Web Summit 2017
6 powerful
tech trends to watch

60,000+ people, 1,200+ speakers and 2,600+ journalists from 170 countries gathered in Lisbon, Portugal for Web Summit – the largest tech event of the year. Here are some of the most powerful tech trends we spotted there and our key takeaways.

Hottest topic: AI
Artificial intelligence dominated conversations across every industry and every scene. Listening to Stephen Hawking talk about how we’re all responsible for considering AI’s effect on humans and society resonates strongly with Veryday’s thinking on the subject. As designers, we believe we play a significant role in making human-centered artificial intelligence.

Cool things happening in VR/AR
There’s finally some real movement and some real examples of virtual reality and augmented reality products hitting the market. Although getting VR/AR into the hands of consumers is still a challenge, Blippar is one example of a company with the potential to change that. At the summit, they launched an app that overlays AR onto the real world, allowing people to use their phones to grab navigation advice and data about what’s right there on the street in front of them.

Emotional ethics
Having the technology to detect real emotions seems to be just around the corner. From a research perspective, we find it super interesting to see the difference between what people say and what they really mean. But we, along with many others, are pondering the ethical question: From a human perspective, do we really want full transparency at all times?

Smart citizens
Smart citizens was another strongly trending topic that seemed to revolve around ethics. We note that a lot of good brains are currently debating full transparency in the area of citizens owning their own personal data. At Veryday, our lens is closely focused on smart citizens. Here are four valuable areas of exploration:
1. Set new digital rights as citizens reinvent democracy
2. Data as a new form of infrastructure – just like energy and roads
3. Data ethics – how citizens understand the social contract on use of their personal data
4. The digital marketplace – inviting citizens to co-create and share the outcome of citizen services

Humanizing autonomy
Our colleagues at the digital product studio Ustwo shared their research on humanizing autonomy. We came away from the presentation on self-driving cars with some interesting insights on how the passenger experience of the future can be adapted to real human needs. Surprisingly, Ustwo uncovered an insight that people aren’t really interested in driverless cars; they do want a driver but they’re ok if that driver is AI. And we highly recommend the free e-book Ustwo released at the summit, Humanising Autonomy: Where Are We Going? – a must read for anyone interested in the space.

Seeing all these emerging technologies makes us think that what we do at Veryday, in understanding people and how they interact with technology, is becoming more important than ever.

Erik Ceder, Senior Designer, Veryday

Post-summit download
Taking a step back to look at the major trends we observed at Web Summit, it’s clear that interfaces of the future need to be designed based on real human needs. And going forward, new UX design patterns and interaction systems will also be a priority. Overall, we see a very bright future for human-centered design.