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Leaders look to the future

The Leaders’ Summit, IBC’s behind-closed-doors conference for CEOs, had its sights set firmly on the future. Yesterday’s proceedings, chaired by broadcaster Andrew Neil, focused on the challenges for media businesses in what is becoming known as the fourth industrial revolution.

The packed room was challenged by entrepreneur and technology investor Nicklas Bergman. In an amusing and thought-provoking presentation, he revealed that he has a chip embedded in the webbing of his thumb.

“The problem is that there is not much I can do with it,” he said. “But sometimes I can get it to work as a hotel key.”

In a time when early adopters seem to drive change, he urged caution from his personal experiences. “The challenge of being an early adopter,” according to Bergman, “is that you buy stuff, it doesn’t work properly, and you have no applications for it.”

The delegates debated a range of transformative technologies, acknowledging that artificial intelligence has enormous potential if we trust it to do what it can. When Google’s AI servers beat the world Go champion, no-one – programmers or players – understood what the computer was doing.

More practically, Google has applied its artificial intelligence to the management of its data centres. Within minutes, optimisation achieved power consumption savings of 40 per cent, a bonus for any business.

Bergman recommended a three-step approach to developments: analyse the technology, assess the business implications and adapt to the new reality.

“Don’t put your head in the sand,” he urged the delegates. “New technology will occur no matter what happen. Be curious – curiosity is the key.”