AI and ESG: the acronyms of the biggest innovation event in Brazil

At the 2024 Web Summit the 3 magic words in the hallways were Generative Artificial Intelligence. The last trends technology does, in fact, have disruptive potential. Basically, many of the things we create can be done by AI, such as texts, images, sounds, videos, codes and predictions. As we combine the biggest technological leap in recent years with the biggest planetary climate and Sustainability crisis, my expectation was to find a large volume of solutions on AI and ESG at WebSummit Rio.

The panel “Empowering small business through innovation”, led by Stone, focused on the entrepreneurship scenario in the outskirts. The speeches revolved around the real needs of this public, which moves more than R$100 billion per year in Brazil, and ended with an important reflection: to innovate is to simplify. The question that remained was: are the various AI capabilities meeting the needs of this audience?

From small to giant, I went to hear a case of AI application at Burger King, well outside the impact box. Network sales fast food are 50% carried out by digital means (either by app delivery or orders on virtual panels in stores). By using data and behavioral analysis of these customers with a digital preference, they managed to reduce 70% of the acquisition cost and increase revenue through loyalty and offering ideal products. It's always been about knowing the customer. And, despite taking my hat off to this, I was curious about the actions to promote healthy eating and the use of AI to improve inventory accuracy and reduce food waste. I found some information here.

Still outside the bubble, a visit to the lecture on content production for social networks using avatars, with a stomach-churning speech. The next generations will fight the screens not to look like people with unrealistic beauty standards, but rather to look like non-human avatars. In a country where plastic surgery has grown 141% in the last 10 years for the public between 13 and 18 years old, the limit of what is scary has long been passed. Who are these avatars going to serve, anyway? In the words of João Pedro Resende, from Hotmart, avatars can be sold, people cannot. Here's the answer.

Back in the world of Sustainability, it was a breath of fresh air to hear Sônia Bridi interviewing Peter Prengaman, Global Director of Climate and Environmental Journalism at The Associated Press. The discussion revolved around combating misinformation and denial of the climate crisis, worsened by the irresponsible and unregulated use of AI. Brindaman highlighted the need to make stories about climate change are closer to the public, focusing on humanized narratives interconnected with aspects of life. The mix between simplifying scientific data and using narrative power is the bet to generate interest and mobilization necessary for the agenda.

Startup stands and pitch session “Building a sustainable future” It came with a pang of disappointment. Most focused on metrics platform services and information management controls. In fact, measuring and proving impact is a great solution for driving the agenda forward. I love this type of product and I am completely sure that they work very well – when the data exists. Anyone who has ever done any report or impact management knows that the real difficulty is generating the information. Great solutions, but for what problem? There wasn't time to get very clear.

Finally, to end with a warm heart, Ms. Luiza Trajano offers us the simplicity of a woman who built a billion-dollar company with the art of thinking and speaking simply, even if it involves building complex and innovative solutions. In the most human discussion of the day, Laura Salles, who shared the stage with Luiza, brings up the importance of understanding the person behind the numbers and technologies, remembering that the tools serve us, not the other way around.

20 minute lectures, a huge place, pitches 1 to 4 minutes and a rush between watching, meeting people, exchanging and breathing. There was little space left for questions. I missed looking beyond the surface and working more on what we want to solve with technology. Are we really using AI to our advantage?

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before going ahead

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