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11 Big Ideas from the Hub Culture Innovation Campus 2018

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1st Jul 2018




The 2018 Hub Culture Innovation Campus featured a wealth of action with activities in Paris, Cannes and Monaco during the month of June. From dozens of conversations, small events, bilateral meeting and brainstorms, we’ve distilled 11 big ideas from this year’s programme.

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National AI

In Paris, the conversation focused on artificial intelligence and its implications, with the conclusion that the world is soon to be awash in artificial intelligence systems designed for national security. Part of this is a response to 2017’s unprecedented waves of cyber attacks and online political interference, which are giving rise to the weaponisation of cyber and social.

As China focuses state level efforts to build artificial intelligence systems for the party fed by social scoring programs like Sesame and pervasive identity recognition, other states are being forced to develop and scale AI systems to compete. The competition is both between states and within states, and includes the United States, European states, Israel, Russia and other governments.

These systems are seeping across borders, where foreign states and their AI systems deploy tactics of influence and control beyond their own populations. Who will counter such systems on the behalf of regular citizens, and how will we ensure fair use by governments of these rapidly learning surveillance and governance systems?

Cyber Noses

Companies like Israel based Nanoscent Labs are mapping the molecular structure of scent to digitise smells. The company uses precise sensors to analyse molecular components of a scent, then map it to a deep neural network that generalises the data and looks for trends and outcomes.

The result is particularly interesting in the health world, where a breath analysis can determine the existence of protein markers pointing to various diseases, or the smells from feces can indicate early stage Parkinson’s disease. By creating a digital data structure for scent, the company is also working to eventually digitally transmit and reassemble algorithmic formulas for particular smells.

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African Solar Grids

The African Solar Grid is emerging to connect rural Africans to a range of services. Companies like Orange France are partnering with energy providers to build off-grid solar stations that power mobile towers, and selling home solar packages that provide a home with reliable, clean and low cost energy solutions. A solar home pack often includes more than a solar panel to provide light and electricity.

TVs, radio, cook stoves and other package appliances can come with a package, and any excess energy created by the solar point can be sold back to the grid, offsetting the cost of the package or generating income for users. Next, these off-grid services are going to become connected, allowing green villages to emerge in a distributed grid.

Perfumed Tattoos

Coming to fashion retailer near you: perfumed tattoos. What if you could wear your favourite scent as a temporary tattoo, emanating a scent for as long as the tattoo lasts on your skin? Perfumed inks and benozzled bling will deliver perfume in new ways, opening a connection between visual body art and fragrance.

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High Alkaline Water

The western diet, in general, is too acidic. The foods we eat and the drinks we consume, especially alcohol and soft drinks, tend to contain a low pH, contributing to higher acidity in the body. To counter this, product developers are turning to natural sources of high pH water to introduce more alkaline products to health conscious consumers. From simple alkaline water to pH balanced foods, we are beginning to see new attention to the manipulation of pH in the body as a daily part of health regimes. 

High alkaline products can help to neutralise and reduce acidity in the body, which some believe can lower the risk of cancer and other ailments. It also affects \'mouth feel\' for instance in how a liquid is sensed by taste receptors on the tongue.

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SDG Bonds

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 goals for 2030 the world has agreed on tackling to improve the lives of all. Companies and individuals around the world are invited to contribute to solutions toward the SDGs from all points of view, but to achieve real change financing is needed. Enter SDG Bonds - specially ranked investment bonds for projects that adhere to progressing the SDGs. The World Bank and other organisations are quickly adapting their ‘lending lenses’ to consider SDG components in lending.

Municipal Bond Tokens

Blockchain believers think everything is about to be tokenised - so what better thing to tokenise than muni bonds, allowing anyone and everyone to crowdsource new schools, roads, bridges and other local public infrastructure. Municipal Bonds on the blockchain would provide access to new liquidity for communities struggling to make ends meet, while providing transparent investment returns for communities they serve. Properly applied, municipal bond tokens could allow communities a new say in how public funding is applied to much needed infrastructure projects.

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Fortnite Brand Teams

Fortnite is this summer’s gaming obsession, drawing in a booming global audience of youth to short cooperative games in which players build, loot, fight and cooperate to survive in a massive multiplayer environment. Fortnite is almost as fun to watch as it is to play, and that’s opening huge audiences who watch the best players in e-sports competitions that play out live on your phone.

Audiences attract brands, with vanguard brands like Red Bull rushing to sponsor top players and teams to build, fight and win real paydays. It’s also rumoured the next season of Fortnite will include branded teams, unlocking a revenue boom for the makers and their players.

Family Office Networks

Nexus and other elite family office networks are changing the game for long term investment projects. Unlike venture capital, family offices are designed to invest reserve capital from families with wealth, but are not able to raise money from outside investors due to regulatory constraints. Instead, family office networks are emerging to synchronise and enhance investment strategies between investors, often with an eye toward ESG and impact oriented outcomes.

Together, these networks have the potential to scale impact and drive better outcomes for society, which are often consistent with their private, longer term and cross generational outlooks.

Consciousness Patterns

The closing days of the Campus worked on our relationship with the conscious mind. Research shows that meditation and other techniques can help us disconnect from Pavlovian reflexes that drive looping interactions in how we react to situations. These learned behaviours feel like auto-pilot, and kick in as rote memory reflexes that have a surprisingly automatic outcome in any given situation.

By focusing on the patterns we create in our lives we can work to observe them in action, then shift away from them to find new responses to issues that face us. The result? Training the mind to respond with better patterns of behaviour.

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Propel governance system

Mesh governance concepts and principles where one of the first outcomes of the 2018 Campus programme, and the initiative wraps with plans in development for Propel, an open source governance system for the Hub Culture community. The system is to be built on the base layer of AGREE - Automated General Rules for Entering Engagements - a digital contract system available to members.

With Propel members will be able to propose and upvote governance structures and candidacy planks for the creation of a mesh governance system applied to the community. Propel is expected to launch in November, with the first governance based elections for the global Hub Culture community.