“Digital Fix – Fix Digital” at the NEXT Conference 2018: It’s time to save the digital world from itself

The controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica highlights some of the most pressing issues of the digital industry. At its core, the problem is the distribution of roles between humans and technology: Are digital services made to help their users – or are we merely producers of data that enable advertising-based business models? How humans can be placed back in the center of digital development, and how this can solve the problems in the digital industry, will be a topic of discussion among decision makers and experts on September 20 & 21 at the NEXT Conference 2018, with the motto “Digital Fix – Fix Digital”. Keynote speakers include the British-American author Andrew Keen (“How to fix the future”), Tech- and Design researcher Pamela Pavliscak (Change Sciences) as well as Rand Hindi, founder of the AI research lab Snips and one of the top 35 innovators under 35 according to MIT Technology review.

Criticism of the global internet titans is becoming increasingly loud – the topics of contention include their market power, data protection, hate speech, ethical standards for future technologies such as Artificial Intelligence as well as the social and economic ramifications of technological development. The problems are obvious, but what are possible solutions for them? It is this question that organizations in a digital economy must ask themselves, lest they eventually fall victim to their own disruptive mentality.

Digital Fix – Fix Digital: Finishing the Trilogy
The European digital festival NEXT brings together 1,500 stakeholders, thought leaders and creatives on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn to discuss interdisciplinary solutions for more human-friendly technologies. “In a way, Digital Fix as this year’s NEXT conference’s motto completes a trilogy for us”, says Matthias Schrader, founder of NEXT and CEO of SinnerSchrader. “With ‘Digital Ego’, we held a mirror up to ourselves as users, while last year’s ‘Digital Sucks’ openly addressed the problems in user experience. This year we take the next logical step and discuss how we can go back to user-centric ways of offering more humane solutions.”

“Our motto certainly also plays with the various meanings of the word Fix. We’re looking to repair something that has become indispensable for our lives. This reflects both the great challenge and the equally great need to solve these problems. For businesses, this means: They must turn away from technocracy and towards a digital Humanism. They must question whether or not their technological innovations serve the means of providing customers with the best possible experience”, explains Volker Martens, co-organizer of NEXT and Faktor 3 board member. “NEXT is a platform that enables a wide discussion about these topics and unites the paradigms of different industries.

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Digital festival in the heart of Hamburg
In this year, the topics of people-centered innovation, humanity-oriented design, socially relevant topics as well as technology trends and their effect on people are front and center at NEXT. Inspiration will be provided by experts such as author Andrew Keen (“How to fix the future”), French AI entrepreneur Rand Hindi as well as Pamela Pavliscak (Change Sciences), who researches our relationship to emotionally intelligent machines. In the morning, this will happen through keynotes on the stage of the “Kiez” theater Schmidts Tivoli, and in the afternoon, in supplementary workshops and master classes in clubs all around the Reeperbahn.

The NEXT conference is a close partner of the Reeperbahn Festival (September 19-22) again. Tickets for NEXT also grant access to the musical and cultural program of Europe’s biggest club festival. SinnerSchrader and FAKTOR 3 are co-organizers of the NEXT conference, which over the years has transformed from a traditional business conference into a digital festival.

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