WISE 2019 The Future Think Tank

2019.5.18 - 2019.5.19

Location:  Auditorium
Language:  English with Chinese translation

“AI is here to remind us what it is that makes us human“

– Kai-Fu Lee

For its second edition, WISE again gathers a select group of domestic and international thinkers, artists, and professionals across a range of industries (music, film, entertainment, business, media, science, and technology) to provide you with the toolkit to wise up.

Ever accelerating, the story of AI continues, and it remains unclear if and how algorithms and ongoing digitalization “de-humanize” mankind, or if we can successfully humanize machines and post-human intelligence. As the boundaries between humans and machines seem to fade, we have to ask ourselves: What makes us special in the first place? Can we keep that edge?

Apart from these broader questions, we will discuss the latest trends in various creative industries, as well as how technology is disrupting future economies, new emerging orders, business culture, the future of gender parity, and the music industry. At WISE you will gain insight into how algorithms can read your emotions, listen to music being controlled by gloves, find out more about side effects of digitalization, and learn about the newest AI initiatives.


Early Bird Ticket One day: 280RMB/Adult; Two days: 420RMB/Adult

Discounted Ticket One day:260RMB/UCCA Member; Two days:400RMB/UCCA Member

Regular Ticket One day:340RMB/Adult; Two days:560RMB/Adult

WISE 2019170

* Event ticket includes same-day entrance to UCCA’s exhibitions

* Audiences are welcomed to purchase the 300 RMB annual membership card to enjoy the benefits of UCCA membership;

* Please pick up the tickets on the day of at the front desk before the event starts;

* It is recommended that you arrive in advance. If you are late, please follow the staff member’s instructions for entering the space;

* Due to limited space, attendees are limited to one ticket per purchase; tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis;

* Please keep your mobile phone silent during the event;

* No refund or exchange of tickets;

* Please scan the QR code to purchase tickets.


Opening Notes

Speaker: Philipp Grefer (Founder of WISE, Co-founder of FakeMusicMedia)

Time: 10:00-10:30

Deep Fakes: Good, Bad, and Ugly Humans

Speaker: Christian Grewell (Professor at NYU Shanghai)

Technology such as machine learning, ray tracing, and computer vision are rapidly blurring the line between real and fake, making it possible to digitally construct humans in media that cannot be distinguished from their flesh-and-blood analogues.

For this talk, NYU Shanghai Interactive Media Arts and Business Professor Christian Grewell will introduce the audience to the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of digital humans, with special attention paid to the technology behind this transformative form of new media.

Time: 10:30-10:50

Empathy from the Machine—Is AI the Better Human?

Speakers: Ludovic Bodin (President of French Tech Beijing, Partner at Kalibrio Capital)

Biman Najika Liyanage (Researcher, Innovator, Entrepreneur)

Wei Sun (Founder of Humanity+China, A.I. Research Consultant at KurzweilAI (CN))

Kshitij KP (Senior Product and Marketing Manager for Netease)

Moderator: Elliott Zaagman (Executive Coach, Writer for Huxiu and Technode)

With the ever-rising sophistication of technologies such as speech and facial recognition, the question is if AI might soon read our emotions better than we do ourselves. But if the algorithms know us better than our closest friends, what kind ofimpact will this have on us? Will we just become slaves to the algorithms and the industries that control them? Or will thisfinally lead to self-improvement and prevent us from making bad decisions?

Time: 10:55-11:40

Unexpected Effects of the Digital Revolution: From Neolithic to Neopsefic Age

Speaker: Jean-Dominique Séval (Founder of Séval Insight)

The “closing parentheses” is a concept that Jean-Dominique Séval uses to describe the ways in which the digital revolution is bringing us back to ancestral behaviors and organizational structures. He believes that the return to an oral culture is about to close a centuries-long parenthesis on the written word. The most obvious of these effects is this return to an oral culture, but also to à la carte teaching, and its figurehead: the tutor, the private instructor. It is also the advent of a new brand of piecework and, as a corollary, the end of permanent employment contracts and salaried jobs, along with the erasure of the once clear division between our working and private lives. This is the promise of hyper-customized goods and services, a private life that is exposed for all to see, as on the village square, a time of direct democracy not unlike the assemblies in the agora of Ancient Greece... an age where musicians come back on stage to earn their living. Actually, this could be our civilization in the not too distant future, 30 to 50 years from now.

