This weekend sees the kick-off of the 64th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the most prestigious festival of our industry which welcomes 15,000 people from across the world, looking to be inspired by outstanding content and case studies.

The festival itself takes place over eight days and will see 600+ world class speakers take to the stage, sharing their knowledge and expertise to keen delegates from across all disciplines of the creative industry.

PHD is proud to be bringing two esteemed speakers to the festival this year. Ray Kurzweil, world leading inventor, futurist and author will be our guest speaker on Wednesday 21st June as we present ‘Merge | The closing gap between technology and us’ on the Debussy Theatre’s stage at 5pm. Introduced by PHD’s worldwide strategy and planning director, Mark Holden, Kurzweil will explore a future in which humanity and technology become inextricably linked.

In addition, at this year’s Lions Innovation festival, we are proud to present PHD APAC CEO, Susana Tsui, in conversation with Chelsea Chen, the co-founder of Emotech and inventor of Olly the Robot, the first robot with personality. Susana will talk to Chelsea about her journey from advertising exec in China to robotics inventor in the UK, plus the audience will have the opportunity to hear from Olly itself.

PHD has also partnered with Cannes Lions to launch the first official festival chatbot, available on Facebook Messenger.

The AI powered bot will be accessible by all 180,000 Facebook fans of the Cannes Lions page, and is designed to help attendees navigate their way around the festival.

The bot features a personalised greeting and allows festival attendees to view what’s on ‘now and next’, set reminders, search events and FAQ’s as well as location-based questions. It incorporates machine-learning, growing more precise as more people use it.

Users will also be guided on which content has been curated for them that day via PHD Picks, surfaced each morning within the bot.

PHD has added additional hidden ‘Easter egg’ content into the bot, in the form of both digital excerpts and free hard copies of the agency’s latest thought leadership book – ‘Merge – The closing gap between technology and us’.