Web Summit 2016 – a short review

A week ago I have been in Lisbon on Web Summit(around 53 000 of participants). It was very inspirational and deep look into the future of web from the most influential minds. It covered different areas of web and life: devops, fullstack, health, sport, music, AI, money, future society and so on. The conference took 3 days full of speeches and one evening of the welcome speech.

The one of the main focuses was on AI and how to prepare ourselves to the next 20 years.
According to the words of one of the speakers, in 20 years we will get so much innovations as in last 1000 years. It means a huge shift in the everyday life. With technologies we got a lot but also we will lose a lot. Already today, people can see how robots are replacing humans at their workplaces. People are losing jobs, it means the society and government must be prepared and think about the social aspect of what this innovation brings and takes at the same time.

The concept of the web development is shifting from the mobile-first to the AI-first approach so the web becomes smart. However the first question comes to the mind, how much of your personal data you are ready to sacrifice to be learned by some machine and marketers for making the website where you are going to buy shoes smarter.

At the same time the company which is collecting user’s data must decide exactly what data about user should be saved and are useful for the market research then put the restriction on saving other irrelevant data about users. The less data is possessed by a company the safer it is for users and the company itself in the case it will be hacked, stolen or illegally used by third parties.

Several discussions were about the backdoor for a government, in summary it leads to the thoughts:
1) The big data requires the big responsibility and the high security level of stored user data.
2) “The Backdoor” for a government can be served as well as a “backdoor” for “bad” guys
3) The reasoning that data can be used to track and catch criminals and terrorists is quite arguable because the pattern which determine the virtual behaviour of such criminals
is not yet determined and does not exist, therefore the big data will not help so much nowadays.
4) The total control over all possible data about people leads to a total control over humanity which is hardly associated with the democracy and freedom of choice and speech.

Someone even said that the main problem of self-driven machine is not about how avoid a crush but about loosing the control over the machine by a human sitting in this car, person never can be sure where it takes to go.

Another speech was about the future of Facebook and similar services which poses the big data about their users must think about the security from the day one.

One topic was about a usage of the big data within an education area. There is no average student, every human has a different background, a social position, financial possibilities, the level of education and the hungriness for a new skill. It means some people learn faster some learn slower, in result, it might be useful to extend the learning period for some of them. Another benefit of using the big data is to identify the right student for the right course, because in this case it guarantees the higher job finding outcome.

The main focus of the future for DevOps is the monitoring of microservices, since it’s still hard to deploy microservices and keep them connected. To make the cycle down, we need even more collaboration between different participants to count how long it takes to go from the idea to the released feature.

Several topics were focused on the work environment and worker’s health. On example of Stack Overflow, Jon Skeet explained how important to ask right questions in order to get the right answer. At the same time even if the question is wrongly provided still we should keep the empathy to hear each other and try to help with the question formulation and provide a relevant answer. Important to remember to be positive. Moreover, the society drives fast into the notification world where it is useful sometimes turn off everything, take care of ourselves and invest into life quality.
Some interesting debates were about robots, f.e., should the robot have a human body or not? In result, the votes of the public showed up that robots should not have a human body because the robots should be used to resolve real-world problems, they are replacing humans on dangerous or hard, complex workplace and at some points are slaves of humans. However, it can help to understand the structure of the human body and mentality better, then it might lead to the solving of the health problem for people with some sort of disabilities. At the same time, the idea to teach robot to smile and by giving it emotions, it is possible to repeat the story described in the movie “Bicentennial Man”(“200-årsmannen”).
Another debate topic was about innovation labs of the banks if these labs are able to compete and survive the wave of startups.

Personally, I really like the presentation about hacking, how it is easy to break the code today and even children can turn off somebody’s phone showing how open and insecured our technologies.
The interesting talk was about keeping the product relevant, shortly, the company must be obsessed with a problem, not with a product or a solution. The right solution will always come when a company has the right understanding and obsession of the problem which has to be solved.

In the sport web, the main focus is on platforms which helps to track new talents and provide the remote education.
In the music web, the main focus is to make the space where the talented people can be found and find the collaboration with other artists to create new projects and discover new stars.
The whole Web Summit was great and even more inspirational and interesting talks about web future were provided. Some talks have totally opposite points of view since helps to look at the future from the different points of view.
The main point is to think about the next years innovations and already today to sit down and begin the discussion how to prepare the society, government, law system and mainly ourselves for a AI and robotic shift to avoid the possible negative moments.

More information about Web Summit https://websummit.net/

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