Time: 11:45-12:00

Future Female Sounds: Diversity in Music

Speaker: Tia Korpe (Founder and Managing Director of Future Female Sounds)

Hailing from Denmark via the Middle East, and now in China, Tia Korpe will give a speech about her work with Future Female Sounds, and how she is empowering women through music.

Time: 13:00-13:20

The Musical Silk Road I—The Future of Streaming

Speakers: Detlef Schwarte (Co-founder of the Reeperbahn Festival)

Marit Posch (Label Manager for Monkeytown)

Gareth Davies (Head of International for Kontor Records)

Zou Xiaoma (Vice President and Copyright Director for KANJIAN)

Jeff Chia Minshu (Co-founder of StreetVoice and Simple Life Festival)

Simon Wheeler (Director of Digital and New Business for Beggars Group)

Moderator: Carsten Winter (Professor at Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media)

From a European’s point of view, China seems to be a music country of unlimited possibilities. Compared to five years ago, copyright protection has improved, awareness of the value of music is changing, and in streaming the trend is a cautiousmove towards the paid model. It is no wonder then that the major Chinese music platforms are becoming global players, and the dominant market players of the Old World are investing heavily in the Chinese market. The cross-shareholding of Tencent Music and Spotify is a prime example of this. But what role can small and medium-sized music companies and their artists play? What networks are needed between China and Europe to ensure that the future of streaming allows for cultural exchange between the two markets?

Time: 13:25-14:25

Empire Business vs. Cultural Diversity: The Future of the Global Concert Business

Speaker: Berthold Seliger (Owner and Founder of Seliger Concert Agency)

Today’s music industry is an unabashed monopoly. Be it touring businesses, festivals, artist’s agents, ticketing companies—all parts of the business are controlled by very few companies, who operate all over the world, including Europe, the US, and China. Outside investment has recently flooded into live music, with investment funds controlling more and more concert companies and festivals. These oligopolies create a typical curse of bigness: it is not about music anymore, and instead about ticketing, sponsorship, and big data. Stricter antitrust legislation and enhanced consumer protection is desperately needed. Even more important is the development and protection of independent cultural centers in order to prevent the creation of a monoculture, and preserve the cultural diversity to which pop culture has contributed to from the start.

Time: 14:30-15:00

Galleries Are For Snobs—Democratizing Art Consumption In China

Speaker: Eric Reithler-Barros (CEO of Fold Group)

Systems that seem anachronistic sometimes beg to be updated, and often it is a wonder that they still haven’t been. Whether you are a passive observer or a serious collector, to some degree your eyeballs consume artwork every day. So when it becomes time for you to consume art a little more actively, why is the gallery system so daunting, intimidating, and inefficient? Do our attention-deficit lives seek to coexist with our artwork in the long term? And in the sharing economy, is owning artwork even an important part of the experience anymore? In this segment, NYC-to-Shanghai media evangelist and entrepreneur Eric Reithler-Barros examines why China might just be the ideal petri dish for a radical reexamination and streamlining of why and how we consume artwork every day.

Time: 15:25-15:55

Paint with Your Brain

Speaker: Grace Ng (Neuro-Artist, Entrepreneur, A.I. Investor)

Ever dream of telepathy? If your friend or computer could read your mind and just know what you want to do next without you having to say it? Grace Ng has been creating art at the intersection of neuroscience and technology to explore a world in which our minds directly communicate with machines. This vision is not too far off, but what does it mean for our future, both as creators and as a society? Learn about the latest advancements in brain-machine interfaces, Grace’s artistic approach to elevate societal consciousness and bring neuroscience to more people, and how you can get involved with her projects.

