UCCA Beijing

WISE The Future Think Tank


Location:  Auditorium
Language:  English with Chinese translation

“The greatest scientific discovery was the discovery of ignorance. Once humans realized how little they knew about the world, they suddenly had a very good reason to seek new knowledge…” (Yuval Noah Harari).

On October 26 at UCCA, WISE gathers a group of domestic and international thinkers for a series of keynote speeches and talks that will give you the toolkit to wise up.

At WISE “the human” will be at the center of discussions ranging from technology, music, art, fashion, entertainment, business, media, and science. Topics range from how AI can help us to solve world hunger, if the robots will take over, what we can learn about the future by looking into the past, how to find China′s first international superstar, and the future of design and creativity. Investors will share new ideas about the future of cultural and tech industries and startups, while China’s first surfer will share her vision for an environmentally-conscious China. WISE is a platform for big ideas as well as practical knowledge.


Regular Ticket: 260 RMB/Adult

UCCA Member: 200 RMB/UCCA Members

*Enjoy UCCA Member ticket prices with the purchase of a yearly membership card (RMB 300);

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*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

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Potential Spaces: Travelling in The Time Machine

Professor Zielinski will invite the audience to join him for a short trip using his time machine. This machine has two time arrows. One points to the time of past presents, one into the time of coming presents. We call the latter the future. Both, the past as well as the future are regarded as spaces filled with possibilities. By letting the two arrows of time collide in the now, he creates generators of surprise. What they generate in the best case is the new.

Speaker: Siegfried Zielinski, Professor, European Graduate School in Saas-Fee

Time: 10:10-10:50

Humanity, Our Jobs, and The Next 100 Years – Homo Deus or The Useless Class?

The change in the human condition has accelerated like never before in the history of Homo Sapiens. We can see technical advancements like AI, VR, or bioengineering are rapidly altering human reality, perception, and lifespans, and even the very essence of the human body and mind, leading some intellectuals to proclaim that our transformation into Homo Deus has begun. On the other hand, changes in the social fabric, the widening wealth gap, and the possible rise of a useless class whose jobs have been given to robots and AI are increasingly on the political agenda. What lies ahead for our species? Let us take an informed look into the future.

Moderator: Elliott Zaagman (Executive Coach, Writer)


Christian Grewell (Professor at NYU Shanghai)

Siegfried Zielinski (Professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee)

Wei Sun (Founder of Humanity+ China)

David Li (Executive Director of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab)

Time: 10:55-11:40

Project: Skynet – Robots Taking Over in Style

The world's brightest minds are focused on bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics to tackle humanity's biggest tasks: making a phone call to another person, writing an email to your boss, and making the perfect cup of coffee. But what happens when AI misbehaves? What happens if the robots take over? In this talk, Christian Grewell will introduce his latest project--Skynet, where he is capturing art through motion in machine-readable formats, so when the robots take over, they'll be able to do it in style.

Speaker:Christian Grewell (Professor at NYU Shanghai)

Time: 11:45-12:05

Solving World Hunger through AI?

Using a case study for a concrete application of AI, David Li will outline how the advances in AI help smallholder farmers in Africa to more effectively harvest crops, and therefore reduce hunger in the region.

Speaker: David Li (Executive Director of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab)

Time: 12:10-12:30

Ars Electronica & The Power of Art: The Human Factor

As an innovative institution positioned between art and technology, Ars Electronica has been focusing on interdisciplinary creativity for almost 40 years. Their multidisciplinary approach allows them to be open to as many influences as possible, and be ready to take multiple forms. Technological achievements, scientific findings, and artistic forms of expression are by no means self-fulfilling, but need to keep the essential in mind: the human being itself. The Brain Computer Interface (BCI) is a prime example of Ars Electronica’s methodology. Here an interface between brain and computer is created, whereby human-machine communication is raised to a new level. Artistic applications have promoted a playful approach; findings from neuroscience and perceptual research influence technological possibilities. Through the analysis and transformation of this information, the dynamics of communal communication processes can be discussed on a new basis.

