TransatlanticSync – Germany & Silicon Valley: Shaping a shared digital future

The TransatlanticSync Conference was held on October 27th to 29th, 2019 at Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California, USA, to build a new transatlantic bridge based on shared values and cooperation in new technologies and the digital economy.

“The Future of Work” campaign organized also various events besides the Transatlantic Conference.

  • ZEIT Stiftung Event on 29.10.2019: Do Humans have rights in the digital Era?
  • Country briefing with the participation of the AHK, the Consulate General and Germany Trade & Invest
  • Innovation Ecosystem San Francisco Bay Area
  • Silicon Valley Robotics, Oakland
  • Informal exchange with researchers from Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab and Partnership on AI, Berkeley
  • Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Standford
  • Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (Stanford
  • Tempo Automation and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)

ZEIT Stiftung Event: Do Humans Have Rights in the Digital Age?
A Transatlantic Dialogue
Repost from Hanahaus

AI, autonomous robots, social scoring, mass surveillance, and concentrations of power among corporate platforms and political states. Digital technologies have created huge challenges to our democratic rights, freedoms and values. Must we sacrifice these to “progress”?

Europe has been at the forefront of efforts to regulate internet-based platform companies and their use of our private data. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become a model for other countries or states, such as California’s own Consumer Privacy Act.

Now, a group of renowned German net activists, civil society experts, lawyers and politicians has drafted a “Charter of Fundamental Digital Rights.” Like a “Bill of Rights” for the Digital Age, it is based on the principle that “Human dignity shall be inviolable” (here’s a link in English). The Charter has been widely discussed in Germany and the European Parliament. Could this proposal shape our digital future for the better? How would you regulate our digital future?

Come join this dialogue between US and German leaders, and be prepared to offer your own ideas about digital rights and the challenges to ensure that society benefits from technology and innovation.

More information on the project and the full Charter text:


Lenny Mendonca, Chief Economic and Business Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom of California, and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. He is a Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company and a lecturer on inequality at the Stanford Business School.

Tim O’Reilly, founder, CEO, and Chairman of O’Reilly Media, a technology learning company that inspires innovators through books, articles, conferences, and online learning. He is a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV), and is the author of WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us.

Dr. Jeanette Hofmanndirector of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (in Berlin), head of the research group Politics of Digitalization at the Berlin Social Science Center, and Principal Investigator of the research group “Democracy and digitalization”, Weizenbaum-Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin.

Rebecca MacKinnon, director of Ranking Digital Rights at New America in Washington DC, advancing global standards and incentives for companies to respect and protect users’ digital rights. A 2019-2020 University of California Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow, she is the author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom,and was previously CNN’s bureau chief in Beijing and Tokyo.

Dr. Heinz Bude is one of Germany’s most renowned sociologists. He holds the chair of Macrosociology at the University of Kassel, and he has received the Prize for Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Public Sociology by the German Sociological Society. Two of his books were recently published in English, “Society of Fear” and “The Mood of the World.” Dr. Bude is one of the co-authors of the Charter for Fundamental Digital Rights.

Moderator: Katharina Borchert is Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla, and former CEO at Spiegel Online, one of Europe’s most influential magazines.

Country briefing with the participation of the AHK, the Consulate General and Germany Trade & Invest

– Patrick Heinz, Deputy Consul General
– Annika Höltje, Director of Innovation Solutions and Innovation Scout for the State of Baden-Württemberg in Silicon Valley
– Heiko Steinacher, GTAI Office Director, San Francisco (tbc)

– General political situation in California (USA). Where is California different from the government in Washington DC?
– Role of the Consulate General in San Francisco
– What can German SMEs learn in Silicon Valley and how best?
– What is attractive about Germany for companies from the San Francisco Bay Area?

Innovation Ecosystem San Francisco Bay Area

– Stefan Heuser, until recently VP Operations & Innovation, Samsung
– Thorsten Kröger, Director Robotics Research and Engineering, X
– Andreas Hofmann, CEO, German Accelerator Silicon Valley
– Kathrin Wiesner, Head of Marketing, German Accelerator Silicon Valley
– What is different here in the San Francisco Bay Area (Silicon Valley) than in Germany? Why are start-ups so successful here?
– How can a German company/research institute make successful contacts here?
– What happens in the Bay Area in the Robotics/AI sector?

