What does panda porn have to do with the ART of Digital you may ask?  More on that later..

The Expose Media Digital Team were lucky enough to attend the 2018 Myriad Festival where one of the most interesting events was The ART of Digital. Hosted by QUT’s Chair In Digital Economy in partnership with Myriad, The ART of Digital brought together thought leaders and industry professionals for a thought-provoking panel discussion.

The Panel’s host, Professor Marek Kowalkiewicz - Chair in Digital Economy, QUT, first looked at the evolution of excellence through four key Ages.

          * The age of engineering excellence, where evolution and success is based on who can engineer the most 
             perfect product or service. This is an age where many businesses may begin as they strive to solve a 
             problem through pure engineering or design excellence.
          * The age of corporate excellence, which explains the shift towards businesses looking to improve their 
             overall corporation through analysis and automation.  This ultimately results in benefits in the areas 
             of time, cost and quality.
          * The age of customer excellence, which is best explained by a shift from focus on the supply side to a 
             focus on the demand. We’ve seen this age defined by brands that look to create the best value for 
             the customer.
          * All the way through to the age of societal excellence. This refers to the concept of brands being judged 
             by far more than just their products or customer service but by how they impact society around them.

While being labeled as ‘Ages’ these measures of excellence do not reflect chronological advancement, rather they show different layers or starting points for businesses to base their organization around. 

For brands to achieve societal excellence it was argued that they must be Trusted, Responsible and Aspirational.

So what does all this mean for the future of the digital economy?

Trust is arguably one of the hottest topics in the digital space at the moment following major events like the Cambridge Analytical scandal and the Commonwealth Bank data breach. 

The panel discussion examined how trust in digital age has evolved. Not only do we no longer flinch at the idea of getting in a stranger’s car, but we also are far less likely to check their star rating anymore.

Dr Rachna Gandhi, Executive General Manager Customer Strategy of Design Innovation at Suncorp Group, spoke about the possibilities of future roles in the digital space for ‘trust architects’ who would focus on designing the experience of trust in a similar manner to way UX or customer service roles operate.

There was a strong difference in opinion between the academic and corporate world when it came to the future of trust, and more specifically with roles for the future. Cat Matson, CDO of Digital Brisbane, voiced her opinion that a future that needed positions like ‘trust architects’ was a future in which we had failed.

One of the key points that we took away from the discussion was that digital tech is not inherently good or bad, but is an amplifier of the both the good and bad within a society. It is for that reason that responsibility in the digital age hasn’t changed but rather what has changed is the speed of the consequences of irresponsibility.

This brings up the question; does the responsibility lie with creators or users?

One example brought up during the discussion was Microsoft’s unsuccessful Bot called Tay. What Microsoft saw as an opportunity to engage with the public and let them interact and teach their AI bot soon became a PR disaster. Users began to train Taybot to spout racist propaganda amongst other profanities. Was this the fault of Microsoft for handing the reins over to the public? Or was it simply the case of users behaving badly?

Another relevant issue under the banner of responsible digital was the current media cycle. More specifically, the way in which clickbait has become a major part of this cycle. Are we as users responsible for a media cycle that perpetuates clickbait because we continue to click on it? Or is it the media producer's responsibility for continuing to produce this content?

Finally, to wrap up the discussion the ART of Digital the discussion turned to how Aspirational digital tech will influence the future. 

What this means is that Companies should ASPIRE to create platforms & apps to achieve societal excellence and not just focus on products and services that can simply be consumed.

One such idea that was raised by Director and Co-founder of SPUR, William Stubbs, who put a call out to the audience for somebody to develop an app to address the potential increase in unemployment due to the automation of industries and jobs. 

The aspirational panel discussion also brought together the concepts of responsibility and trust.

There will be an emphasis on companies to be RESPONSIBLE and accountable for doing the right thing.  Meaning that organizations should go beyond simply complying with legal requirements or cumbersome government legislation.

Companies will also need to continue to build TRUST with all stakeholders to survive in the rise of the ‘trust economy’ where trust would be considered a commodity.  A universal corporate trust score is not that unthinkable, given that China is aiming to assign its citizens a trust rating. Black Mirror anyone?

And finally, a BAMBOOzling campaign from an unexpected company that is leading the way in the ART of Digital is…………..Pornhub. On national panda day last year, Porn Hub invited people to bear all and upload their own ‘panda-style’ porno all in the name of panda conversation.

According to scientists, panda’s are partial to a bit of panda porn which in turn gets them in the mood to save their species…….if you know what we mean 😉Pornhub also chipped in $100 to panda preservation nonprofits, for every panda porn video upload. We thought this was a great example of how a company could display corporate, customer and societal excellence.

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