Speaker: Michael Mondria (China Senior Director of Ars Electronica Solutions)

Time: 12:30-12:55

Cultural Investment in China – A Dive into the Curated Growth of Chinese Entertainment

Investment in culture and entertainment in China has skyrocketed the last few years with the Chinese music industry becoming a hotbed for investors. What are the general trends in the different entertainment fields? What projects receive national support? What are the opportunities and challenges? And how does overseas investment differ from domestic investment?

Speaker:Scarlett Li (Vice President of Music & Live Entertainment, CMC Inc.)

Time: 13:55-14:20

Money vs. Art: The Challenges and Opportunities in China’s Movie Industry

In the last few years China has grown into the world’s second biggest film market. But the success of domestic productions from Lost in Thailand to Wolf Warrior 2, still has not been replicated outside of China, while Hollywood imports such as Avengers or the Bollywood production Dangal were enormous box office hits in China. As Chinese consumer taste and the Chinese arthouse scene evolves, the public will gain more of an appetite for more adventurous movies – the success of Loving Vincent being a prime example. What makes for a successful movie that can capture the imagination of audiences in the West as well as in China? When will there finally be another Chinese movie which will gain critical acclaim and commercial success in the West? And what should we expect from the Chinese movie industry in the next few years?

Moderator: Jan Kern (Producer)


Anke Redl (Strategy and Business Development Director of China Media Management Inc.)

Prasad Shetty (Movie Producer and Distributor)

Al Di (Movie Producer)

Time: 14:25-15:05

Cities of Tomorrow – Smart Music Cities

Using the example of the development of conferences held in conjunction with music festivals, this talk focuses on how and why music festivals are being structurally expanded. It focuses on the expansion of festival activities and their participants, transforming festival-organizers into active developers of new music ecologies.

Speaker: Carsten Winter (Professor at Hanover University of Music)

Time: 15:10-15:30

Big Data and (Global Chinese?) Superstars

Some believe data can tell us everything and even predict the future. But what can data really tell us about trends? What kind of data do we have at our disposal in China and the West? When 1000 people hum a melody in Inner Mongolia, it is likely that we can tell that we are experiencing the start of a domestic smash hit? Can the good old human gut feeling still help us to discover the next Ed Sheeran?

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


Mathew Daniel (Vice President International of NetEase Cloud Music)

Tony Li (Co-Founder of ACRCloud)

Jesper Skibsby (CEO of Warm Music)

Time: 15:35-16:15

Going Ape Shit: An Evolution of Design Thinking

The classic bleak cautionary tale of humanity’s self-destruction and subjegation by speaking apes was released 50 years ago, the same week as 2001, A Space Odyssey. Coincidentally, Marc Cansier was also born in the same year.... During this session, Cansier will be taking a humorous and anecdotal look at that monkey business between man and machine, and the fear of evolution’s going sideways.

Speaker: Marc Cansier (Co-founder of Marc & Chantal)

Time: 16:35-16:55

The Future of Chinese Youth Culture & The Role of Brands

Brands are no longer just names on the products consumers buy; they have become tools that help establish young people’s sense of identity. China's young adults are more than 400 million strong, a third of China’s population. Smart brands in China are connecting with youth markets in the three critical areas: the social sphere, pop culture, and new technologies. The selfie generation values experiences over things; they are not looking for brands that push products, but brands that share ideas and opportunities. This discussion will examine how to market to Chinese youth culture.

Moderator:Eric Reithler-Barros (Principal of Fold Artists)

Zeng Yu (Co-founder and Chairman of Pilot Music & Tech.)
Miao Wong (Founder and CEO of ARP Creative)
John Stratton (Founder of FutureONE Entertainment)

Time: 17:00-17:40

Surfing for A Sustainable Future

As a former professional surfer whose life and way of thinking has changed because of the ocean, Darci Liu has learned first-hand about the harmful impact of humans on the environment. Since then she has sought to change her way of living, as well as raising public awareness about sustainable ways of living.