Time: 16:00-16:20

Being One with the Machine: A New Way to Perform Electronic Music

Speaker: Chagall (Artist, Inventor)

Fiddling with knobs and twiddling on controllers: let′s face it—seeing electronic musicians on stage behind their gear is hardly visually exciting. On the other hand, big EDM festivals have brought us megastar DJs holding their hands high in the air instead of on the DJ decks, concentrating on the performative element of their show rather than actually playing “live.”Chagall has found a third way, using new technologies to turn her body into a musical instrument. Will this be a gamechanger for generations of electronic musicians to come?

Time: 16:25-16:55

Opening Notes

Speaker: Philipp Grefer (Founder of WISE, Co-founder of FakeMusicMedia)

Time: 10:15-10:45

Becoming Artificially Intelligent: A Change for the Music Industry!?

Speaker: Hazel Savage (CEO and Co-founder of Musiio)

For quite some time now AI has changed user experience on streaming platforms, with algorithms curating new music for us, and creating completely personalized experiences. But what else does AI have in store for musicians and the music industry? Will AI ultimately replace the composer, or become yet another tool to create music? Maybe AI will help to discover new talent and become the next A&R? What else do we have to be aware of? Hazel will give us an overview about the status quo as well as where we might go in the future.

Time: 10:45-11:00

Chinese Culture Going Global: The Success Stories and the Pitfalls

Speakers: Emily Xueni (Science Fiction Translator)

Tom Simpson (Senior Director of China-Britain Business Council)

Moderator: Sha Hua (Correspondent for Handelsblatt)

Compared with its neighbor South Korea, China has not had quite the same success with cultural exports just yet. There is no Chinese equivalent to K-Pop. Chinese movies, despite being massive box office hits in the Mainland, are rarely exported to the West, and international experts are not quite raging about Chinese design. However, there have been success stories as well: the rapid internationalization of short video app TikTok, shows that Chinese companies can adapt themselves to local markets, more and more Chinese musicians tour abroad, Chinese Sci-Fi is en vogue, and at least a few international media outlets report a new wave of China cool. In this panel we will analyze the reasons behind the success stories and failures of Chinese cultural exports, and make predictions about their future.

Time: 11:05-11:50

Culture in Business: Why it Matters

Speaker: Erhan Enginzli (CEO of Multigence Technology)

As they say: "People make culture—culture makes success." No matter if you are leading a company or on the bottom of the corporate food chain the culture in your company matters. But while competencies and qualifications can be acquired, culture is inherent to people and therefore difficult to grasp. So how can we measure a person's cultural disposition, make it presentable, and thus determine whether this person fits in with a certain corporate culture?

Time: 11:55-12:05

Fashion Gamification

Speaker: David Liu (Founder of Koikreative)

Gamification is a revolutionary concept that has emerged out of user experience. It introduced the powerful in-game mechanism of constantly escalating people’s desires by rewarding them, thus transforming user experience while also gaining their loyalty. Adopting this model, fashion gamification is a new experiment that attempts to combine both fashion and gaming in order to change the way we interact with the former.

Time: 12:10-12:30

The Musical Silk Road II—The Hidden Opportunities

Speakers: Zhang Fengyan (Associate Professor at Communication University of China)

Steve Mayall (CEO of Musical.ly)

Steinunn Arnadottir (Director of Engineering for Native Instruments)

Tony Li (Co-Founder of ACRCloud)

Zhang Youdai (Independent Music Promoter, Radio Host)

Sun Shiliang (COO of Nielsen-CCData)

Moderator: Carsten Winter (Professor at Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media)

Due to its glaring growth, the streaming business is currently the shining fa?ade of the music industry. But innovations and new perspectives usually emerge off of the beaten track. Projects between artists from different areas of culture, technology, or even knowledge-driven companies, and cross-sectoral, network-based developments provide the creative input for the music business of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The creative tension between China and Europe has enormous potential for new ideas, products, and business models. Let us convince ourselves that the hidden possibilities are more obvious than we think.

Time: 13:30-14:30

Of DJs, Bands, and Rappers: Trends in China’s Club and Live Music Industry


Fay Haixuan Wang (Vice-President of Isy)

Paul Neuteboom (Managing Director of Brotherhood Music)

Isla Angus (Agent for ATC Live)

Chang Liu (COO of Pillz Records)

Moderator: Philipp Grefer (Founder of WISE, Co-Founder FakeMusicMedia)

China’s club and live music industry is booming. For many international agents, China already constitutes the third biggest market after Europe and the US. However, there are a number of challenges for local promoters, from red tape, to a fractured media landscape, and difficult-to-predict consumer behavior. In this panel we will look at the trends, challenges,and opportunities in China′s fast changing market.

