Invited by our National Confederation for Junior-Enterprises, our team has been able to cover what is often introduced as “the world’s rendezvous for startups & leaders”: Viva Technology. A gigantic event that, on its 3rd edition, managed to gather more than 100,000 attendees, over 9,000 startups, 1,900 investors, 125 countries but still only 1 Emmanuel Macron. A heaven-sent opportunity for us to understand how data science is incorporated into state-of-the-art technologies…

So what is our future all about?

A complex question, for sure, that VivaTech asked to its renowned speakers. Starring Ginni Rometty (IBM), and Satya Nadella (Microsoft) among many other giants of the technology industry, both speeches reflected very distinct aspects of mankind’s future. Ginni Rometty for instance, decided to talk about the huge progress of AI while Satya Nadella came back to the early 90s to show everyone how ground-breaking technological devices changed our daily life. Different standpoints that all seem to converge and agree on the same word: “Data”, the real star of the show. A word that was even hammered by Facebook, in the person of Mark Zuckerberg himself, who went to great lengths to promote a respectful and intelligent use of user’s data. A very delicate subject -especially since the Cambridge Analytica scandal- which seems, nevertheless, to have become a priority for many companies.

“Data” became a sort of “magic word” that we didn’t expect to hear so many times during the conferences of an event which focuses on technology. In a world where chatbots are able to make appointments while drones deliver stuff directly in your garden, what makes “data” the phenomenon it is? A question we’ve asked ourselves and that became really clear with the benefit of hindsight. Data science hides behind a lot of these innovative devices that mesmerize everyone. Usually associated to risk management or quantitative marketing, data analysis comes with a lot of other applications. From predictive models to machine learning, data science provides solid analytical tools to cutting-edge technologies such as self-adjusting AI or facial recognition. Data science has in fact so much to do with research and development that it had become, within the last decades, a real cornerstone for innovation.

A few steps through the “hall of tech” are enough to confirm this tendency, since most start-uppers and exhibitors refer to the magic word. And if the word remains the same, the contexts in which it’s been used, however, are radically different from one to another. It makes no mystery that the ever-growing interest of people in data science has been boosted by its versatility. There are raw data everywhere, but they do not speak for themselves. We’ve let ourselves surprised by the possibilities that new technologies offer to data scientists, some of them being really eccentric. Special mention to “Moona”, a smart pillow that uses machine learning to help you sleep. Data literally helps you realize your wildest dreams.

Overall, Vivatech helps people understanding where the wind of progress blows. An unforgettable meeting that, according to its founding fathers Maurice Lévy and Francis Morel, is about to become the “French CES*”, if it isn’t already. Better than a fortune teller, it delivers a real foretaste of our future by letting everyone experience spearheads of technological revolutions to come… Revolutions that are built by programmers and engineers, but are also supervised and catalyzed by data scientists.

*: Consumer Electronics Show