Houston, we have a problem
Shaping the future: navigating digital disruption, polarisation and climate collapse with the power of storytelling.
In this keynote, Rik takes the audience on a journey of 30 years of digital disruption. In doing so, he sheds light – on the one hand – on the massive challenges humankind is facing while – on the other – showing that we have an enormous problem of our own making. There is no Houston to save us; we are Houston.
The dawn of two-way communication provoked an unexpected turning point in human history; we’re too close to it to fully appreciate the staggering consequences. In this keynote, Rik talks about the good, the bad and the ugly that we have all caused with technology. He will discuss the ambiguities of disruption, artificial intelligence, privacy, the Capitol riot, grandchildren and Mark Zuckerberg in his own daring way, provoking you while putting things into perspective. Rik dissects unguided digital disruptors and sleep-walking incumbents, the tech generation, old captains of industry and many modern-day hypes. He calls everything into question in a critical analysis of the current (digital) context.
Rik manages to associate well-known icons from popular culture with the turning points in technological developments. That’s how he comes to talk about ‘the Upside Down’ from Stranger Things, business books like Hooked, literature like Lord of the Flies, art by Magritte, lyrics by The Beatles and anecdotes of personal encounters with Alexander Nix and Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He combines all of this in an unusual but captivating story that seems to have an unhappy ending, but that suddenly becomes deeply hopeful for the next 30 years.
Rik doesn’t just focus on the biggest problems, he also emphasises and plays on the power of storytelling to stimulate the human brain. Neuroscience has shown us that stories can help us understand complex problems, connect with others, and change the way in which we interact with each other and the planet.
‘Houston, we have a problem’ is like a painting by Breugel: lively, rich and full of discoveries. It’s a strong yet incredibly positive call to action. The clock is ticking…