From 5-9 September, more than 16,000 curious entrepreneurs gathered in the city of Copenhagen with one goal – to set a more human-centred direction for tech. The second edition of Techfestival in Copenhagen was mainly focused on the impact that technology has on our lives. It aimed to provide, once again, a collaborative space for experts from all backgrounds to brainstorm the next wave in tech and set goals for making it more human.
The festival took place in Kødbyen – the iconic Meatpacking District – which turned into the perfect location for the conference's many talks, panel discussions, workshops, and keynotes. Big names such as Claire Evans and Bruce Sterling shared their insights on the open-air stage and challenged participants to come up with solutions for a better and more humanized tech world.
In last year’s edition of Techfestival, 150 tech-thought leaders were locked in Refshaleøen for 24 hours to discuss the future of technology and create a manifesto called The Copenhagen Letter. You can find a wrap up of last year’s event here.
This year, the experiment and the cause got even bigger. The same 150 participants were locked in the uKirke – a famous church in Copenhagen – for 48 hours. The goal this time was to provide 150 principles to help set a new, more human(ity)-centered direction for tech. During the two days, each of the 150 participants worked on his/her own principles. In the end, all concepts were gathered to create The Copenhagen Catalog.
Come to Investors Day & betapitch Global 2018 to see the Copenhagen Catalog live! You'll find it on display at our betahaus | Pop-Up on 15 November from 12pm-5pm.
Together with people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities our co-founders – Christoph and Madeleine –took a deep dive into the relationship between humans & technology. Here’s what they had to say about the event and the principles they were working on.
''The whole event felt more like a public forum than the usual tech convention,'' said Madeleine. ''And it was just like meeting old friends. We all started together couple of years ago and now we have bigger responsibilities for the direction in which tech is heading. For the first time in a very long time my role was not to represent betahaus, but to contribute to the tech community and search for a positive change, mindset, and direction. And this felt great!''
When asked about the process, Madeleine explained: ‘’During the 48h brainstorm session, we were first divided into a few groups, depending on the topic we chose to work on whether it be tech in our governments, food systems, personal relationships, families and so on.‘’
Already by the second session, Madeleine had picked her topic – kids’ tech consumption. As a mother of two children, she was terrified of the consequences that tech could have on kids, if parents don’t restrict their usage. In Berlin, for example, there is an increasing awareness about healthy food. At the same time, you see children staring at phone screens for multiple hours a day, watching videos or playing games and nobody does anything about it. Madeleine believed that in the same way we know what is on our children’s plate and what kind of food we’re feeding them, we should create a Digital Nutrition Facts Box and start paying more attention to what is healthy and in what quantities they should be consuming technology.
Christoph went in a different direction building his principle. He tried to trace the evolution of tech, see where it went wrong, and solve the problem for future generations. ‘’Some decades ago, technology made some huge promises regarding democracy, yet today the tech world is ruled by the Big 4s (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) having a monopoly over the tech world. It promised solutions about climate change, about the inequality of nations, or the health sector, but nowadays the problems are only getting bigger and bigger.
HIs solution was to ‘’Always Build An Escape Pod’’ in case things don’t work out as intended.
We are excited to share that one of the co-founders of Techfestival, Thomas Madsen-Mygdal, is joining us for Investors Day and BETAPITCH Global on 15 November! He’s also bringing the Copenhagen Catalog in the form of exhibition. Grab your ticket for the event and come hear him speak. During Investors Day, the 150 principles will be spread around betahaus reminding both startups and investors of the direction we want to set for tech.
Can't make it to Investors Day? Check out some of the other events going on around the house.
Have you met .. the Softblobs? Since moving back to Berlin from the US, Gesine Krätzner has been making strange creatures out of fabric that she calls Softblobs. They are cute, random, and they'll be waiting in The Basement if you want to try playing around with them.
From toys made of fabric, we’re moving onto wooden sculptures. Matt Danko knows how to bring wood to life and does it amazingly in his free time. In The Basement, he’ll show his latest furniture pieces and sculptures.
In the same room as Matt, you’ll find Lisa Büscher, who has prepared for us a hyper realistic sculpture presentation that gives it the touch of the extreme, surrealistic and absurd. She de- and reconstructs and reorganizes human bodies like Utopia does society.
Colette is a Berlin-based creative working in photography, art direction and set design. Through her visuals she explores intimacy and anonymity. The space that falls somewhere in between.
Ocean. Now! is a collective that accelerates ocean protection. They work with different types of art to motivate our society to protect the Ocean -Now!
In the early afternoon, based in The Garden, you’ll meet Amaury BOUQUET. He’s a Berlin-based French artist from Saint Maur des Fossés, who has a background in social innovation and loves to play with symbols in his works. At 10 Years in beta, he’ll do his special Humanist Tarot readings from 4-6pm.
Parallel to him, also in The Garden, Sebastian Olivares will be painting live a special Mandala created for betahaus. Sebastian is a Berlin-based visual artist who specializes in painting mandala murals and has painted murals in Germany, Chile, Australia and Thailand.
Throughout the day ilan katin will be putting the party vibes onto a mural, specially created for betahaus. He's a Neukölln-based artist with experience in visual work, both static and performative, graphic design, illustration, comics, installations, animation and live video.
We think this one speaks for itself. If you need a little glitz or glitter to get you into the party spirit, come early and we'll do the rest.
Last, but not least, special thanks to our lovely partners who are helping us making this event happen.
Pilsner Urquell and Fritz Cola for the drinks, Emmy, Drivy, FrameRight, CoffeeCircle, Dream Facilitation, Moruga and BioWine for supporting our Prize Draw and our media partners from Silicon Allee, ASK HELMUT, Creative City Berlin and TechCode.