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Algorithms And Love, In Germany

Today, I spoke at Wisdom Together in Germany. It is open-heartedly convened by Alfred Tolle, former CEO of Lycos and exec at Google, who feels an alarming need to cultivate discourse on technology and values. With a stellar crew of speakers, ranging from chairman of a German bank to a famous actor and mesmerizing singer to a b-school professor and a neuroscientist, it made for spirited conversations about the future of technology. I was the last speaker of the conference, going right after Google's brand evangelist. And my topic was unabashedly "Algorithms and Love". :)

Algorithms are everywhere, but they are also dangerously opaque to most of us. As they automate the status quo, it's not such great news if you want transformation. Particularly, if you care for inner transformation. So I invited an inquiry about shifting from "big data" to "deep data" -- and considering the unique value-add that human beings bring to the table. Like compassion. :)

For what felt like a very-long-time, :) the crowd applauded and happily cheered for these values I spoke about. At the end, as all the speakers came on stage for a farewell, I spontaneously invited everyone to ditch the stage (below) and come together in a giant hug around the chairs. I wish I had a picture of it. Astrid Brinck, a dear sister from Chile, had everyone harmonizing by singing different notes. I'd imagine most of us had the chills. Love trumped algorithms.

Lots of gratitude to Alfred for courageously tilling the soil. Former chief of an 18 billion dollar company is now in the trenches, organizing conferences as his labor of love, and trying to give wings to a different kind of narrative. Big hugs, bro!

The interactions from the conference have continued on. I was particularly touched to receive a note from Klemens, a fellow I met in the lunch line, the day before: "It was wonderful to see how humbly you went through the event. Going to each and every place where help was needed, not making a difference between "important" and "not important" people, bringing joy and beauty into this event! Simply beautiful!"

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