700 participants at Interactive West

Interactive West is the largest digital conference on Lake Constance. After a one-year break from Corona, IAW21 took place again in its usual form on 21 September 2021. Hundreds of participants were there - and I was there as a speaker.

The Interactive West 2021

Thought leaders, entrepreneurs and digital enthusiasts of all kinds met on 21 September 2021 at the largest digital conference on Lake Constance - Interactive West. In 2021, the must-attend event for all creative minds entered its eighth round. Around 700 participants embarked on a journey into the digital world. "We want to make digital tangible," emphasised moderator and Russmedia Managing Director Gerold Riedmann in his welcoming speech. Discovering surprising things and finally exchanging ideas in person again - that is the credo of the Digital Festival.

The speakers who appeared together with me spanned a broad spectrum: Science communicator Martin Moder (Science Busters), digital experts such as Martin Skoff (Microsoft), Christine Antlanger-Winter (Google), Thomas Wlazik (TikTok) or "Miss LinkedIn" Céline Willers as well as financial expert Pascal Egloff and ski jumping legend Toni Innauer. Visionary presentations, exciting discussions and inspiring talks were on offer. One could experience the big players of the digital business in an impressive atmosphere. But the Expo also offered space for local and national start-ups and companies and their innovative ideas.

My presentation at IAW21

In my lectures, I deal with the sense and nonsense behind digitalisation. For some time now, familiar habits and business models have been put to the test: Will there still be cities in the future? Or companies? What will happen when Amazon, Facebook or Google have failed? How does the programming of humanity work?

Computers, the internet and social media have promised us freedom and equality. It hasn't quite worked out yet. How could our wonderful information technology get so defensive? Sure, artificial intelligence, Facebook, Twitter and the like let us look into the abyss. But they are not technical abysses, they are human abysses. But as long as we can blame the technology, all is well. That way we don't need to think about ourselves. And we don't need to change either. But the future happens anyway.

How are we to understand the future? Projections only work if nothing changes. Forecasts only come true if they concern the past. Utopias demand sacrifices in the present for a questionable future. Many questions about the future remain open. Thought experiments are different: they do not predict the future, but they play with the possible and take away the fear of the unknown. They make complex changes tangible and create new perspectives. Thought experiments are the training camp for a successful future.

My personal highlights

What I liked most about IAW21 were the opportunities for networking, making interesting contacts and learning new things. There were also exciting master classes on digital trends and a large expo area with many companies and start-ups. Here you can find the detailed report on Interactive West 2021.

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Allegedly, Europe has missed the boat in digitalisation. Today, the digital world is dominated by Amazon, Google, Facebook & Co. These companies seem invincible to us - just like Nokia, Kodak or MySpace back then. I call this the "illusion of the factual". Yet Google has no future at all.

China: Quantum Computing and Digital Morality

Because one can hardly accuse Western reporting on China of being unbiased, I wanted to see the situation for myself. I was particularly interested in quantum technology, artificial intelligence and surveillance.

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