Tech Open Air: where #tech is #culture.

Whether Berlin is the European Silicon Valley, is an ongoing discussion. That the start-up scene is very vibrant, is a sure thing. Proof is Tech Open Air, an interdisciplinary technology festival initiated by the local start-up scene. Enough of a reason for us to go to Berlin, during the season it is at its best.

TOA took off as the world’s first crowdfunded festival in 2012. As befits their tech mindset, they chose to be a platform for others to build upon rather than a closed concept. And with 20 000 attendees, 200 speakers and more than 200 satellite events - voluntarily organised by companies all around the city - they showed their impact on the innovative character of the city.

The festival vibe was striking: running from one stage to another, bumping into friends, meditation sessions, queuing for food, music, games, powernapping under trees, … and besides all that, lectures on a crazy variety of topics, from multi-model databases, proptech, neuromarketing to universal basic income and plastic free lifestyle.

3 interesting finds we’d like to share with you:

Can AI be creative? According to IBM fellow John Smith it can augment creativity (for now). IBM’s Watson (ie. supercomputer) was challenged to make the trailer for the movie ‘Morgan’. With the help of only one human editor, they succeeded in just one day turnaround. All the scenes where picked fully automatically by recognition of visual sentiment and sound emotion.

Gavin Wood presented us his Polkadot paper, in which he proposes an internet of blockchains. By bringing multiple blockchains into one network, you can unlock scalability by making it possible to run many chains in parallel. If we may belief Gavin, this is the technology that will lead us to a decentralised Web 3.

The future of music was also well debated at TOA. Very much keeping the focus on the creator *thumbs up* and what future role tech will have in supporting creativity, collaboration and curation of music. A highly anticipated talk with Soundcloud founder Alexander Ljung shed some light on not only the future of his company, but also on content sharing platforms for independent artists in general and the democratisation of creating music and the role technology plays.

Many more to find on the TOA youtube channel!

Apart from the program at the beautiful Bauhaus location, different ‘satellite events’ were organised by companies, organisations and startups all around the city. You could pass by for a hangover ‘networking’ breakfast (we didn’t make it), built-a-bot workshop, hyper-reality entertainment experience or electronic skateboarding!

After TOA we’ve spent a few more days in the city, to hang out with some people from our influencer network. And as much as we realised the importance of physically connecting during TOA, we were so delighted to spend a real-life offline breakfast with them. While technology shapes our reality, human interaction will always be our key driver.

© Image by Dan Taylor