Yesterday, I’ve had the opportunity to attend (and present at) the Data Natives 2015 conference in Berlin. Data Natives 2015 is the first conference of its kind, organized by the team around Dataconomy and countless volunteers.
The topics covered a wide range of topics, from high level-business questions “What is required to become a truly algorithmic enterprise” – answered succinctly by Mike Gualtieri with “implementing and using predictive applications” to deeply technical questions such as the use of stochastic gradient descent for personalized recommendations in E-Commerce.
As can be expected from a packed, two-track conference with more than 500 attendees, there was too much going on to cover in the tracks, and aside from this the networking space at nhow Hotel at river Spree offered plenty of distractions and enlightening conversations.
One of the highlights of the conference for me was the opening keynote by Louisa Heinrich, who jumped in for Kirk Borne. Louisa explored what kinds of misunderstandings antropomorphizaton of technology can bear, i.e. the human tendency to ascribe human properties to technical entities, machines or algorithms. The idea that machines and algorithms do not replace humans, because they are not acting or thinking human, but that they can augment human weaknesses (for instance in mass decision making) rings true from the experience I’ve been making with bringing predictive applications to retailers.