Contact: Dr. Sabine Blankenship, Science Officer, Consulate General
Location: Consulate General, 1960 Jackson St, San Francisco


Silicon Valley Robotics, Oakland

Informal exchange with researchers from Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Research Lab and Partnership on AI, Berkeley

– Mark Nitzberg, Berkeley Center for Human Compatible AI
– Lisa Dyer, Partnership on AI

Location: Revival Bar and Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Standford

– Future Work 360
– TransAir

Location: Stanford Campus, in the Main Quad, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford


Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (Stanford 

Contact: Prof. Sabine Remdisch, University of Standford
Location: Stanford Campus, 416 Escondido Mall, Building 550, Room 169, Stanford

Tempo Automation and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)


Contact: Shashank Samala, 
Location: 2460 Alameda St, San Francisco



Overview of the BRIDGE-US Activities

Innovation workshops

Bridge-US will each organize a three to four day workshop with scientific lectures on innovative topics in the field of Big Data. Invited experts from Germany will present papers on new technologies in the field of Big Data and show which expertise and knowledge will be required from future graduates. In addition to experts from the Big Data networks in the USA, selected experts from universities, research centers, research institutions, professional associations, funding organizations, companies, scientists working in Germany and decision-makers from German universities and research institutions will be invited. Both events will take place at our partner institutes in the USA. Goals of the event: Scientific contributions from German scientists and companies in the field of Big Data to impart knowledge about new technologies in the field of Big Data and to exchange knowledge about necessary expertise and knowledge of future graduates.

Start-up Workshop

The Petanux GmbH will organize a Start-Up Workshop in the project month M12 in order to inform the participants of the workshop about the possibilities and procedure for the establishment of an own Start-Up in the area of Big Data. With this in mind, the students, who are organized in groups, go through an entire innovation cycle in this workshop, starting with brainstorming, business plan, product development, marketing, operations and investment protection.

Big Data Innovation Award

A special measure in our project plan is the Big Data Innovation Award. This is announced by us in a competition and rewards the most innovative ideas from the field of Big Data. For example, scientific projects, start-ups, companies, students or scientists can apply for the award. The competition invitation will follow the question “Big Data – new possibilities to improve the world? The prerequisite for submission is the availability of the first concrete results from the implementation of the presented idea. The evaluation procedure is carried out in two stages. In the first stage, we will evaluate the submitted ideas according to various evaluation criteria. Economic, ecological, social and scientific aspects play a role here. An evaluation matrix created by us will make the evaluation process transparent. We will then select the three most innovative ideas from the submitted projects. These must then be presented at the Big Data Innovation Award Event as part of a science slam. A jury (50%) and the audience (50%) then determine the overall winner of the competition, which is then awarded the Big Data Innovation Award. The winner will receive an invitation to a renowned conference for Big Data Science in Germany to present the idea as a keynote speech. The invitation includes a voucher for travel expenses, accommodation and meals.

Scientific Publications

The project members will actively participate in at least two renowned scientific conferences in the USA during the project period in order to present and defend their research results in Big Data Analysis. The presentations will form an essential part of the dissemination of the results to the scientific community in the US. We also plan to publish peer-reviewed papers in high-level journals to gain visibility and valuable feedback on the scientific results. By focusing on these events, we also expect to stimulate complementary research from groups outside the consortium and outside the EU, which is essential to ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem. Our aim is to cover renowned conferences and publications such as VLDB, ACM SIGMOD, IEEE TKDE, Data & Knowledge Engineering, ICDE, ICML, Machine Learning Research, IJCAI and Artificial Intelligence.

Welcome BRIDGE-US as part of the BMBF campaign “The Future of Work”

Today’s networked world produces large amounts of data that is highly diverse in terms of volume and sources, with data from industry 4.0 and self-organized systems or services representing an ever-increasing share. A key approach to coping with all this data is to enhance human decision making with automated digital algorithms in order to close the gap between human cognitive abilities and the need to understand large amounts of data. BRIDGE-US aims to strengthen the necessary skills for big data experts by comprehensively marketing big data research made in Germany.

BRIDGE-US aims to strengthen the required capabilities as a Big Data Expert by comprehensively marketing research. The project includes various activities ranging from different types of workshops, the presentation of a Big Data Award to the marketing of Big Data Research Made in Germany through innovative promotional materials and social networking activities.