Top 5 Things we Learnt at Web Summit 2015

Like many we were slightly delayed in our journey to Web Summit this year, thanks to some unforgiving fog, but by Wednesday we were Dublin bound. As always attracting some big tech names, there were over 700 speakers at this years event. Here’s a brief roundup from us:

VR is going to get huge

This is seen now as how smartphones were 10 years ago…technology is only going to improve, more and more content is going to be produced as an ‘immersive’ experience of taking people on a journey, not just watching it but actually experiencing it. For example, Samsung are trying to engage the masses with their new product launch of a headset for $99 later this month.

AI shouldn’t be scary

A common thread throughout the summit was that people should embrace AI. One speaker talked about “making humans smarter rather than making super humans”, and argued that AI is not seen to replace humans but to enrich consumer experience. Machine learning was a big factor in this, from collecting data, learning algorithms to analyse it and then acting upon it in a vast array of products. Jacki Ford Morie, for example, spoke about about machines scanning and tracking small changes in muscles from human expressions to work out feelings, analysing eye tracking and using voice detection to understand emotion…technology is getting smart!

Web Summit stage

Drones are en vogue…

…and they’re only going to get better. There were lots of speakers on this, my favourite was Randy Braun from DJI and his work with Patrick Meier from Humanitarian UAV Network. They are helping communities where natural disasters have happened such as in Katmandu, by enabling them to use the drones to assess areas of damage so appropriate action can be made.

Healthcare industry is going to transform with tech

From glasses for people with vision impairments to a huge full scale technology platform from IBM called Watson which uses machine learning to reveal insights from a large amount of data. Everything is changing here and the tech world is being encouraged to get involved to improve patient experience. Other speakers were Jessica Greenwalt from CrowdMed and Omri Shor from MediSafe who are using technology to completely change how people get diagnosed and manage medication. And one final one – was 3D4Medical who were in Apple’s keynote back in September demoing their Health software on the iPad Pro…they show 3D anatomy of the human body so medical professionals can mark on fractures, bruising etc and explain more easily to patients….very cool!

Privacy and ethics

This was a common theme with a lot of the speakers. With new technologies come new challenges around privacy laws and ethics. If you can read people’s faces, pick up their heartbeat from small movements on their face and work out if they’re lying or not, then there are ethical considerations to take into account. While no one defined anything around this, there was a consensus that regulation needs to be set. Safety was another factor, especially around the use of drones and the need to implement some sort of policing or governance.

Looking forward to next years event already, which looks set to be hosted in Lisbon.

The Labs Team

Sutherland Labs