming years. 

At the same time, companies have access to more data on us than ever before in history. This will enable them to offer us individualized and situationally appropriate products and services through the use of algorithms and data analysis. We will also possess considerably more data about ourselves and will use a combination of digital systems to help make our decisions. How will our living environments change when our decisions rest less and less on subjective feelings and increasingly on our own quantification of life? Will we lose our self-determination when the digital system knows us better than we know ourselves? Will we view our own predictability as threatening and rebel, or will we feel it is something useful – or even to be expected? In this future predictability, how can we still be surprised?

> Oliver von Ameln, CEO, adesso insurance solutions, DE
   "In 10 years‘ time, no insurance company will talk to its customers anymore"
> Shruti Malani Krishnan, Co-Founder, Powr of You, UK
   "Data ownership now a universal right"
> Julian Ranger, CEO, digi.me, UK
   "The Internet of Me - Attack on the Big 5 with a revolutionary Privacy by Design"

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. | VisionTalk

People who let AIs choose their friends aren‘t right in the head? A score that judges whether you are a good citizen can only work in China? And implanted contact lenses that make your eyes capable of constantly seeing in augmented reality – well, you find it somehow cool, but also scary? After these talks, you will question your prejudices. Here big visions aren‘t despised, but demanded! In short but striking talks, scientists, inventors, and startup founders explain how they plan to change the world. Lunatic... or visionary? You decide. Join us for a trip into the impossible. Think bigger!

> Torsten Kriening, CCO, PTScientists, DE
   "Next exit moon - our path into the universe"
> Ira S Pastor, CEO, Bioquark Inc., US
   "The revolution in biology: How brain death will be cured before cancer"
> Rick Ifland, CEO, Omega Ophthalmics, US
   "You’ll see: new platform for virtual and augmented reality. Does this replace the

2:45 – 3:15 p.m. | Keynote

Most physical and mental illnesses usually announce themselves before the onset of obvious symptoms. Long before. Our genetic blueprint, DNA, already contains a lot of valuable information that physicians can connect with diseases – including diabetes, Parkinson's, depression, and certain types of cancer. Nathan Treff draws a bold conclusion: For in vitro fertilization, his company Genomic Prediction only accepts gene combinations that have long records of proven health. This gives his customers' children an evolutionary advantage. Treff is convinced that in ten years, the majority of human births will occur this way – because who would knowingly conceive children with limited life expectancy? And so homo sapiens progresses further... 

> Dr. Nathan Treff, CSO, Genomic Prediction, US
   "In 2028, we may think about choosing our embryo as deeply as we think about
    choosing our mate"

3:15 – 4:00 p.m. | Break, coffee, FutureLounge

In parallel  15:30 – 15:45 p.m. | World premiere "Kopernikus"

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. | Elevator pitch


Six hand-picked founders of successful organizations will present their business ideas competitively at the elevator pitch. Each has exactly two minutes to convince the audience of the merits of his or her business model. An expert jury will rate the pitches. The winner will then be presented with the 2b AHEAD Future Award that evening. Additionally, congress participants and venture capitalists will be given the opportunity to meet with the presenters. The business models pitched at the congress are chosen using a nationwide invitation among entrepreneurial initiatives.

16:30 – 17:00 p.m. | Keynote

Do you love your future? Or are you afraid? After this keynote, you should be able to make a better decision! By 2030, some of humanity's major problems will be solved. What sounds like science fiction is already close to becoming reality! At the same time, new threats are emerging that pose huge challenges for our concept of the human being. Be ready for a thrilling trip into the year 2028! What role will people play ten years from now as managers, employees, customers, business partners, experts, friends, and lovers? What will we eat if we always know our precise body data? Why will our cars drive themselves for free, and what will ex-drivers do with all of the extra time? How can employees find meaning in their daily lives when there are no longer eight hours of wage labor per day? As experts, how will we measure ourselves when computers increasingly give better answers than we do? As managers, what will we be proud of when the better strategies of our predictive enterprises are made by proactive quantum computers? And: What will your spouse expect from you after they've just shared their real-time emotional profile? This keynote makes the case for your future. Join the Chairman of the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank on a fascinating and exciting tour through the year 2030. 



> Sven Gábor Jánszky, Chairman, 2b AHEAD ThinkTank, DE

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Tomorrowing your brand – The human being as identity seeker
BRAND 2028

What will our trip to the supermarket look like in ten years – assuming that supermarkets still exist? How and with what criteria will we decide on products and services? It is highly probable that we will no longer (have to) make our consumer decisions ourselves. Our digital assistant will evaluate our data and will know our preferences. Using this basis, it can then make decisions or filter suitable suggestions to us. In this scenario, „filter brands” will then rise in relevance. Corporate marketing will be oriented towards either becoming a filter or being top-ranked by other filters.

