Biometric Mirror a stand-out at WEF Summer Davos

13 August 2019

Left to right: Zaher Joukhadar, Frank Vetere, Jessica Vovers
Left to right: Zaher Joukhadar, Frank Vetere, Jessica Vovers

Each year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) holds its second-largest event, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as Summer Davos, in Dalian, People’s Republic of China. Between the 1–3 July, Professor Frank Vetere and Zaher Joukhadar, from the Interaction Design Lab (IDL), attended the 2019 Summer Davos event, alongside PhD Candidate and Science Communicator, Jessica Vovers from the Melbourne School of Engineering and Science Gallery Melbourne. This year’s theme was Globalization 4.0, focusing on worldwide economic challenges emerging from technological disruptions, environmental issues, and other key societal developments.

The Interaction Design Lab exhibit, ‘Reflecting the Limitations of AI’, focused on the digital and ethical issues associated with AI technologies and featured our Biometric Mirror project.  It was displayed alongside a robotic surgeon, da Vinci Robot, and Pinscreen, a deepfake application. Biometric Mirror was visited by ministers, business leaders and government workers from across the globe, including the founder of WEF, Klaus Schwab. It experienced its largest-ever showcase, with close to 2,300 visits logged – more than the number of attendees at the event, indicating some people came back for multiple visits!

During the conference, alongside several invaluable discussions with visitors, were opportunities to expand public knowledge through interactions with local media outlets. Professor Frank Vetere gave a talk on on human-centric technology and design – exploring Biometric Mirror and the Aging and Avatars project. He and Jessica Vovers was also interviewed by CGTN, during their live tour of Summer Davos. Moreover, Biometric Mirror emerged as a trending topic on popular Chinese social networking app, Weibo.

For more information on Biometric Mirror, see the article by Professor Frank Vetere and Dr Niels Wouters ‘Holding a Black Mirror Up to Artificial Intelligence’.