Cannes Lions: Creators Talk AI and Metaverse at International Festival of Creativity

Every summer, the worlds of advertising, marketing and the media descend upon the French Riviera for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Awards are doled out for ad campaigns, deals are struck over tepid glasses of rosé, and the Palais des Festivals rings to the sound of industry figures talking up their latest creative efforts.

This year, Decrypt and sister Web3 media outlet Rug Radio were in the thick of it. In partnership with Partouche Multiverse, the innovation subsidiary of the Partouche Group, and NFT collection Joker Club, Decrypt boarded the Joker Odyssey, a five-day event held aboard a yacht moored alongside the Palais.

A programme of talks covering Innovation, Creation, Entertainment and Disruption ran the gamut of topics from AI in film and music to inclusion in the digital age during the day.

“The metaverse is a chance to go way beyond gaming,” said The Sandbox Co-Founder & COO Sebastien Borget, in a panel discussion on ‘How the Metaverse will gamify real life experiences’.

“We use gamification mechanics, but it’s not 100% about gaming,” he explained, adding that the metaverse could help to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. “I play for 20, 40 minutes, I explore different parts, I complete quests and earn a phygital reward,” he said. “That drives me to a physical place to enjoy certain benefits.”

Karen Levy, co-owner of the private DSLcollection of Chinese contemporary art, discussed the importance of taking a balanced approach to the use of technology in creation. “Our secret recipe is to bring experts from the art world—artists, designers, curators—to work on projects together with technology, because you cannot do projects with only technology and not have the art world involved.”

Multidisciplinary artist Jake Oleson explained his approach to using AI as “an incredibly insightful collaborator” in his work. “I’ll basically have a therapy session with ChatGPT,” he said. “Have a dig into different things going on in my life, and riff off of ideas for the direction of a story to go in. Along with critically analyzing, like, a script that I might be working on.”

Alta Global Media founder Steven Adams took aim at the idea that AI is “a benign amalgamation of all culture,” pointing out that it’s “very western-biased, it’s very male-biased, and it has a lot of blind spots in it.”

AI, Adams said, “does things that are shocking, sometimes, draws conclusions that have horrible biases, and [generates] imagery that is frankly offensive at times.” He added that, “There are massive issues that need to be attacked for this to actually be a situation where it reaches its full potential.”

Lisa Smith, Partner, Customer Strategy & Design at Deloitte Digital, discussed how the company had partnered with the British Paralympic Association to develop metaverse augmented reality experience Mindscape—and caused them to question how they used emerging technology. “We thought we knew what inclusive design was,” she said. “And you don’t really know shit until you’re sitting next to the athletes who are saying, ‘No, don’t use genAI to make me sound like I don’t have a speech impediment’.”

Alongside each day’s programme of talks, Joker Odyssey guests could enjoy tastings from Web3 wine and spirits marketplace InterCellar, or relax with psychedelic meditative art installation Alpha Wave Experience. And as the sun set over Cannes, music drifted across the marina as they took to the dance floor, enjoying a celebration of the underground scene from DJs and cabaret performers.

“Partouche Multiverse, the innovation subsidiary of the Partouche Group, created the Joker Odyssey primarily to foster more interaction between tech decision-makers and creatives,” Partouche Multiverse COO Jordan About explained. “Together, they can conquer the world. That’s why we created the most disruptive technology event at the heart of the world’s largest creativity festival.”

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