Masaya Mori, Global Head, Rakuten Institute of Technology

It’s that time of year again – time when the engineers take center stage to show off their latest innovations at Rakuten Technology Conference 2016, which will be held on Oct. 22 at Rakuten Crimson House in Tokyo. And this year, we’re pulling out all stops for the 10th edition of this annual event!

Since 2007, the Rakuten Technology Conference has been organized by engineers, for engineers – and it has attracted thousands of visitors. Each year, the team selects a theme based on recent engineering trends, and our engineers take the lead on planning and operating the entire conference. This year’s agenda is packed with great speakers, panels and demonstrations connected to AI, machine learning, deep learning, cognitive solutions, supercomputing, the latest VR devices, world-class OSS and much more.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the conference’s founding, we’ll set up a very special “AR/VR Robotics Park,” featuring AR, VR and robotics exhibits from Rakuten and other companies that visitors will be invited to try out.

Cloud computing, smart devices and social networks, big data, data science and distributed development were all topics of previous conferences but this year we know that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications are already shaping user experience (UX) and human-computer interaction (HCI). The internet of things (IoT) is emerging as the next major form of computing. Artificial intelligence (AI) is being incorporated into innovative technologies such as robotics applications, autonomous cars, drones and more. Even just thinking about the changes set to sweep over society in the next decade can be overwhelming.

While technological change is now so rapid it can seem to have taken on a life of its own, we must remind ourselves that we humans still have the power to choose our own destiny. Technology can only be put to use to meet predefined ends and it is humankind that must decide on those. We alone can determine our goals, our vision and our next adventure. That’s why the theme of this year’s Technology Conference is “The next adventure of humankind.”

The Next Adventure of Humankind!

Leading technology teams from around the world will take the stage, including IBM Watson, Microsoft DevOps, nVIDIA, Akamai Architect, Pezy Computing, SONY VR, HTC VR and Lenovo Tango.

Rakuten speakers will give share special insights about the innovative Ebates systems in the US and the technologies behind Viki video distribution and the “Soraraku” drone delivery that attracted attention from around the world earlier this year. We’ll hear the inside story on Rakuten infrastructure and the many other achievements by data scientists with backgrounds not only in computer science, but also in physics and economics, as well as our most recent work from the Rakuten Institute of Technology.

Rakuten Crimson House, in Futakotamagawa, Tokyo, will be the main site of the conference but we will also offer access to key sessions at satellite venues in Sendai, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo and elsewhere.

For the first time this year, the presentation style will change from the classroom approach to a TED-like style. And, Rakuten staffers who are also TED Fellows will hit the stage to speak about exciting possibilities for the future.

Let’s come together to share and discuss our visions for the future. Hopefully, you will even be inspired to seek out your role in the next adventure of humankind!