Goafest 2018 Day 2: At the intersection of AI & human tech and healing with a Sparsh

While Day 1 of Goafest 2018 saw the spotlight on Make in India and the rise of desi corporate, Day 2 of the festival revolved around a world of robots and humans, inspiration from a small quarter, leading by example, the 2019 General Elections and even fulfilling Bollywood dreams. 

How may I help you, Human? 

It was humans and robots and all things Artificial (Intelligence) in the first session of the day by Dean Donaldson, Transformational Strategist, and Jonathan Tavss, Digital Futurist, Kaleidoko. The duo were overwhelmed the crowd with ideas and new technology and the need for a future for personalisation. Jonathan and Dean both spoke about how the future for India was exciting and ever growing. They also said the one thing that seems to be the underlying idea of all the sessions so far at Goafest – The future is in the people. Technology will come around to meet the needs of people. 

We need a rebirth in media, and the two speakers elaborated on that by saying that rebirth is equal to ‘block chain + predictive + AI’. From 2G to 6G, we have indeed come a long way, because it’s all about universal connectivity. “There are 8.3 billion connected devices, more than the number of people on the planet. This means there will be 500 billion devices by 2030; which is an average of 60 devices per person.” Dean added to the mind boggling stats by saying, “Brands jump in every time there is new technology. But hyper-connectivity is equal to oversaturation. We have so much choice, we spend half our time scrolling through content, instead of actually consuming it. It’s overwhelming! This is where targeting plays its part.” 

Jonathan then went on to talk about blockchain for brands and how, in his words, “Generation alpha is never going to use cash; and they are all going to have an imaginary best friend named Alexa.” The discussion then went on to robots taking over the world, and becoming the second biggest purchase for us by 2030 after a home. He added, “Personal assistants will start predicting my life.” That’s the true essence of AI. 

By 2025, we might have a little chip and Intel inside our minds. So what else is the future? It’s Genomedia! “Brands will start targeting based on genes. Geno-targeted advertising is going to become a reality,” the duo added. Before they ended their session and paved way for the next speaker, they said that the future is all about customisation and personalisation. Humans and machines will come closer or might even merge. 

Internet of Things 

From AI, the session moved to the next hot topic - Internet of Things or IoT. Cameron Worth, Founder, SharpEnd, minced no words and spoke about a world where data comes first. He spoke about how his team works on bringing brands and IoT together. “Today, the role of brands is shifting. Brands must respond to the shift in landscape and platforms. New platforms need new specialists”. Web 3.0 - plug context into conversations with IoT. Brands are adopting tech innovation at scale already. Consumers are connected; you should be too. 

Heal the World 

Next came the effervescent Sparsh Shah aka Purhythm, the 14-year-old singing prodigy who began the session by singing the National Anthem. Sparsh has been learning Hindustani classical music for the last seven-and-a-half years and American vocal music for the last three years. Born with over 40 fractures in his body because of a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, the multi-talented artist epitomises resilience. “Music is my great escape,” he said. 

Every bit of his session was met with applause. “There are two very important principles with which I live my life. One is self-responsibility. We have to be responsible for ourselves and ask one question, how can we help others walk their journey? The second point is social responsibility. Advertising plays a huge role in society. Growing up and living in the age of information, we should all know that we spend at least 12 hours on media. What we receive from these media platforms is crucial. In this fast paced world of advertisements, people really do believe what they see. With great power comes great responsibility. We have to be the role models. We can change society’s attitude. Be the voice of specially-abled people. We need to build campaigns to make society accessible,” he said emphatically. 

As he ended his session to thundering applause and a standing ovation, he spoke about inclusive advertisements. 

Learning with the Student of the Year 

The Lokmat Knowledge Seminar saw Bollywood star and youth icon Sidharth Malhotra in an interview-style conversation with Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President & Publisher, Chitralekha Group. They chatted about Sidharth’s journey from a middle class Delhi boy to the Bollywood heartthrob. Sidharth said it took a lot of hard work and a bit of luck to get his first film. Speaking about his experience with ad-film maker Vinil Mather, Director of ‘Hasee To Phasee’, he said that all ad-film makers have a keen eye for detail. 

Speaking about his most memorable experiences with the advertising, Sidharth recalled ads like ‘Doodh Doodh’ by Amul, ‘Jalebi’ by Dhara and ‘Girl on the field’ by Cadbury. In his opinion in-film advertising works brilliantly when done correctly. Sidharth even suggested monetising selfies through the Goafest App. 

Debating with the Olympian 

Next up was an intense discussion between Politician, Olympic Silver Medalist & Ex-Army man Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Navika Kumar, Managing Editor - Politics, Times Now. The session was a part of the Leadership Summit by Times Now and focussed on if brand Modi was still strong enough for the upcoming 2019 elections. From scams to unemployment and economic growth to sports, a wide spectrum of topics were discussed and debated upon that may impact the 2019 Union Elections. 

Doing the News 

In a short yet extremely impactful session, as part of the Leadership Summit, Faye D’souza, Executive Editor, Mirror Now, spoke about the promise that was made last year at Goafest to bring a channel that focuses on issues faced by India. And to that the issues that Mirror Now brings the spotlight on. 

She started with a story about the importance of the messenger and shared some inspiring impact that the Mirror Now campaign made to create regulation on child-safety locks in taxis/ cabs, in light of the Nayana Pujari rape case in Pune. 

Fielding on and off the field 

The highlight of the afternoon was the engaging yet entertaining conversation between South African cricket legend Jonty Rhodes and Anand Narasimhan, Senior Editor, Times Now, on cricket, controversies, anecdotes and the interesting tale behind why Jonty Rhodes’ daughter is named India. Jonty unveiled some of the behind-the-scene stories of the infamous cricketing scams like the Hanse Cronje match fixing scandal and more recent Steve Smith ball-tampering debacle. He also regaled memories of the time with his father and his advice of ‘Practice makes you perfect, but its perfect practice that brings success’. 

On an unrelated note, he shed some light on the reason behind his daughter being named India. He says in India, there is something different here everyday. For his daughter India, he says he, irrespective of what everyone says, she should seize the day. 

For the current Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, Jonty had two tips on leadership – Be true to yourelf, and Be consistent.

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