In a world where digitalization and technology are taking up more and more space in our lives, they are all in their fields to talk about the latest trends, to discuss the exciting “Diji” problems ranging from how to navigate the Metaverse to NTF collections to buy, from how digital art will affect the physical to online platforms, from the IT department to cryptocurrencies. We came to a meeting with expert, talented and creative women. Let the journey to virtual reality begin!
A TO Z METAVERS
META MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA AND TURKEY REGIONAL PRESIDENT
You are the Meta Middle East, Africa and Turkey Regional President. Can you share your duties and responsibilities with us?
I am responsible for Meta’s activities in 73 countries covering the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. Within the scope of my duty, to provide businesses of all sizes in this powerful geography with the digital skills they need to grow and reach foreign markets, to provide people with the power and services they need to establish communities on issues they care about, to contribute to people’s lives, and to contribute to the success written in the region both in the economic and social fields. I am directing many of the works we have brought to life in order to be a part of their stories.
How and why was the virtual reality Metaverse, which we are talking about the most, born?
In the easiest way, we can define Metaverse not as an internet that we look at, but as an internet into which we enter. Metaverse is an area that will offer you the closest experience when you cannot physically come to a meeting with people. In line with our new vision as Meta, our focus is to bring the Metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow their businesses. This will not only be a place where you can spend time socializing with your friends, but also a place where you can work together, produce, shop and do more. Creators and artists will be able to connect with their audiences in new ways and engage them in these shared experiences. For example, this space will allow you to dine with a dear friend even if you can’t be together, or to connect to a concert of your favorite band as if you were there together. We believe that Metaverse will also open many doors in terms of educational opportunities. Instead of reading about Ancient Rome or the Ottoman Empire from books, our children are waiting for more realistic experiences where they can wander in the markets of that period, use the first money of the Lydians to shop, walk and see closely on Mars and the planets, and take a stroll inside the cells instead of learning about biology from books.
How will our digital assets live in the Metaverse? What will life be like in the Metaverse?
When the Metaverse comes to life, vibrant 3D avatars will make your interactions far more powerful than anything possible online today. Instead of typing or touching, you will be able to do something by moving your hands, saying a few words, or even thinking. Although we are talking about virtual reality and augmented reality at the moment, in the future we can see a reality where all these forms can exist in the middle. At this point, we come across the concepts of Mixed Reality (mixed reality) and Extended Reality (extended reality). While mixed reality is a form where virtual and augmented reality are in the middle, augmented reality is a type of reality that combines the features of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.
Who will set the rules of Metaverse, who/who will rule Metaverse?
Just like the internet, the key feature of Metaverse will be its openness and interoperability. At Meta, we want to serve as many people as possible with Metaverse, and if we always work together, we hope that within the next 10 years, Metaverse will reach one billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce, and provide business support for millions of manufacturers and developers. The Metaverse will eventually become business, entertainment, and everything in-between. When we consider the reflection of Metaverse to the business world; now it will appear as a world where we can be in the office and work in our usual routine without going to and from the office.
Could you tell us about the importance of the book Ladies Crossing Boundaries written by Elif Ergu, which was brought to life with the cooperation of Meta Turkey and KEDV?
We think that sharing the different stories of successful female entrepreneurs is very valuable in terms of encouraging new entrepreneurs. Since the beginning of the pandemic in Turkey, there has been a 92 percent increase in women-related businesses on Instagram. We had the opportunity to highlight the inspiring stories of 10 female entrepreneurs through our book project “Women Transcending the Ends” written by Elif Ergu, which we realized as a result of our cooperation with KEDV. Meta platforms can enable a female entrepreneur from the farthest corner of Turkey to deliver a handcrafted product to a buyer in another part of the world.
EVERYTHING ABOUT FASHION, METAVERSE AND NFT
STRATEGIST, ENTREPRENEUR AND SPEAKER
In addition to carrying all these titles, you are also the founder of Loud and Proud. What does Loud and Proud do?
We advise companies, startups and business leaders. Our work is focused on “Strategy, design and innovation”. We have a vision to make the future visible, we want to take the business world to the next level.
You also share interesting news about technology, innovation and new generation professions every day on Cüneyt Özdemir’s YouTube channel.
I’ve been broadcasting live every weekday with one of Turkey’s most iconic names for about a year. This is an awesome experience. We have a content strategy that we have not seen very similar in Turkey. I explain what is happening in the world in 20 different categories such as business, technology and economics. Our aim is to provide vision while giving information and inspiration. I also have a trending program where I’m alone on weekends; “15×15 Trends with Elif Çetin”. Here, too, we aim to make technology understandable for everyone, thus encouraging production and value creation.
Currently, there is no other production at this level in Turkey. How long has technology been in your life? And how are you using technology right now?
We work with talents living in various parts of the world, so all our business processes are suitable for remote working, so everything is digital with us. Recently, our Metaverse and NFT focused projects and services have been on the agenda. We create Metaverse strategies for companies that need it. We are working with a team that is both very talented and carries out global projects on NFT. We provide our customers with a smooth transition to this whole new world.
We are now surrounded by a new generation of technologies that would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. What innovations do you foresee for 100 years from now? What do you have in your dreams?