Speaker: Darci Liu (China’s First Professional Surfer)

Time: 17:40-18:00


Siegfried Zielinski (Professor at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee)

Siegfried Zielinski is a Michel Foucault Professor of Media Archaeology at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, honorary doctor and professor at the University of Arts Budapest, chair for Media Theory/Archaeology & Variantology of the Media and director of the Vilém Flusser Archive at Berlin University of the Arts (till 2016), rector of the Karlsruhe University of Arts & Design (2016-2018), and founding rector (1994–2000) of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Zielinski has published numerous books and essays mainly focusing on Archaeology of the Media, and with Peter Weibel he curated and edited “Allah’s Automata” (2015), “Ramon Llull & the Ars Combinatoria,” and “Art in Movement – 100 Master Pieces” (2018).

David Li (Director of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab, Co-founder of Hacked Matter)

David Li is the executive director of Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab which facilitates the collaboration between global smart hardware entrepreneurs and the Shenzhen Open Innovation ecosystem. Prior to SZOIL, he co-founded XinCheJian in 2010, the first hackerspace in China, to promote hacker/maker culture and open source hardware. In 2011, he co-founded Hacked Matter, a research hub on maker movement and open innovation. In 2015, he co-founded Maker Collider, a platform to develop next generation IoT from Maker community.

Christian Grewell (Professor at NYU Shanghai)

Christian Grewell is a Professor of Interactive Media Arts and Business at NYU Shanghai and co-founder the Program on Creativity + Innovation where he teaches courses at the intersection of emerging media and business. His research areas cover technologies and methods that capture, store, analyze and transmit human communication and emotion across networks.

Sun Wei (Founder of Humanity+ China)

Sun Wei is the founder and director of Humanity+China (Or H+China), and a senior consultant in Artificial Intelligence at Counterpoint Research. She formerly served as a product manager at Advantech, a MBA consultant to Nuance Communications, a research consultant in IDC Massachusetts headquarters, and a professional associate at The World Bank DC headquarters. She obtained an MBA degree from Boston University with the highest Dean’s scholarship and dual concentrations in Finance and Marketing. She obtained her bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University with a Chips Award.

Darci Liu (China’s First Professional Surfer)

Liu grew up in Enshi, Hubei almost 1,000 kilometers away from the nearest ocean, and studied ballet before she moved to Hainan and started surfing in 2007. Liu is now considered China’s first female ‘pro’ surfer, helping pioneer the sport in the country. She won her first surfing title at the Hainan Open in 2013, has taken part in the past three Hainan World Longboard championships, and has a Team Rider position for Swatch. She is a TV Presenter, a TEDx speaker, and the founder of the “No Plastic Challenge” and “Take Away from the Sea.” An avid environmentalist, Liu’s work won her the title of Miss Earth China Conservation Ambassador in 2017. She is also a TV Presenter, a TEDx speaker, and the founder of the “No Plastic Challenge” and “Take Away from the Sea.”

Scarlett Li (Vice President of Music & Live Entertainment, CMC Inc.)

One of China’s leading media and music executives, Scarlett Li started her music career as the CEO of Star TV’s Channel [V]. In 2008, Li founded Zebra Media, China’s number one music festival operator. Zebra Media organizes the largest music festivals in China including the Zebra Music Festival (ZMF), Electronic Daisy Carnival (EDC) attracting more than 150,000 people each festival at multiple locations in China. Li joined CMC holdings in 2017 as the Vice President of the group, responsible for music and the live entertainment division. Prior to Zebra Media, Scarlett Co-Founded R2G Limited, a music rights clearance company, which was sold to Tencent Music Entertainment in 2016. Li obtained her bachelors degree in Australia and her EMBA from Tsinghua University. She is a Henry Crown fellow with the Aspen Institute, a NAL of the World Economic Forum and an Asia21 fellow of the Asia Society.

