How Tomorrowland and The Day After Tomorrow have impacted our future (and may impact yours too!)

This weekend Tomorrowland, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike are bringing the Garden of Madness to the Sportaleis. Do you know what word SAS, Peter Hinssen and the world’s most renowned dance event have in common? It is no coincidence that SAS asked Peter Hinssen, author of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, to join our customers, partners and other valued members of our ecosystem to enjoy a day in and around Tomorrowland in those lovely Summer months. Together we could experience the future in all its diversity: the future of fun, the future of society, and the future of countless organizations contributing to this vision.

Beyond the digital era 

One of the recurring themes in this vision of the future is the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation, and of the infinite number and types of data that can be used to fuel this intelligence. Peter Hinssen did what he does best: he challenged the audience. AI is undeniably impacting the economy, society and our lives, he agreed, but are we really making progress? Are we overhyping or underestimating the impact of AI? Are we already exiting the digital era and entering the cognitive era? Food for thought for that day, and quite frankly, for the rest of our year.

But we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just thinking, warned Peter De Keyzer, strategic advisor and industry analyst, and founder of the aptly named strategic communication agency Growth Inc. Especially in Belgium, it is high time we start acting on our acquired data, if we want to stay competitive. Belgium is ranked almost 20th in the global innovation, far behind comparable countries such as the Netherlands and the Nordics. De Keyzer predicts a job loss of close to 700.000 jobs by 2030, but we could create at least as many new jobs if we start creating the right climate for innovation right now.

High time to become part of the future

At SAS, we consider this climate for innovation as one of our top priorities. Fortunately, our government is following suit in many areas. If they manage to realize successful AI projects and help create an ecosystem of AI evangelists and practitioners, the foundation for a promising innovation roadmap is already there. We feel privileged that, by helping several government departments in opening up data to the outside world and exploiting these data themselves, we can make our own contribution to this transformation process.

All attendants to this inspiring day agreed: the Day after Tomorrow may seem scary for many people and organizations, if only because the impact of technology and AI on the future is hard to assess. But the only way to make this future tangible is by becoming part of it. So we should get started, with some smaller use cases at first, and make our way towards large innovative, data-driven projects. And we should share our successes with our ecosystem and peers, because every step towards intelligent automation, and ultimately innovation, is a valuable one to us all. Regardless of who has moved forward, every individual step ultimately helps us all.

At the end of these shared insights and lively discussions, it was time to experience the fun of tomorrow, at the festival site of Tomorrowland. Dancing the night away on a continuous beat of bits and bytes, what better way to celebrate our future?