Cannes Journal - Tuesday

Jun 20, 2017

Today, we attended a variety of sessions that discussed a range of topics from the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the evolving relationship between athletes and brands. Sessions included executives from organizations such as Google, Jigsaw, Alphabet, the NBA, the NFL, Translation and The Wall Street Journal.

View our highlights below.



Machine Learning is making the world we live in smarter, providing answers to complex problems and changing our creative industries at a rapid rate. Google hosted a seminar exploring how Machine Learning is providing insights into human behavior, and how passionate engineers and policy experts are using this knowledge to reimagine products, foster creativity, and even combat cyberbullying.

Key takeaways:

  • There is very little technology at Google that isn’t using Machine Learning (ML), which is the primary approach underlying advancements in AI; for example, Maps and YouTube. David Singleton, VP Engineering at Google, defines Artificial Intelligence as the ability to replicate the biological principles inherent to humans in an artificial neural system, or, in other words, to"capture the performance of humans in real-world tasks." 
  • Understanding what something is and how to build it is a fundamental precursor for deep knowledge of the world and creativity. The biggest breakthrough in AI is the ability to have computers improve their performance by showing them a wide variety of example data and correcting for errors, rather than having to program them with rules. This process of understanding is called "training." Google's application Quick Draw, for example, uses a neural network to recognize doodles. 
  • Advances in ML are enhancing Google's usability for consumers and brands alike. Google Assistant will soon be available on devices like cars and TVs and has the possibility to connect users with the services and brands they already like and use. "As we expand the capabilities of the platform, you’ll be able to apply your creativity to connect authentically through natural conversation with new and current users alike.” (David Singleton)
  • Technology is most powerful when everyone can use it. The applications of AI and ML - classification, prediction, understanding - intersect naturally with the challenges of enterprises worldwide. This is why Google is working to ensure that AI is widely available and that everyone can leverage its benefits, including businesses.
  • Currently, 72% of Internet users reported they witnessed harassment, 47% of users have been targets of abuse and ⅓ of people self-censor out of fear of potential retaliation. AI is being used to tackle the decline and stability of conversation, especially online. JigSaw, for example, is an engineering group within Alphabet that focuses on making people around the world safer by using the best engineering they have at some of the toughest global security and geopolitical challenges in the entire world.



Brands are becoming increasingly more inspired to promote causes and social good. For athletes, this provides an opportunity to form partnerships with brands with the shared mission of making the world a better place. Hosted by Translation, this seminar discussed how sports leagues are leading the charge to build innovative partnerships that leverage the collective power of athletes and brands to create change. 

 Key takeaways

  • Great creative work goes a long way in communicating your brand purpose. "You can talk about what you stand for, and get brand credit for that. You don’t have to put the brand logo or transaction in at the end. It looks like you were pandering, and no one wants to be pandered to. Make great creative work, articulate it clearly, and you don’t have to display that transaction to win.” (Steve Stoute, Founder, Translation)
  • Leagues and athletes are more empowered than ever, and that is to be encouraged by brands. Players are more vocal of their personal values, and leagues are celebrating this expression of individual beliefs. For example, campaigns like "My Cause, My Cleats" by the NFL and Player’s Tribune encourage players to wear cleats that promote a cause that they’re passionate about.
  • Athletes are realizing that though they work for a brand, they are also brands themselves. Shared values should be the number one priority for companies when they enter a brand/athlete partnership. Brands have to follow athlete's values and respect them, or the athlete will leave for a brand that does support their causes. 
  • It's important to distinguish between your personal opinion and the company’s values. Be aware of your demographic - at the end of the day leagues/brand affiliates are supporting a sport AND a lifestyle.
  • Brands need to have a soul. Millennials/Gen Z want to work with brands that are doing great things and care less about the actual product advertised. Athletes are also choosing brands that represent their values, not just the one who gives them the biggest check. “Your audience wants to know that you’re a good company before they care about what you’re selling.” (Steve Stoute)



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