Insights from Dr Mark Sagar, CEO and Co-founder of Soul Machines 

Dr Mark Sagar is the CEO and Co-founder of Soul Machines. He was involved with the creation of technology for the digital characters in blockbusters such Avatar, King Kong, and Spiderman 2. Ahead of his appearance on stage next year, we spoke to him about creativity, innovation and the state of the industry right now.  
Dr Mark Sagar will speak at Cannes Lions 2019

What are you most excited about in the industry at the moment?

I think there is a sense that anything is possible. It is starting to feel like we have arrived in the 21st century at last. Given the technology that is now available, we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of creativity.

Do you think we need a better definition of creativity?

I think creativity exists in any field of human endeavour. I also think it is possible for machines to be very creative. To me, one of the most exciting things about the future will be the creative collaboration between humans and intelligent machines.

How do you think humanised artificial intelligence improve humanity?

There is a sense that anything is possible. Human co-operation has been the most powerful force in history. Human co-operation with intelligent machines will define the next era of history. Humans co-operating on a task intuitively communicate their shared goals, progress and coping through constant communicative feedback loops. For example, we establish goals and check that everyone is on the same page. We monitor each other’s progress so we can contribute and help if someone looks like they are struggling. For machines to most effectively interact with us in an intuitive way, they need to understand our signals and express those signals back to us in human ways. You shouldn't need an instruction manual - you just do what comes naturally.

"To me, one of the most exciting things about the future will be the creative collaboration between humans and intelligent machines.
Dr Mark Sagar, CEO and Co-founder of Soul Machines

What is the most critical part of the mission when it comes to remaining competitive and relevant going forward?

Creating rich meaningful content that is personalised, non-repetitive and generative.

What do you think the industry is too focused on right now?

Voice assistants. It’s like talking to Hal in 2001.

What inspires you?

Pretty much everything - as soon as you dwell on any aspect of the universe it expands the mystery.

What scares you?

Sharks.

What would you change about humans to make them a better species?

People have to become less precious of their “selves” - and more aware of interconnectivity.

"Human co-operation has been the most powerful force in history. Human co-operation with intelligent machines will define the next era of history."
Dr Mark Sagar, CEO and Co-founder of Soul Machines

Will robots make humans extinct? How will they affect humanity?

It's up to us. We have to make wise decisions. We have to keep their decision-making processes transparent. We can make them dependent on our goodwill.

What do boardrooms need to do to encourage innovation?

Allocate a portion of the budget and encourage a culture for creative play and exploration.