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Big Data, Privacy and Robots Open CeBIT 2014

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A discussion between a "Digital Native" and a "RoboThespian" hammers home the theme of "datability," or the quick and responsible use of large amounts of data) at the CeBIT 2014 opening ceremony.

CeBIT openingFollowing the human-robot conversation was a performance by violinist Nicky Benetti, prompting British prime minister David Cameron to remark "violins, music, a robot thespian... this for me is a typical Sunday evening.”

Britain is the official partner country of this year's entirely business-focuses CeBIT.

Apart from big data, privacy was the hot topic at the opening. As German Chancellor Angela Merkel puts it "this digital world has to be given a legal framework, an underlying order... National laws alone will not suffice.”

German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) president Prof. Dieter Kempf echoes the sentiment, suggesting the use of even more IT (including anonymisation, pseudonymisation, privacy by design and new technologies such as homomorphic encryption) in order to solve the privacy issues created by IT.

CeBIT Only Cameron appeared unwilling to tackle the topic of privacy, instead speaking on innovation-spurring schemes from the British government, a new spectrum strategy to exploit unused broadcast frequencies and a collaboration on 5G technology between Dresden University, King's College and the University of Surrey.

"This is a world on fast forward a world of permanent technological revolution and in this world, countries like the UK and Germany will only succeed if we have a relentless drive for new ideas and innovations," the British PM says.

Concluding the ceremony is the VW vision for the car of the future-- James 2025, a (static) self-driving car prototype allowing drivers to participate in a videoconference while the vehicle drives down a highway, all by itself. Amusingly enough Merkel and Cameron refused to get inside the "vehicle," leaving Lower Saxony Minister-President Stephan Weil to hog all the fun.

CeBIT 2014 goes on from 10 until 14 March.

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