International Strategic Advisor to Startups
The company Electronic Arts, which Jeff Burton co-founded in the 1980s, today as EA Games is one of the largest gaming companies in the world. However, the years of his career were not only marked by highs, but also by a few lows. He now passes on the lessons learned as an advisor to young companies, especially in the field of virtual reality. The city of Munich exerts an incredible fascination for Jeff Burton.
What do you find most fascinating about Munich?
Munich is a beautiful city and I love its architecture and its bells. I have spent lots of time in an office which was right at Kaufingerstraße and we were right across of the two bell towers of the Frauenkirche. And Munich has this fabulous public transportation system, that I have finally mastered after two whole months. And it’s so quiet. Everything is so loud, but Munich is quiet. Also, people are so civilized here! It’s clean, people are polite and mind their own business. Except on the subway, where people really look whether you’ve got your foot on a bench or something. And that is really German, I think. And here you cannot cross the street against the red lights. So I learned to wait, even if there’s no traffic… And I like it. Munich feels like a really sophisticated and well-educated and industrial centre. I mean, some of the world’s biggest companies are here. And the educational system, LMU and TUM are the best in Germany. Munich combines everything you need to be successful. And its location centrally located in Europe is great.
"MUNICH COMBINES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL."
How would you define creativity?
I think I would define it as the ability to put together either material or ideas in a way that no one has combined things before. Creating something new, in fact. It’s the ability to see something in a new light and interpret it in a different way that most people don’t. It’s an idea that no one has really thought of before. It’s something everybody can do and some are much better at than others. I love working with creative people because they tend to be open minded and curious.
What inspires you?
I get a lot of my inspiration from young people. And I work with young people all the time. Because those tend to have creativity that has not been stifled yet, they are open and they are curious. Fortunately, I’ve been successful in helping those people. For me, it is an inspiration to see the passion in a person and I can be the one to help realise that special idea.
"EVERY ECONOMY WILL BECOME MORE DEPENDENT ON CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION."
New technologies – what fascinates you and what scares you?
I am fascinated by the new technologies‘ ability to transport a person in a situation that he or she has never encountered before. And that is one of the things about Virtual Reality that is just fascinating to me. Think of you being a teacher. Eventually, what’s going to happen is that teachers are going to be able to take a whole class through Virtual Reality into the past and experience a historic event that they have been trying to teach about. So the class will be able to be in that room together at the same time and experience it as if it is really happening. That is what the technology is moving toward. The best way to learn is through experience anyway and VR gives you this ability in a much more real way. So you’re able to learn much quicker and much deeper. I’m concerned about technologies being able to become so smart that machines will start to teach themselves. And that is what’s happening right now. And in some ways even highly educated people are starting to lose jobs to highly trained machines.
Oh, so you are scared of people losing their jobs?
Not necessarily. I’m concerned that once a computer has all of the information that it needs to program itself, that there is going to be no way to control what the computer chooses to optimize. This raises all sorts of ethical questions, of issues that none of us has had to deal with before. It’s going to take 30-40 years for Artificial Intelligence to really come into its own, but the fact that AI can beat the best human player in the game GO – that is pretty amazing, amazingly scary actually.
Future – what is the most challenging part?
It will be survival – we are running out of water, there’s too many people as we are multiplying too fast. We are rapidly approaching a breaking point, with the whole issue of global warming. And somehow we have got to figure out a way to stop that, because we will reach a point where all the natural systems are going to start doing weird things. Here, we really need creativity in order to handle those changes.
"MUNICH IS THE MOST VITAL STARTUP AREA IN EUROPE RIGHT NOW.
MUCH MORE THAN PARIS, LONDON OR BERLIN."
Megatrends – which one do you invest in?
Digitalization is a Megatrend that is spreading throughout the world; it’s not just connecting them in fact, its about providing them with just-in-time information and an infinite amount of information. The digital revolution has just changed the way people interact. And this has a high impact on developing countries, which aren’t necessarily well educated. It’s a huge game changer.
Vision – what’s yours?
My vision is that every economy in the world will become much more dependent on creativity and innovation in businesses and starting new businesses.That is going to be an engine of growth for the future of all countries, doesn’t matter whether they are advanced, or third world or first world. It’s almost like the industrial revolution, which every economy in the world had to adopt in order to keep up with the change. The future engine of economic growth is to start up companies and to use creativity and innovation to stay on track.
Company innovations – radical or incremental?
Radical is the way to go! Our lives are most influenced by radical changes and that’s where we learn the most and where people are gaining that kind of dynamism that they need to change something. Incremental changes don’t lead to creativity or major rethinking. And that’s why I think radical innovations are a huge driver and a force for creativity.
Creative Class – how would you define it? Is it the key to innovation?
Anyone who is involved in trying to make major changes. So radicals of all sorts really. People who use their own head and make a difference with their own ideas, with their own creativity. So is it the key to innovation? Absolutely!
What do you expect from Munich Members?
Munich Members definitely is the gateway to transformation! I expect Munich Members to really make an impact on Munich’s community. It’s a fairly definable and fairly small community that has a ton of power. And Munich Members can harness that community and harness that power to create an influencer for the rest of the country and therefore for the rest of the world. I think Munich is the most vital Startup area in Europe right now. Much more than Paris, London or Berlin. And Munich Members is just the right thing at the right time.
Diese Munich Members könnten Sie auch interessieren:
© MUNICH MEMBERS