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VivaTech 2024 – Trends and takeaways from Digitas NZ’s Head of Tech

VivaTech 2024, held in Paris, was a vibrant showcase of the latest technological advancements and groundbreaking innovations, bringing together the brightest minds in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Speakers included the likes of Elon Musk, Serena & Venus Williams, Robin Li, Arthur Mensch (CEO of Baidu), and Clara Shiha (CEO of Salesforce AI).

With a record-breaking attendance, the event was a testament to the power of global collaboration. There’s a lot to cover from the event, but – as someone with a sense of humour and a keen interest in technology – here’s a summary of my personal highlights and some of the most amusing moments from VivaTech 2024.

The star of the show – AI

Artificial intelligence was undoubtedly the star of VivaTech 2024. Nearly 40 percent of exhibitors were dedicated to AI, reflecting its central role in the event. The “AI Mile” showcased the latest developments in AI, with business leaders and startups converging to discuss how to leverage AI, avoid its pitfalls, and navigate an uncertain future.

Elon Musk’s session was a highlight, where he candidly discussed the ethical implications of AI, saying, “It’s important that AI is trained to be truthful, and not to be politically correct. Political correctness is often simply not true, and that means you’re programming AI to lie, and I think that will backfire very badly. Honesty is the best policy.” Musk’s emphasis on transparency and honesty in AI development is crucial as we navigate the complexities of integrating AI into various aspects of society.

In a humorous exchange, Musk embraced conspiracy theories about his extraterrestrial origins. When asked if he was an alien, he quipped, “I am an alien,” adding, “Yeah, I always tell people I’m an alien but no one believes me”.

Musk also expressed concerns about the impact of social media on children, urging parents to limit their exposure. He highlighted the role of AI in maximising user engagement through dopamine-driven algorithms, which can have negative effects on young minds.

The Future of Mobility

The future of mobility was a key topic, focusing on sustainable and innovative transportation solutions. Topics included the integration of new transportation technologies, increased accessibility in cities, and the role of TravelTech in shaping future mobility.

Discussions on smart mobility touched on the adoption of environmentally friendly mobility solutions in over 150 cities, as highlighted by McKinsey’s Future of Mobility report.

We also saw some interesting innovations, with La Poste Group showcasing its RECY’CLO project for repurposing electric bicycles, the Geopost autonomous robot for last-mile delivery, and cargo bikes designed for urban flexibility.

Breakthroughs in deeptech

Deeptech innovations were also prominently featured, showcasing innovations that extend the power of human capabilities. Events highlighted advancements in brain-computer interfaces, quantum computing, and other deeptech areas that are reshaping industries, with discussion focussing on the privacy and security implications of these technologies, as well as their potential to drive significant societal changes.

Sustainable tech and the Impact Bridge

Suzanne Everett.

Sustainability was another major focus at VivaTech 2024. The Impact Bridge, a space dedicated to initiatives for a sustainable future, showcased startups and associations with a positive impact on the planet and society. This emphasis on sustainability aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and promote environmental stewardship. Innovations in clean energy, waste management, and sustainable urban mobility were particularly noteworthy, highlighting the potential of technology to drive meaningful change.

Read more: Tech trends to look out for in 2024

Diversity and inclusion

The themes of Diversity and inclusion were central to VivaTech 2024. Over 40 percent of the speakers were women, and initiatives like the Female Founder Challenge and the launch of the second Femtech industry barometer by Femtech France underscored the event’s commitment to promoting gender diversity in the tech industry. This focus on diversity is crucial for fostering an inclusive tech ecosystem that leverages the talents and perspectives of all individuals.

Creators’ Economy

Lastly, I have to touch on the exciting topic of the booming creators’ economy, which really highlighted the intersection of technology and creativity, exploring trends in gaming, virtual reality, music, and entertainment. The creators’ economy, now valued at $100 billion, continues to grow, with over 50 million established creators worldwide. Discussions covered how AI algorithms are helping brands build personalized narratives and how new platforms are redefining content creation.

VivaTech 2024 certainly served to highlight the transformative potential of technology across numerous sectors, while also underscoring the importance of ethical considerations and sustainability in driving technological progress.

I for one, was left very inspired, especially when reflecting on the power of technology to drive meaningful change. As we look forward to next year’s event, the seeds of innovation planted at VivaTech 2024 promise to bloom and shape a better future for all.

Suzanne Everett is Digitas New Zealand’s Head of Technology, leading the agency’s digital and MarTech technology capability. She’s passionate about blending creativity and technology to develop and execute innovative technology strategies for clients.

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