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Google, Facebook, The New York Times, Lego and MEC Global shared their views on future of digital. Here’s everything you need to know.


The opening debate at iCEE.fest 2017 brought together professionals from some of the most representative companies of the digital & tech world.

Founder and Managing Director @ Think Digital Group, Odysseas Ntotsikas hosted this debate, seeking the right answers to the questions that are shaping the future of the industry.

Key points of discussion:

  • Digital is transforming the younger generations
  • Artificial Intelligence will have a greater impact on our lives
  • Automation in marketing: are we ready for more?
  • The digital has created a good environment for the fake news to develop

Meagan Lopez (The New York Times), Jan Jirsa (LEGO), Ela Moraru (Google), Catalina Ionescu (Facebook), Jessica Chapplow (MEC Global) and Constantine Kamaras (IAB Europe) also analyzed the pitfalls of this age’s advancements. Although it’s almost a misnomer to even mention any disadvantages of the technological evolution, there are serious downsides that come along with this level of convenience and access.

Technology, media and social networking have us hooked. As the landscape gets denser, more complex, and more participatory, the networked population is gaining greater access to information, more opportunities to engage, but also a more uncontrolled exposure to an addictive environment that sometimes becomes difficult to manage and separate from the reality.

Kids get more and more dependent to the gadgetry that accompanies the technology, stress levels rise in every age and we grow more and more apart, communication wise.

How much technology in your life is enough?

Even if he built the most of his career in digital marketing, Jan Jirsa (Brand Engagement Director CEEMEA, LEGO) – here next to Meagan Lopez from New York Times – stays on top of the tech game thanks to his 4 children.

“Everything is moving so fast in tech, as never before. I don’t want to end up with having a virtual eye but I would like to try that” Jan Jirsa, LEGO

Today’s pre-teens and teens are born in this digital world; they don’t know what is was like 20 or 30 years ago, when the internet (and everything it brought with it) wasn’t such an important part of our lives.

“6 years old kids are using fidget spinner these days to decrease the stress. I didn’t know what stress was when I was my child’s age” Jan Jirsa, LEGO

“We live a dog’s life because one year of internet is like 7 years of analog time”

On the same note, Constantine Kamaras (Chairman of the Board of Directors, IAB Europe) says that the most important thing is to observe how the kids today are developing in this digital world.

“What I find puzzling in terms of kids: it is us that have our origins in the analog world and what brings tensions for us in terms of tech, it’s normality for our kids”

“It is interesting how kids will behave when they become teens and young adults” Constantine Kamaras, IAB Europe

Is Artificial Intelligence changing everything?

Publishing, marketing, creativity, strategy planning – there are countless areas that technology altered. Not only today, but in the past hundreds of years, since printing was invented. What is happening now is unprecedented in terms of speed, spread and therefore, impact.

“What happens when all these systems will become more and more adaptive, requiring less human intervention? I think it depends on the lens we’re looking through because we have different expectations” Jessica Chapplow, MEC Global

Automation is related to some of the biggest accomplishments today and the level of implementation is increasing.

The question is, until when? And is the AI the next step?

“I really enjoyed sharing my perspective on how organizations can leverage AI, and the impact that evolutionary algorithms will have on the media and retail landscape” Jessica Chapplow, MEC Global

Are the robots about to have a major impact on the labor market? How should we react to this automation trend?

“I don’t think it’s us vs robots. I think relevance is very important, because, at the end of the day we are here for the people”

“We used to do traditional marketing, now we’re doing digital marketing. Either way, we must think about what’s important for the people.” Catalina Ionescu, Facebook

“1 out of 4 people doesn’t understand your ad”

Automation has solved many marketing problems, but Google‘s Ela Moraru has presented some figures that make us believe not all the markets are ready for the highest level of technology available today.

  • Only 4% of Romanians buy and read books monthly
  • 46% of Romanians are functional analphabets, which means that they read but they don’t understand what they’re reading
  • Almost 70% of Romanians are online

“If we do the math, 25% of those who are online don’t understand a word of what they are reading”.

“When you do your advertising, when you think how you’ll position your brand, think that 1 out of 4 doesn’t understand it” Ela Moraru, Google

The war on Fake News

Fake news were always there but the publishers were heavily affected by them in the past 2 years.

Is technology helping fake news to rise and develop? More and more seems to think so.

“At the end of the day, we’re looking for the simple things, and that are the facts. The only thing we can do to combat fake news is to do exactly what we did in the last 50 years. To write the facts” Meagan Lopez, The New York Times

Many of the US major media networks entered a serious debate regarding fake news since Donald Trump’s election:

“The president calls us “The failing NYT” very often but every time he does that we see our subscription rise” Meagan Lopez, The New York Times

At the end of the debate, Ela Moraru came with this conclusion: “don’t talk about technology and machine learning as if they are something wrong. It’s only about how we use it“.

And that is true at every level, because it’s in our power to control technology and make it work in our best interest.

Here is the complete Opening Debate @ iCEE.fest 2017:


All the presentations and debates from iCEE.fest 2017 will be soon available in iCEE.academy.

We’ve just released a limited number of 200 full passes for iCEE.fest 2018 with a 75% discount

Daniel Marton


Daniel Marton

After 3 years as a radio reporter (back in 2003), Daniel has experienced some other options that media can offer: 2 years as a special reporter (print), 2 years as a news commentator (tv), 2 years as an editor-in-chief (online) plus another 5 years as an online manager (digital). Since 2016, he is a freelance journalist, delivering documented articles and creative ideas for any kind of media. Ever since then, Daniel joined the iCEE.fest family, as a contributing editor for iCEE.news.

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