The above scenario applies to the mass market. Roughly 90% of consumer decisions will be made there (either by consumers themselves or by filters or digital assistants). The remaining 10% will be made in the premiu segment. Here decision making will follow an entirely different logic. As premium customers of 2028, we will very likely choose products and services that allow us to express to others – and ourselves – our uniqueness and identity. These brands then take on a new role as identity providers. Here we will no longer see advertising that highlights the quality or performance promise of products – everything will be image advertising. People who work in the B2B sector will increasingly make their strategic purchasing decisions according to which identity worlds the other companies inhabit and which other brand would make the best fit there. They will ask themselves: What service providers make these identity solutions authentic? Is a multibrand strategy necessary, or can a brand represent several identities at once? 

> Julika Prenzel, Executive Director Brand Strategy, Superunion, DE
> Raimund Bau, CEO, SO1, DE
   "Brands will only be a first indicator of quality, because the ecosystem of a product will
    be the most decisive sales factor, no longer the emotional charge of qualitative
> Thomas Schubert, Partner, Dentons Europe LLP
    "The way we buy will change, but the brand will survive."

6:00 p.m. | End of the first congress day  


8:00 p.m. | Awards evening 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Starting at 8:00 a.m. | Coworking lounge


9:00 – 9:45 a.m. | VisionTalk

The second day of the congress begins with this year‘s big visions. Scientists, inventors, and founders of successful organizations will explain how they want to change the world in a series of short talks. They will again challenge your preconceptions of the doable and the possible. Once more, you will find yourself shaking your head — or getting swept up in the excitement! The second 2b AHEAD VisionTalk session is sure to broaden your horizons as well.

> André Choulika, CEO, Cellectis, FR
   "Getting rid of bugs in our DNA"
> Prof. Mariano Andrenucci, SITAEL, IT
   "Over the next 10 years, the earth will be increasingly surrounded by constellations of
    intelligent small satellites."

9:45 – 10:00 a.m. | Break, coffee, FutureLounge 


10:00 – 10:30 a.m.| Keynote 

This year, for the first time in the world, an AI ran in an actual mayoral election in the Japanese city of Tama. The candidate was supported by influential managers from technology giants Softbank and Google. While the AI only achieved third place in this first attempt, its developer Michihito Matsuda is certain that by 2050 at the latest, all politicians will be replaced by artificial intelligences. And, because AI makes fair and balanced rational decisions – and is not motivated by power and influence like humans – these new leaders will make better decisions. According to Matsudo's forecasts, this will mean an end to discrimination against minorities, corruption, and the climate crisis, and other great challenges to humanity can also be tackled with a cool head. Will elections be superfluous? Will the concept of the separation of powers come to an end when data companies take over the legislature and the executive ... and the judiciary at the same time? Will there still be politicians?


At the Future Congress, Michihito Matsuda presents not only his mayor AI, but also his vision of a better society without human politicians.

> Michihito Matsuda, Mayoral Candidate, Tama, JP
   "In 2050, the AI will have replaced the politicians for the better of society"

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Enabling Transformation


Our Future Congress is famous for raising just a many important questions as it answers! In this part of the congress, we give space for those questions that you would like to discuss in more detail. At topical round tables, guests have the opportunity to discuss the consequences of the future developments they have heard about so far with congress speakers and the future experts of the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank. What do these emerging changes mean for your products, business model, and processes? What opportunities might be waiting here, and how can you enable your team to recognize them? How can you take the inspiration you gained from the Future Congress back with you when you return to everyday life? To stimulate the discussions, we will provide a moderator and inspiring theses for debate at every table.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Lunch, conversations, FutureLounge 


12:30 – 1:30 p.m. | Tomorrowing leadership – The human being in human-digital teams

Today most of us accept artificial intelligence as an aid or assistant. Digitally preparing the latest info, entering appointments and giving reminders or forwarding messages – all of this is no problem for our digital helpers. Meanwhile, AI pioneers are already using self-learning algorithms that enable machines to make even complex decisions or to compile psychological profiles of applicants, employees, or customers. We now view AI as an interface – to other people, to our customers, to technological systems. Yet with everything that AI is learning and being entrusted with, we are approaching a future where we will no longer view AI as an interface, but as an entirely normal member of the team. AIs will have strengths and weaknesses, will be capable of professional development, and will communicate with colleagues and customers and request feedback.

Company leaders of the future will face the challenge of leading human-digital teams. This leads to questions about what the distribution of tasks in these teams will look like: What roles will humans take on, and which will machines handle? How will a culture of error and debate work in human-digital teams?

Alongside these new demands on team structures and mutual acceptance, questions we have asked about human staff in past years resurface again for digital team members: What will AIs strive for? What incentives will they react to? What will their career paths look like? How can passion and motivation be kindled in digital employees? How much striving for self-development and improvement be programmed into AIs? And how will we handle low performers? Will every marketing company have to become a community platform? Will AIs have to be programmed to badger humans into making better decisions?

