Masaya Mori, Executive Committee Chair of Rakuten Technology Conference 2017 and Global Head of Rakuten Institute of Technology

Have you seen the 1927 silent film “Metropolis”? Technophiles might know it as one of the first films ever to depict a robot, but it also delivers a message that feels particularly apt for today’s tech-driven information age: “The mediator between the head and the hands is the heart.”

Ninety years on, we are preparing for the 11th edition of the Rakuten Technology Conference, which will be held on October 28. Planned and operated by Rakuten engineers, the conference tackles a new theme each year relevant to the latest trends in the industry. This year, taking a cue from “Metropolis,” we chose “Head, Hands, and Heart.”

Head and hands alone are not enough to bring happiness and harmony to society. To connect these two ideas, a human element is necessary: a heart.

Head represents the processing of information – big data, data science and artificial intelligence are all examples of technologies in this area that are rapidly becoming indispensable in modern business. Hands are the physical solutions we devise for our lives and work: IoT, robotics, agile development or mob programming.

Masaya Mori, Executive Committee Chair of Rakuten Technology Conference 2017

Masaya Mori, Executive Committee Chair of Rakuten Technology Conference 2017

But head and hands alone are not enough to bring happiness and harmony to society. To connect these two ideas, a human element is necessary: a heart. We must continually look back upon what we do, remembering why we do it, remembering that humans are building, seeing, touching and using the things we create. Only then can we truly deliver great value to people and society.

These ideas will be at the core of this year’s Rakuten Technology Conference, which will be organized across six simultaneous tracks. Centered around a keynote from Rakuten Chairman and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani, the Main Track will feature talks from experts of AI, DevOps, IoT and education, including MIT professor Regina Barzilay discussing the role of deep learning in natural language processing. A highlight of the Global Track will be quantum computing pioneer Dr. Colin P. Williams of D-Wave Systems sharing his perspective on the current state of the quantum tech world, while the Japan Track will look at domestic topics such as the technology that drives some of Rakuten’s most important businesses.

The Academic Track will focus on near-future technology, bringing in experts from the fields of AI and data processing, while the HTML5 Track will see Blackstorm Labs CEO and celebrated HTML5 guru Michael Carter talk about the future of apps and mobile development. Lastly, the “Unconference” Track will feature the ever-popular Lightning Talks, in which participants can freely present topics of their own choice. Participants will also hear about blockchain, machine learning, space intelligence and the latest research from the Rakuten Institute of Technology. There will even be entertainment for kids, in the form of hands-on workshops at the Tech Family Park.

With so much to share on the day, we hope you’ll be able to join us as we take this journey into the future of technology. Don’t forget to engage your head, your hands and, most importantly, your heart!


The Rakuten Technology Conference will take place on October 28, 2017 at Rakuten Crimson House in Tokyo, and at multiple satellite locations across Japan and China. You can plan your day by consulting the conference schedule.