Time: 14:35-15:15

Marketing Culture: How to be Heard in China

Speakers: John Stratton (CEO of FutureONE Entertainment)

Zhu Jie (Head of TikTok and Volcano Music)

Zeng Yu (Founder of Pilot Music)

Hu Xiaowei (COO for Billboard China)

Zhang Long (Deputy General Manager of Hit FM)

Donald Hau (CEO of Mixmag China)

Moderator: Stephen Dowler (Brand Manager Asia Pacific for Monstercat)

There are 1.4 billion people in China. About half of them are connected to the Internet. But what segment of the population is actually interested in what you have to offer, and how do you reach them? In this panel we will examine the (social) media landscape in the Middle Kingdom and how data, Key Opinion Leaders (KOL), and other tools can be used to reach your audience.

Time: 15:20-16:00


Isla Angus (Agent for ATC Live)

Steinunn Arnardottir (Director of Engineering for Native Instruments)

Eric Reithler Barros (CEO of Fold Group)

Ludovic Bodin (President of French Tech Beijing, Partner at Kalibrio Capital)

Chagall (Artist, Inventor)

Gareth Davies (Head of International for Kontor Records)

Stephen Dowler (Brand Manager Asia Pacific for Monstercat)

Erhan Enginzli (CEO of Multigence Technology)

Zhang Fengyan (Associate Professor at Communication University of China)

Philipp Grefer (Founder of WISE, Co-founder of FakeMusicMedia)

Christian Grewell (Professor at NYU Shanghai)

Donald Hau (CEO of Mixmag China)

Hu Xiaowei (COO for Billboard China)

Sha Hua (Correspondent for Handelsblatt)

Emily Xueni Jin (Science Fiction Translator)

Tia Korpe (Founder and Managing Director of Future Female Sounds)

Kshitij KP (Senior Product and Marketing Manager for Netease)

Tony Li (Co-Founder of ACRCloud)

Chang Liu (COO of Pillz Records)

David Liu (Founder of Koikreative)

Biman Najika Liyanage (Researcher, Innovator, Entrepreneur)

Steve Mayall (CEO of Musical.ly)

Jeff Chia Minshu (Co-founder of StreetVoice and Simple Life Festival)

Paul Neuteboom (Managing Director of Brotherhood Music)

Grace Ng (Neuro-Artist, Entrepreneur, A.I. Investor)

Marit Posch (Label Manager for Monkeytown)

Hazel Savage (CEO and Co-founder of Musiio)

Detlef Schwarte (Co-founder of the Reeperbahn Festival)

Berthold Seliger (Owner and Founder of Seliger Concert Agency)

Jean-Dominique Séval (Founder of Séval Insight)

Tom Simpson (Senior Director of China-Britain Business Council)

John Stratton (CEO of FutureONE Entertainment)

Sun Shiliang (COO of Nielsen-CCData)

Wei Sun (Founder of Humanity+China, A.I. Research Consultant at KurzweilAI)

Fay Haixuan Wang (Vice-President of Isy)

Simon Wheeler (Director of Digital and New Business for Beggars Group)

Carsten Winter (Professor at Hanover University of Music)

Zeng Yu (Founder of Pilot Music)

Zhang Youdai (Independent Music Promoter, Radio Host)

Zhang Long (Deputy General Manager of Hit FM)

Zhu Jie (Head of TikTok and Volcano Music)

Zou Xiaoman (Vice President and Copyright Director for KANJIAN)

Elliott Zaagmann (Executive Coach, Writer for Huxiu and Technode)



WISE – The Future Think Tank was founded by Philipp Grefer in Beijing in 2018 to spark cross-sectoral dialogue about digital life, style, culture, music business, science and technology. WISE invites and connects thinkers and doers from different industries online and offline to discuss essential questions about how we want and should live in the future. It also showcases up and coming talent from various industries.

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