The TNW Conference 2023 is over! And what a couple of days that is; a whirlwind of phenomenal insights, extraordinary events and connections across the tech ecosystem.
We’ve talked about diversity and inclusion, why design anything at all, the importance of building not just scale-ups but stayups, how to secure funding for VCs and beyond, and of course there have been many discussions about AI. Although the selection was incredibly difficult, here are some of the highlights from the last two days.
The speakers and sessions
Nagin Cox, interplanetary storyteller and NASA engineer, took the main stage for “Ad Astra (To the Stars): Before We Send Humans, We Send Robots.” This talk was quite literally an extraordinary shift in perspective and captured the spirit of TNW -Themes from 2023 – Reclaim the Future – perfectly together.
Nagin, who has worked on an incredible number of NASA space exploration missions, quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead. Instead, go where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, co-founder of Applied Sciences, and Myrthe van der Erve, CEO, at the opening of the conference
The tickets are officially sold out
However, there may still be some last minute spots available
Among those breaking new ground is Viktoriia Itskovych, Kyiv’s first deputy CIO. She shared her first-hand experience of turning a public transport app into a digital lifeline for thousands of people across the Ukrainian capital.
After the full-scale Russian invasion began in February 2022, Viktoriia and her team literally relocated to Kiev’s main data center for a few weeks, working to secure infrastructure and build new features, from airstrike alerts to evacuation plans.
Discussing the lessons learned, she pointed out that the COVID pandemic and ongoing war have shown the importance of preparing for scenarios that may seem utterly impossible.
“What should we prepare for next? An alien invasion,” she asked the audience. “You laugh, and I laugh too, but it doesn’t feel as impossible as it used to.”
During an insightful question-and-answer session on the TNW Talks stage, Rana Gujral – CEO of Behavioral Signals – delved into how advances in cognitive AI and speech recognition software can help transform not just human-to-machine , but also to improve human-to-human communication.
Rana also highlighted some of the most pressing questions surrounding AI: should we stop its development? How do we ensure an ethical approach? And why should we focus on creating empathetic artificial intelligence?
David Heinemeier Hansson is interviewed by Christina Criddle on the vision stage.
also dr Tom Furness III – Founder and Chairman of Virtual Worlds – wowed the audience on our TNW Talks stage with invaluable experiences and insights.
Hailed as the “grandfather” of virtual reality and augmented reality, the pioneering inventor, professor and entrepreneur delved deep into his journey in XR development and shared with the TNW audience how the transformative power of this technology is for humanitarian applications used can have social impact and improve our lives.
Lubomila Jordanova, Founder and CEO of carbon accounting platform Plan A, and Jamie Crummie, co-founder of sustainable food waste app Too Good To Go attended the Growth Quarters, which took place to a packed audience.
These two founders have built and scaled influential companies against all odds and are now thriving thanks to their dedication. An important snack? “Stop wasting time! We must act now on the climate issue,” says Jordanova, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd.
Speaking of taking action on climate change, while TNW is at the forefront of technology, it’s also driving the next in sustainable hospitality. Once again, the bold decision has been made to offer all food locally sourced and vegetarian – from delicious flatbreads and temaki to kebabs and good old fries.
By eliminating meat from its catering offering, TNW wants to drastically reduce CO2 emissions2 emissions and help save large amounts of fresh water and land. In addition to the meatless menu, only reusable utensils, cups, plates and packaging were used at the event and no single-use plastic was sold.
“It’s a great thing to see” called Chris Carmichael, Head of Corporate Innovation at TUI Musement, on LinkedIn. “I’ve attended many, many major conferences over the years, but TNW is the first where I’ve put so much emphasis on sustainability.”
The side events
During one of the most influential side events of the conference, companies, corporations and policymakers from around the world came together to discuss the challenges and opportunities of DEI in the technology world. The ideas were organized around four main themes: legislation, putting DEI into action, developing related initiatives and setting related goals for organizations.
Thanks to the Amsterdam American Book Center, our visitors were also able to meet some of the speakers at the book signing.
For the first time ever, TNW organized ferry shuttles from Amsterdam Central Station. Anyone who got up on time will have experienced the gentle morning breeze while cruising the IJ or the epic mood of sailing into the sunset on the KPMG Karaoke Cruise on the evening of day one.
And of course all the amazing startups came together to network, funders and policymakers all looking to build and support the ecosystems that will take the technology into its next chapter – and we’re incredibly excited to be a part of that .
See you at the TNW Conference 2024!