If there’s one connective tendon in all the conversations and presentations we heard at OMD’s Sky Suite at the Aria during CES 2019, it’s the notion of collaboration. But it’s important to recognize right away that, though collaboration is inherently a positive word, this is not just a “kumbaya” kind of message. Peril lurks in the promise of revolutionary technology such as artificial intelligence or 5G connectivity.

Nor do we mean to scare anyone away from technological advancement. Legendary chess player Garry Kasparov, the first person to beat (but also lose to) artificial intelligence in chess, believes collaboration between man and machine is vital to the survival of both. “I was one of the first to recognize it’s time to stop competing and time to start collaborating” with AI, he said. “As Picasso said, machines are useless–all they give you is answers, and they’ll never recognize the law of diminishing returns. Only humans can do that.” His ultimate point: AI must be a complement to human intuition, while humans need to guide AI to avoid closed-ended solutions. “We should be concerned about AI but not afraid of it,” he summarized.

Likewise, the advent of 5G, which we won’t see the full benefits of for another two years at least, will usher in all manner of collaboration, between man and machine through IoT devices (which will reach their full potential), between man and man through massively faster and fatter connectivity (eradicating the latency we suffer from today that hinders driverless cars and the like). Again, such deeper, faster insight and connection can easily be hijacked for nefarious purposes, so it’s incumbent upon the white hats in business and culture to remain vigilant.

This week we also heard a lot about creative collaboration, from people who know what they’re talking about. DJ and music producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson related to a gathered audience on Day Two how he’s collaborated with such a wide range of artists, from Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse to Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus. His secret? Listen to what they want. For Winehouse, it was recreating ‘60s pop, and for Cyrus it was fresh versions of classic songs that retained a touch of her Nashville twang.

Collaborative creativity was equally on display when the Jingle Punks took over the Sky Suite to craft a new jingle for Cap’n Crunch, with a ton of input from the crowd gathered in the room. This was crowdsourcing at its best. If there’s any danger in this type of collaboration, it’s that one can resort to copy-catting existing styles. But it’s a risk worth taking.

We hope you can fold some of these learnings into your roles here at OMD. Thank you for reading along!

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