< Go to Homepage

Web Summit, Europe’s Largest Tech Conference, Puts Your Future on Display

Technology By
Web Summit's attendees light up the flash lights of their phones at the main stage during the Web Summit at Parque das Nacoes, in Lisbon on November 9, 2016. Europe's largest tech event Web Summit will be held at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon from November 7 to 10, 2016. (Patricia De Melo Moriera/AFP/Getty Images)
Web Summit’s attendees light up the flash lights of their phones at the main stage during the Web Summit at Parque das Nacoes, in Lisbon on November 9, 2016. Europe’s largest tech event Web Summit will be held at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon from November 7–10, 2016. (Patricia De Melo Moriera/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Europe’s largest tech convention, Web Summit, which took place in Lisbon last month, had some of the top gadgets in the industry on display—which at risk of sounding too overly dramatic, could define our future.

Writing for The Atlantic, Sam Kriss argues that there’s two ways of thinking about technology: functional and material. Those that fall into the former category view tech as a tool to help them achieve their goals. Says Kriss of the former:

“A hammer drives in a nail; a virtual bartender is interacted with over Facebook Messenger. Web Summit is a grand exposition of all these new tools; here you can find the things that might be making all our tasks easier for decades to come.

The latter approach views tech as a facilitator between humans, regulating their relationships. In this case, the hammer

“… builds a wooden house in which the distinct family unit can wall themselves off from the world; a virtual bartender keeps you in that house long after dark in a silent city full of humming unearthly-white screens.”

Web Summit Opening Ceremony on November 7, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media/Getty Images News)
Web Summit Opening Ceremony on November 7, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media/Getty Images News)

Ultimately, Kriss concludes Web Summit is “where humanity rushes towards its extinction.” Why? Find out by reading his full piece here. Below, watch a highlight reel from the conference.