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VivaTech 2024 Day Two Digest

Posted at: 05.23.2024in category:Top Stories
Elon Musk returned to VivaTech, mission-driven investing gained traction, and 2 new award winners were crowned.

day 2 It was yet another busy day at VivaTech 2024! We recap the best moments of the day.

Musk Came Back For More

Elon Musk graced the VivaTech stage once again in the Dôme de Paris for an interactive Q&A session. Audience members got the opportunity to ask Musk “everything they ever wanted to know about him, but were too afraid to ask.”

Musk began by discussing Neuralink, his brain computerface company, and highlighted the progress in developing a device that enables telepathic control of devices like computers and phones, which could potentially help people with brain and spinal injuries. He mentioned future goals for Neuralink, such as restoring sight to the blind and improving human-computer interface bandwidth to mitigate AI risks.

He then shifted focus to xAI, the AI startup founded by Musk just last year, expressing concerns about the current state of AI development, particularly the tendency of major AI programs to cater to political correctness at the expense of truthfulness. He emphasized the importance of AI being maximally truth-seeking and curious and criticized AI models that distort reality, using examples from Google Gemini and OpenAI, and outlined his vision for xAI to prioritize truth even if it is unpopular.

During the Q&A session, attendees asked about various topics:

  1. AI development transparency and accountability: Musk reiterated the need for regulatory oversight and emphasized that AI should be trained to be truthful.

  2. His public persona and media portrayal: Musk acknowledged that media often exaggerates for clicks and suggested focusing on direct statements from individuals rather than media interpretations.

  3. Development of a low-cost electric vehicle: Musk avoided specifics but reiterated that Tesla competes well without tariffs and prefers a market with no tariffs or incentives for both electric and traditional vehicles.

  4. Hypothetical Time travel: Musk expressed satisfaction with his life's outcomes and humorously noted the potential paradoxes of giving advice to his younger self.

  5. Neuralink's future potential: Musk envisioned using brain data to develop powerful AI and emphasized SpaceX's goal of making space travel affordable to enable life on Mars.

  6. The impact of AI on jobs and education: Musk predicted that AI would significantly change job dynamics, possibly leading to universal high income, and emphasized the role of parents in instilling values amidst AI's growing influence.

  7. Concerns about AI safety: Musk highlighted the importance of truthfulness and curiosity in AI to ensure it benefits humanity and mitigates risks.

The session ended with Musk expressing his hopes for human survival and progress in space exploration, emphasizing the importance of becoming a multi-planetary species.

mission driven From left: Daphné Leprince-Ringuet, Jacques Beltran, Cecilia Kushner, Helene Chartier. Photo credit: VivaTech

Green Metropolis: Shaping Climate-Smart Cities

Cities are the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and the most affected by climate risks. This panel discussed how urban planning can step up to these challenges of our decade.

“About ¾ of global emissions are caused by cities,” Daphné Leprince-Ringuet, a French tech reporter at SIFTED, reminded the audience. “It’s a no-brainer that we need to build greener cities.” And tech is necessary to build green cities: it efficiently supports urban planning for instance through 3D modeling and digital twins solutions.

Jacques Beltran, Vice President of Cities & Public Services at Dassault Systèmes, explained their perspective, “Urban planning remains now more intuition-based than science-based. We try to bring more science in it with our technologies.”

Helene Chartier, Director of Urban Planning and Design at C40 Cities touched on the importance of helping cities in their expansion efforts. “90% of the urban expansion that is happening in the global south is happening in climate hazard areas or very close to it. So we need to help these cities to really understand where they need to expand and where they need to regenerate and how they should do it.” Collaboration between cities and between cities and tech providers is crucial.

Cecilia Kushner, Chief Strategy Officer of the New York City Economic Development Corporation mentioned, “It’s useful to both have a hyper-local view but also a very global approach to these issues; you really need those two levels.”

In terms of what cities can do better, Chartier added, “There is not a good climate action without an equity perspective because the cities with bad urban planning also create a lot of segregation. We need to empower community-led urban planning.” The financement of these new technologies should be supported both by private and public sectors.

democratic tech panel From left: Jeremy Kahn, Sonja Solomun, Andy Yen, Mitchell Baker, Audrey Tang. Photo credit: VivaTech

What Does Democratic Tech Look Like?

Amidst the backdrop of numerous elections unfolding worldwide, the intersection of technology and democracy takes center stage this year. This panel dived into how tech can be at the service of democracy.

Tech can enhance democracy by increasing the ability of citizens to influence their governments. It can be used as a way of facilitating dialogue between people and fostering collective intelligence instead of polarizing opinions (as social media too often does). Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s 1st Digital Minister, explained, “For democracy to work, access to technology and particularly access to internet is very important. Democracy and access to information are entirely correlated.

However, “we need to be intentional about our goals. If we want democratic tech, we need democratic governance” Sonya Solomun, Deputy Director at the Centre for Media, Technology, and Democracy of McGill University adds.

Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman at Mozilla, believes the system is not set up well to help people who want to do the right thing. “Mozilla was necessary because of a market failure. Today we have a handful of companies but at the beginning of the internet there was only one, it was Microsoft and it controlled everything. There was no business rationale to build a browser when we started Mozilla. We started because it had to be done. If you want public benefit, the business world is not set up, incented, or rewarded to provide it directly.”

Turning the conversation, we focused on whether it was possible to use AI and other technology to monitor social media. Sonya Solomun is skeptical about using AI to check untruthful information. “Disinformation is not just a tech problem, right? We can’t fact-check racism.

green metropolis From left: Nmachi Jidenma, Nadja Bresous Mehigan, Amiel Kornel, Marie Ekeland, Ashish Puri. Photo credit: VivaTech

How Is Mission-Driven Investing Helping Us Tackle Global Challenges?

Mission-driven investing is gaining traction as a powerful tool to address pressing global issues such as climate change, inequality, and health crises. It embodies an active stance in the urgent quest to address these issues. This roundtable discussion explored how capital deployment in mission-driven investments can accelerate positive change and the implications for traditional investment paradigms.

The panelists agreed that delivering financial returns alongside high impact is crucial but challenging. They discussed the importance of aligning business models with impactful outcomes and the need for a long-term perspective.

"Investing today in companies that are not sustainable is super risky,” Marie Ekeland, Founder & President, explained. “We need to create the new paradigm of the type of products and a way of investing in the sustainable transformation of the economy. We're funding today tomorrow's champions, just like back in the 2010s we were backing the champions of today."

Ashish Puri, Partner at Lightrock, noted that investments in climate tech often require significant capital due to the need for new processes and infrastructure. He emphasized the importance of de-risking technology and ensuring market adoption.

"We cannot change or reverse climate change without decarbonizing or reversing the things we used to do in the past. To do that, we have to set up new processes, new factories, new ways of doing things, which unfortunately will require CAPEX or more capital."

The panelists emphasized the need for a balanced approach that integrates financial returns with meaningful impact, supported by innovative frameworks and a long-term vision.

Scott Belsky from adobe Scott Belsky. Photo credit: VivaTech

The New Paradigm of Creativity and Digital Experiences

How is generative AI revolutionizing the worlds of creativity, marketing, and media, and the profound implications for consumers, creators, and business leaders? This discussion with Scott Belsky, CPO, EVP at Creative Cloud Adobe, was structured around five key waves of change that are shaping the future of personalized digital experiences.

Wave 1: Creativity as the New Productivity Historically, productivity tools were the key to professional success. Gen AI is shifting this paradigm towards creativity. Tools now enable individuals to express their ideas with minimal friction, emphasizing the value of creativity over mere productivity.

Wave 2: Growing Creative Confidence Creative confidence is highest in early childhood and declines due to criticism and comparison. New AI tools are rekindling this confidence by allowing people to express their ideas easily.

Wave 3: Expanded Creative Exploration AI tools like Adobe Firefly and Photoshop are enhancing creative exploration. This expands the surface area of creative possibilities, leading to higher-quality outputs. "Everyone can go from finding someone tell their story to being able to tell their own story. We are going from a world where every creative was very segment-constrained based on the skills they learned at school and now they can only become imagination-constrained."

Wave 4: Personalized Digital Experiences Future digital experiences will be highly personalized, moving away from generalized interactions. "We're going to a higher bar of experiences, from seeking efficiency to seeking meaning and scarcity, from being engaged by content to more so that being engaged by meaning. Because ultimately, the creativity that is effective is the creativity that moves us.”

Wave 5: Craving Craft, Story, and Meaning With an abundance of digital content, humans will increasingly seek meaningful and crafted experiences. AI-generated content lacks the "soul" that human creativity imparts, as illustrated by Casey Neistat's experiment with AI-scripted videos. The emphasis will be on verifying the human touch in content creation, appreciating the story and effort behind it.

lvmh innovation award 2024 Morgan Mao accepting the LVMH Innovation Award from Bernard Arnaud. Photo credit: VivaTech

Winners Unveiled

In addition to some astounding conferences, two awards took place today on stage: the Female Founder Challenge and the LVMH Innovation Award. Albane Dersy, Co-founder of Inbolt, walked away with the 2024 FFC title while Morgan Mao, Co-founder of FancyTech was given the 2024 LVMH Innovation Award grand prize by Bernard Arnaud, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at LVMH.

"This is a unique chance to work with our Maisons & contribute to the luxury sector's transformation," Arnaud said. "I trust their expertise will meet our ambition & customer expectations."

See You Tomorrow!

Even if VivaTech 2024 is already halfway over, there is still so much to happen over the next two days. Catch the breaking news on our social media: Instagram, X, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

Don’t forget to add the hashtag #VivaTech so we can see how you are spending your time at Europe’s biggest startup and tech event.

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