> Sheena Urwin, Head of Criminal Justice, Durham Constabulary, UK
   "How and why artificial intelligence will (have to) substantially supplement police

> Yuval Mor, CEO, Beyond Verbal, IL
   "On detecting real-time emotions for online sales, disease prevention and job

> Michael Lin, CPO, ThStars, CN
   "How virtual music technology will change the future entertainment industry of pop

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. | Keynote

We need to be clear: The performance of the human brain can only be improved to a limited extent. In the long run, it will not be able to win the battle of the intelligences against the computers. Here a new distribution of roles is emerging: Whereas machines enable us to make decisions today, in the future they will handle most decisions while we help them record all the relevant data. The question will no longer be what we ourselves still have to decide, but what we still want to decide and how. And even more: Where can we justify overruling machines with our human decisions? Shouldn‘t we rather become part of the machine?

The same dynamic will play out on the physical level: Prostheses will be more efficient than the originals they replace – or they enable human beings to have completely new abilities or additional sensory organs, and may even bring on the end of aging. Adaptivity has been a key success factor for the evolution of homo sapiens and human society. Does this also apply in view of the exponential acceleration of technological development? How will we shape progress to our benefit to overcome the limitations of the human body?

Zoltan Istvan, Founder, Transhumanist Party, US
   "In order not to be overrun by AI, we have to become part of the machine ourselves"

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. | Break, coffee, FutureLounge 


3:00 – 4:00 p.m. | Tomorrowing your processes – The human being as employee

We are approaching a future where everything will be predictive: our daily performance ability, customer stress levels, the productivity and creativity of staff members, and the course of our emotions. This will enable us to steer these possible futures as we facilitate or avoid the predicted outcome. And we will not make these decisions alone. Machines will be capable of predicting and calculating the potential consequences and interdependencies of actions – and potentially also of making better decisions than any human being could. Analysis will come to replace experience and gut feeling. Here is where a new distribution of roles appears: Whereas machines today assist us in making decisions, in the future we will be helping decision-making machines to gather all the relevant data. We will gather data that is difficult for machines to acquire, such as in digitally inaccessible areas. The machines will need us to mount sensors on mountain peaks or to set up new measuring stations. Will this role as an enabler for the machines satisfy and motivate us? The question will no longer be what we will still have to decide ourselves, but what we will want to decide and how. What value will human experience have in times of predictive systems? How will qualities like empathy, responsibility, and humor – supposed areas of human supremacy – shape our career opportunities in the future?

At the same time, we need to keep in mind that the human brain has a limited boosting capacity. In the end, it will never be able to win the intelligence contest against the machines. What will happen then? At this point, jobs will pull away from “the production of rational products” and increasingly focus on the “production of identities.” Those who earn their money as experts today – such as doctors, teachers, jurists, travel agents, consultants, brokers, sales reps, tax advisors, bankers, etc. – will experience a major paradigm shift. In the future, they will no longer be paid for massive knowledge and “passing just the right piece on to the customer.” Rather all of these occupations will become coaches who accept that the computers know best. But they will add a human element to this electronic expertise: They will be paid to motivate, guide, and criticize other humans to take them to the next step in their development. What new business models will emerge from this new role for human beings? What will our 2028 notion of being human look like, and what picture of us will a machine have?

> Marten Kaevats, National Digital Advisor, Government of Estonia, EE
   "Attitude, mindset and culture: the Estonian case."
> Markus Herkersdorf, CEO, TriCAT, DE
   "Deeply human - empathic AI and mixed reality."

4:00 – 4:30 p.m. | Keynote


Have you ever found yourself looking at a child and asking yourself what its life will be like in 100 years and what journey it will take to get there? How will it be affected by political, social, and economic changes? Will AIs soon replace its teachers, colleagues, politicians and leaders? Will this child still have to work in 100 years? Will it have a robot for a life partner, a best friend, or a parent? What diseases will be treatable? And what changes will come for Germany, Europe, and the world?

At the 2b AHEAD ThinkTank, we typically look forward into the coming decade. Two years ago, however, we decided to take the risk on one of the most ambitious long-term projects in future studies: Using scientific methods, we examine the possible futures of ten children born in 2015, and narrate their first hundred years in various scenarios. We will accompany our ten protagonists on their way into various futures that extend to the year 2115.

Futurist Michael Carl will give you a sneak peek into the first results and scenarios from our long-term study. He will help you dive into a picture of the future of life and work in Germany and beyond for the next hundred years – and he will raise some unexpected questions for your company, your business model, and your own life plans.

> Michael Carl, Managing Director Research & Consulting, 2b AHEAD ThinkTank, DE

4:30 – 4:45 p.m. | Farewell 

At the conclusion of our congress, host Sven Gábor Jánszky will summarize the most exciting revelations from our discussions and conclude this year’s congress.

4:45 p.m. | End of the 17th Future Congress

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