Humanity in Artificial Intelligence: DAM Summit 2017 Reflections

The 2017 DAM Summit took place October 9-10 in Berlin and is the largest gathering of digital asset management professionals in continental Europe. Around 200 DAM attendees joined us at the iconic Kalkscheune venue for interesting presentations, discussions and workshops.

Keynotes Set the Conference Tone

The essence of the 2017 DAM Summit was perfectly encapsulated in the keynote speeches in the initial moments. First, EyeEm’s Ramzi Rizik showed us the potential of artificial intelligence systems in photography – how an AI system connects human photography with creatives.

Image recognition technologies have the capability, for example to enhance marketing content by automatically tagging images, recognizing quality and branding, or searching for similar images. Ramzi showed how EyeEm’s AI system performs tasks normally done by employees, significantly reducing the workload in the company and freeing up time for more creative thinking.

EyeEm’s Ramzi Rizik on image recognition and photography community. Photo by Paul Dionne.

In the second keynote, Theresa Regli from KlarisIP showed us that DAM is more than tech and other forces are at work like metadata, scalability, search and many more. In her presentation, we learned the importance of empathy when using non-human systems.

These keynotes set the tone for the rest of the conference. The question hanging was: how do we use non-human intelligence systems like image recognition and auto tagging in digital asset management to connect in a human way?

Theresa Regli on empathy in technology. Photo by Paul Dionne.

Making the Connection: DAM Insightful Presentations

The presentations on the first day from digital asset management professionals like Sebasitan Jung from the Giessen 46ers (European professional basketball team); Tobias Otto from Bistum Würzburg; and Uwe Gobbers from Voith illustrated how companies spread across multiple industries used DAM to effectively store, share and utilize their unique digital assets. But the presentation from German Maritime Search and Rescue Association tied in with the keynotes in a fascinating way.

The rescue service takes donations, funds the heroic efforts of rescue workers putting themselves in harm’s way to save lives; something quintessentially human. Antke Reemts, in her presentation, artfully articulated how she uses a digital asset management system to take rescue images, organize them and use them to connect with donators through her work in public relations for the organization. Her DAM system – inherently intelligent, albeit artificial in nature – enhances our collective humanity through this emphatic utilization.

This is illustrative of how we as digital asset management professionals enhance our content through the use of a centralized system. The capabilities inherent in the software are only realized when professionals and creatives actualize its potential. As we saw in this and other presentations during the first day of the Summit, real human connections with content happen when we enable this potential through DAM.

The day 1 presentations gave us insight into the potential of DAM systems. Photo by Paul Dionne.

Illuminating DAM-Centered Workshops

The DAM Summit workshops on day 2 of the event were both insightful and engaging. John Horodyski (a man who needs no introduction) from Optimity Advisors held a brilliant workshop on what metadata is and how to control it with solid governance. Cansu Oral from the IUBH in Berlin taught us the importance of change management within an organization. As DAM professionals are all too aware of, change management is vital to implementing a DAM. Canto’s own Ines Köhler (moderator of the DAM Summit) articulated the role community plays in our collective and individual successes and introduced attendees to our Cumulus Community.

But the workshop that Alex Graeber, Matthew Keeling and I held brought this all together for me. We wanted to elaborate how the implications of artificial intelligence in digital asset management. What came out of the workshop surprised us. The professionals in the workshop exceeded our expectations in their understanding of the implications of AI in DAM. They essentially reoriented our workshop and showed us new ways of how artificial intelligence – particularly image recognition, machine learning and auto tagging – can bolster digital asset management systems to create more compelling content. The attendees made a leap to the next step in this technology but the leap was oriented towards human connectivity.

Attendees brought a lot of energy to the event. Photo by Paul Dionne.

We showed them a picture of the Brandenberg Gate at Christmas and asked them to tag it. Among the answers of ‘black’, ‘night’ and ‘Christmas’ were ‘romantic’ and ‘community’. When we asked why the participants made the connection to ‘romantic’, we learned that the group saw themselves in a romantic scene with that picture. From this, we saw how humans are driving the creative potential inherent in DAM by using their imaginations and human emotions to enhance this technology. In something like metadata where tags are stored we can see the human element stored. Many of the other talks were illustrative of how we can push forward as professionals and organizations when using DAM as the center of our efforts.

Change Is Truly the Heart of Growth

The theme of the 2017 DAM Summit was Change: The Heart of Growth. Canto wanted to illustrate how digital asset management was driving change within organizations. What we found was professionals were using new technological innovations in DAM to change the way they connect us in a human way. The growth we see in the DAM space and community is changing – with heart.

Pictures by Paul Dionne

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