John Stratton (CEO of FutureONE Entertainment)

John Stratton began his entertainment career in 2006 with Nexus Management, Shakira’s management. In 2007 he joined music management legend David Sonenberg's boutique firm, DAS Communications, as a talent manager. The management roster included The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, John Legend, Sean Paul, Kesha, Pixie Lott, Taylor Momsen, and producer Toby Gad. In 2014, Stratton joined Tribal Brands marketing in California as Head of Entertainment, where he developed global entertainment marketing campaigns for brands including Shell and JP Morgan Chase. Recently, Stratton partnered with veteran Chinese music industry producer and label head, Zeng Yu, to create a new Chinese music entertainment company called FutureONE Entertainment. FutureONE discovers, develops, and promotes new domestic Chinese talent for the world stage.

Mathew Daniel (Vice President International of NetEase Cloud Music)

Mathew Daniel has been one of the pioneers in the development of the music licensing market in China for the past 13 years, having co-founded the distribution company R2G. After the acquisition of R2G by Tencent Music in 2016, Daniel moved to NetEase Cloud Music to head up their International Music division. Founded in 2013, NCM has been the fastest growing music service in China, with over 400 million current users—the largest userbase amongst all music services in China. In addition to launching the first legal independent music store in China ten years ago, he paved the way for many international artists to legally distribute their music in China, including then unknown artist Adele.

Carsten Winter (Professor at Hanover University of Music)

Carsten Winter is a professor of Media and Music Management at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media (Germany). He researches media and culture histories, transformations and conjunctures, (strategic) media and music management, music networks and cities. His more than twenty books include Cultural Studies (with Roger Bromley and Udo Göttlich, 1999), Die Cultural Studies Kontroverse (with Andreas Hepp, The Cultural Studies controversy, 2003), Konvergenz und Medienwirtschaft (with Matthias Karmasin - Convergence and Media Economy, 2006), and Connectivity, Network and Flows, Conceptualizing Contemporary Communications (with Andreas Hepp, Friedrich Krotz and Shaun Moores, 2008). Winter is Dean of Students for all scientific programs of the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Director of the MA Program “Media and Music,” one of the editors of the International Journal of Music Business Research (IJMBR), and elected Board Member of the International Music Business Research Association (IMBRA).

Detlef Schwarte (Co-Founder of the Reeperbahn Festival)

Detlef Schwarte is co-founder of the Reeperbahn Festival, Germany´s largest club festival and one of the most important conferences for the music and digital industries. As managing director, Schwarte is responsible for the international conference of the Reeperbahn Festival, including a program of more than 220 sessions, networking events, showcases, and award shows, and hosts more than 3,500 delegates from 40 countries. As partner and managing director of Inferno Events, a Hamburg public events agency, he has designed and implemented corporate and public events such as Night of Knowledge and Hamburg Night of Theatre or German Unification Day 2008.

Marc Cansier (Co-founder of Marc & Chantal)

With a diploma in Graphic Design and Communication from Penninghen School in Paris, Marc Cansier co-founded Marc & Chantal after arriving Hong Kong in 1993. Since then, Cansier has established the company’s brand consultancy services and led the creative team in a range of integrated projects. As Creative Director, he now focuses on developing the company’s creative direction, brand strategy and place-branding functions. Marc & Chantal’s most recent landmark projects, like the Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage & Arts and RYSE hotel, blend together culture, retail, and hospitality. Cansier is also spearheading the insight and research capabilities of the company. Apart from publishing a Millennials Travel report in 2015, he has moderated Marc & Chantal’s recent discussion series on Urban Social Destinations of the Future with co-founder Marc Brulhart.

Zeng Yu (Founder of Pilot Music)

Zeng Yu has devoted himself to Chinese music industry for more than 10 years, including music production, promotion and education. He and his team have organized many large-scale music performances, tours and music festivals. Zeng is also a music producer, and a member of Radio Mars. Since 2001, he has been the music producer for Eason Chan, Zhou Xun, Pu Shu, Lao Lang, Ye Pei, Zheng Jun, Mo Yanlin, 12 Girls Band, Reflector, Roy Wang, the member of TFboys, Jason Zhang, Mavis Fan, Faith Yang, Chris Lee, and more.

