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August 21, 2019

IFA 2019: Technology pioneers: these women are shaping our future

Leading female experts in the area of new technologies are on hand at the IFA+ Summit to discuss what our future will look like. Which innovations will fundamentally change society and business? Which value will data and moral analysis have in times of blockchain and artificial intelligence? And what do we have to do today to ensure our increasingly digital world remains safe and worth living in? Pioneers like Shermin Voshmgir and Ann Cavoukian are sharing their visions for a data-based future at the convention on 8 and 9 September.

Shermin Voshmgir is one of the most well-known women in the high-tech scene. “Believe me, I am fed up talking about ’women in tech’ and the lack thereof just as much as you probably are. But given the statistics, we still have to do it,” says Shermin Voshmgir. The Director of the Cryptoeconomics Research Lab at the University of Vienna and founder of BlockchainHub is considered a blockchain pioneer and is the face of this new technology. With a PhD in business informatics, she pushes forward the discussion within her think tank on opportunities and risks of blockchain which could change our society like never before. According to Shermin Voshmgir, blockchain has the potential to make hierarchies superfluous, and to break down central entities like banks. This process harbours many benefits, especially for women. “Fewer hierarchies means more equal opportunities and participation.” But: “If we do not design blockchain technology in the right way, it can turn into a universal control machine,” emphasises the expert.

One of the world’s leading data privacy experts is Ann Cavoukian. With Privacy by Design, she has created a system which can help to embed data privacy from the very beginning into information technologies, digital networks and companies. Privacy by Design is today an international standard and part of the European General Data Protection Regulation. “We have to protect privacy globally or we protect it nowhere!” For Ann Cavoukian, data privacy, freedom and human rights are closely tied to one another. “The protection of our privacy is essential for our freedom. Without data privacy, personal human rights, the right to ownership and civil liberties cannot co-exist in a meaningful way.”

Madeleine C. Elish is examining the influence of artificial intelligence and automation on society. At the IFA+ Summit, the leading specialist of the New York research initiative Data & Society will be sharing moving examples of human-robot interaction under the title “Moral crumple zones”. In her latest work, Madeleine C. Elish is examining how artificial intelligence is influencing our understanding of values and ethical standards, and how our working world is changing as a result.

The artist Wesley Allsbrook breaks through conventional borders of perception with her work. Her art is created in a virtual reality. “I focus on female narratives, stories about abuse, climate change and gender politics.” With her virtual reality art, she aims to influence the modern art scene. “Basically, I want this tech to change the definition of popular art itself.”

Four major minds in the tech scene complete the women's power line-up. Cansu Canca, founder and director of the AI Ethics Lab, leads teams of computer scientists and lawyers providing ethics analysis and consulting to researchers and practitioners. Lina Dencik, founder of the Data Justice Lab, explores the interplay of media developments and social and political change. Diana Derval, research director at DervalResearch in Shanghai. Derval turns fascinating neuroscientific breakthroughs into powerful business models to identify, understand and predict human characteristics, motivations and behaviors. Véronique Larcher is the director of AMBEO Immersive Audio at Sennheiser. In collaboration with Magic Leap, Larcher develops tools and accessories for innovative mixed-reality music experiences.

The program for the IFA+ Summit and an overview of all speakers can be found at Tickets are available for 599 euros at Students can take part for 299 euros. Day Passes are also available.

About IFA+ Summit

The IFA+ Summit has been the IFA’s think tank since 2014, the world’s largest show for consumer and home electronics. Each year this IFA convention is host to more than 550 international experts and leading professionals. The two-day IFA+ Summit is part of the innovation-hub IFA NEXT. The IFA+ Summit takes place on 8 and 9 September 2019 at the IFA fair grounds at IFA NEXT GRAND THEATER, Hall 26. More information at:


Nicole von der Ropp
IFA Global Communication

Messe Berlin GmbH
Emanuel Höger
Senior Vice President
Corporate Communication
Messe Berlin Group