Prasad Shetty (Movie Producer, Distributor)

Prasad Shetty is a movie producer and distributor, dedicated to cultural communication between China and India. Shetty is an advisor to the Information and Broadcasting ministry of India, and is actively involved in the signing of co-production agreements between these two countries. He has successfully distributed several Indian movies in China, including Happy New Year, PK, Baahubali, Bhajrangi Bhaijaan, and Dangal. His production works include Oscar shortlisted movie Da Tang Xuan Zang, Buddies in India, and Secret Superstar. Shetty is also an advisor and partner in KWAN (the Biggest talent agency in India) and heads the committee for CII (Confederation for Indian Industries) for China-India cultural communications. Currently he is a director at China Peacock Mountain Group and Board of Director at Mad River Films (US).

Miao Wong (Founder and CEO of ARP Creative)

Miao Wong is co-founder of Acupuncture Records, DOT Records, INTRO Electronic Music Festival, and Lantern Club. She is the founder and CEO of creative agency ARP Creative (ARP, Art Rebels Party), and curator of nmwv (previously dART) and Boiler Room China.

Eric Reithler-Barros (Principal of Fold Artists)

Eric Reithler-Barros has been in the music and entertainment industry for 28 years. His 19-year career in international business and creative development experience ranges from Fortune 50 media companies to music technology startups. He served as Global Vice President in New York at SFX Entertainment/Livestyle, the billion-dollar American conglomerate that purchased and redeveloped dance music brands like Tomorrowland, Stereosonic, ID&T/Sensation, and Beatport. Most recently, Reithler-Barros served as Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer at A2LiVE in Shanghai. Reithler-Barros has 27 years of industry experience in the international music community as a professional music producer, festival promoter, artist, performer, label owner, editorial commentator, curator, and lifelong advocate of the genre. He is the founder of FOLD Management, an advanced model for a Chinese music artist management and branding agency. He is also Executive Creative Advisor to Shanghai Media Group.

Elliott Zaagman (Executive Coach, Writer)

Elliott Zaagaman is an executive coach, corporate trainer, and writer who focuses on how Chinese leaders and organizations interact with their global employees and the public. Zaagman works in the fields of leadership development, HR, and PR. He is both an enthusiastic advocate for, and honest critic of China's tech industry.

Tony Li (Co-Founder of ACRCloud)

Tony Li is the Co-Founder of ACRCloud, a Beijing based comprehensive automatic content recognition provider. He worked at Huawei and Shazam prior to ACRCloud. He has been working in the digital music and online industries for years.

Jesper Skibsby (CEO of Warm Music)

Jesper Skibsby is the CEO and founder of WARM—the first large-scale radio monitoring service focusing on individuals in the music industry. WARM delivers insights and realtime data about when and where songs are played on a radio station, anywhere in the world. Skibsby is also a board member of DUP (association for independent record labels in Denmark). Previously he represented MusicDNA as a Scandinavian sales agent, and worked in the music industry for six years—establishing companies like Fandango Music Management, We Make Noise, and Kassiopeia Kollektive.

Stephen Dowler (Brand Manager Asia Pacific of Monstercat)

Heading up ventures for major indie label Monstercat in the Asia Pacific, Stephen Dowler has been in the music industry in China since 2011. He is a founding member of Shanghai’s first ever electronic music festival E Midi, China’s largest electronic music festival STORM, and DianYinTai, one of China’s top platforms for electronic music. He has licensed over 2.5 million songs to the Chinese market and has also been a consultant for China’s largest independent music distributor Kanjian Music. Dowler has also teamed up with many brands, bringing their resources into the music scene and increasing their involvement in local culture. Examples of these include Sennheiser, Jagermeister, Heineken, Doppler Labs, Urbanears, and many more.

Anke Redl (Strategy and Business Development Director of China Media Manager Inc.)

Anke Redl began her professional media career as a producer with ARD/German TV, and later worked for Reuters TV in Beijing as well as the Financial Times Media & Telecoms in the UK. Since 1999 Redl has been a founding partner in China Media Management Inc. CMM-I, a China based media consultancy that is the exclusive agent for MIPTV and MIPCOM in China, works with clients including National Geographic, MGM, All3Media, Sesame Street, etc. in building their China business as well as on international co-productions. She was named one of 'Top Women in Media in Asia (Content Asia)' in 2014, spoke on the 2017 Women in Leadership Forum organized by the UN and CKGSB, and has participated in and moderated numerous panels focused on the Chinese media industry.

Philipp Grefer (Founder of WISE, Co-Founder of Fake Music Media)

A former journalist in Germany, Philipp Grefer has worked in and researched the Chinese music industry for over a decade, and is the representative for the lobby organization of international music managers (IMMF) in China. In 2009 he co-founded a 360 music, event, and creative agency, FakeMusicMedia and label FakeLoveMusic, which manages some of the best Chinese talents abroad (e.g. Nova Heart, Shao, The Hormones). In 2016 he co-founded NEU China in Berlin to initiate collaborations between East and West while showcasing the most interesting artists and innovators at the intersection of technology and the creative industries. His newest endeavor is called WISE. He has consulted for brands and institutions such as the GIZ, German Embassy, EXPO 2010 Shanghai, Neumann, Music Norway, Initiative Musik, LiveNation, Germany Reeperbahn Festival etc. He spins music under his DJ name Metro Tokyo.

Dirk Eschenbacher (Founding Partner of Zanadu.cn)

Dirk Eschenbacher is a multi-award winning creative director and tech entrepreneur based in Beijing, China. He works between design, technology, film making, branding and digital marketing. Eschenbacher is a co-founder of Atlas, a universal blockchain platform for the travel industry. In 2012 he also co-founded Zanadu, now China’s leading high-end travel agency and travel media channel. Before Atlas and Zanadu, he held several senior creative positions with OgilvyOne, Ogilvy & Mather, and DDB. Together with his teams of talented writers, designers and technologists he won many creative and advertising awards for work on Fortune 500 clients. Awards include China's first ever Cannes Cyber Lion and China's first D&AD yellow pencil. Eschenbacher is also a partner in China’s best venue for live music, Yugong Yishan.

Michael Mondria (China Senior Director of Ars Electronica Solutions)

Michael Mondria (formerly Michael Badics) is Senior Director of Ars Electronica Solutions, a new division of Ars Electronica. Previously he founded and managed Memetics GmbH, a Berlin based company in the field of media art and creative technologies, and co-managed Ars Electronica Futurelab. During his eight years at ArsElectronica Futurelab, he realized international art projects, cooperative projects, and third party projects with a focus on cutting edge technology. Before he worked as software engineer and manager for the multinational software company Fabasoft AG. He started his career by studying computer sciences at Johannes Kepler University Linz.

Al Di (Movie Producer)

Al Di’s works include Brigsby Bear (Sundance & Cannes), Piercing (Sundance), The Unicorn (SXSW), and Exit (Toronto International Film Festival).

Kent Lee (General Manager of Wunderman Beijing)

Kent Lee is a data driven marketing veteran. Before joining Wunderman, Lee worked at Ogilvy and Weber Shandwick. He has serviced multi-national brand advertisers including Ford Motors, VW, IBM, Microsoft, Nestle, P&G, Lacoste, adidas, British Airways, and more. He is now General Manager at Wunderman’s Beijing office, leading the transformation of the agency as they face the challenges of new technology. He believes that technologies such as voice and visual recognition, as well as machine learning, will shake up the brand communication industry.

Jan Kern (Producer)



WISE – The Future Think Tank was founded by Philipp Grefer in Beijing in 2018 to spark cross-sectoral dialogue about digital life, style, culture, 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.

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