I think artificial intelligence will come to the fore and cause radical changes from the workforce to the concept of citizenship. When I think about the future, there is a redesign process that I envision for the human race. I think we will now have multiplanetary life, it’s called “multiplanetary”. We will also have a journey to “transhuman”. It is a structure in which the transfer of consciousness is real, the reproductive function changes and the genders do not come to the fore, and we are also differentiated physically.
Science fiction movies are very valuable in this sense because the future is how we imagine it. How would you describe the Metaverse?
The easiest recipe might be: Just as there are many different companies such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube under the social media roof, Metaverse will have many companies under one roof. Metaverse is the commercialized version of virtual reality. It’s seen as the “next big thing” the tech world has been looking for for some time, and the future of the internet. It’s actually a bet we see under the web 3.0 heading. The reason is; The creation and spread of AR/VR technologies are on the agenda. In order for digital to deepen and for these technologies to take place in our lives, a platform requirement has arisen for our virtual lives. This is now covered by Metaverse.
How will our digital assets live in the Metaverse? And what will life be like here?
Technically speaking, it is planned that we will be able to do virtually everything we do in our physical life. Working, shopping, activity, travel, etc. However, I think that the sociological and spiritual dimensions of this should come to the fore more. We will need more philosophers of technology, anthropologists, lawyers.
Fashion and the Metaverse is also a vast field. Various brands such as Gucci, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Burberry and Dolce&Gabbana collaborated with game companies to prepare NFT clothing collections. What project were you most excited about?
The British Fashion Board launched the Fashion Awards experience in Roblox and the first fashion award for Metaverse design, for example, projects like this are currently being done through game companies. The Metaverse will likely take many years to develop, but NFTs offer near-term opportunity for luxury fashion brands. Let’s say like this; NFTs are the fastest and most profitable way to enter the Metaverse. With the increase in virtual avatars, the demand for virtual fashion will increase rapidly. The need for personalization in the digital space is undeniable, and fashion is one of the easiest ways to do it. Therefore, opportunities stand out in fashion, retail and luxury categories. For example, Moda Operandi registered the name Modaverse. Those who have a metaverse strategy and plan to deepen in this area excite me. In our strategies, we focus on keeping this excitement alive and creating leaders.
Will NFTs change the meaning of physical collections and our perspective on them over time?
Let’s clarify what NFT is here. NFT is a “data unit” that confirms authenticity and is stored on the “blockchain”. It was thought that NFTs were produced for collections, since the projects were mainly digital art projects. “Anything like no other” such as concert tickets, diplomas, deeds, certificates can be turned into NFTs. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs create commercial opportunities by making it easy to buy and sell things on the Metaverse base. Verification of authenticity without the need for an authority is a bet that will shake all central structures, and yes, I think it can change many things over time.
ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS
MERVE NAZ ATMACA
You received digital marketing training and you have been working on digital platforms for the last 12 years. How did you foresee this period and turn towards this world?
I started my career as an assistant brand manager in the marketing department of a restaurant chain in 2007, became a brand manager in a short time and continued to work in this sector for three years. During this time, e-commerce and digital platforms were talked about, just as the metaverse is constantly being talked about, the only difference being that important steps were taken at that time. I knew that a big transformation was going to happen, I thought that I should definitely learn digital marketing channels while continuing to improve my classical marketing knowledge. I attended digital marketing trainings on the website of an international educational institution, started working on an e-commerce site where I could do brand management and digital marketing together, and switched to digital platforms. I reinforced my experiences in business life with Executive MBA and digital marketing trainings at NYU.
You have been working as CMO at BluTV since 2020. Could you briefly describe the content of your task and the prominent projects?
I am responsible for 360 marketing activities at BluTV, to elaborate a little; From brand communication strategy to conventional and digital marketing communication, from purchasing processes to digital performance marketing activities, from subscriber-based management to PR, I am responsible for the management of agencies and business partners that we support in these areas. The most important measurement for digital platforms, as we all know, is the number of subscriptions. It is very important to gain new subscribers and keep current subscribers. For this reason, both increasing the satisfaction of our existing members and gaining new members form the basis of our marketing strategy. 2021 was a successful year when BluTV was at its most active in terms of marketing, quickly launching a new original content every month, breaking its own subscription record, winning a total of 18 awards, two of which were grand prizes. We had many prominent marketing campaigns and projects, but our prominent works at Felis and Kristal Elma, the protest trailer communication we made for The Handmaid’s Tale, and the “Therapy Comment” feature for a BluTV original content, First and Last, and the marketing communication of this project. it happened.
What’s the difference between being the CMO of a digital platform and being the CMO of a classic broadcast cluster?
The main difference between traditional and digital is that the classical broadcasting clusters do not touch their target audience as much as we do and do not engage in direct exchange with them. On subscription platforms, you not only establish an emotional bond with your target audience, but also establish an e-commerce relationship. Therefore, as the manager responsible for marketing, creating a sustainable brand and intensive content communication are at the core of your marketing strategy, but performance-oriented digital marketing activities should be your priority. This difference requires us to differentiate from the classical broadcasting clusters, from media buying to social media strategy and even the most fundamentally content strategy. Being the CMO of a digital platform requires extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of 360 marketing, a strong digital performance management and a command of the constantly evolving and changing audience habits.
How do you evaluate the increase in the number of digital platforms in recent years?
As a manager of BluTV, Turkey’s first premium online video platform, which created Turkey’s first original content, Innocent, and which today led the growth of this market in our country with more than 62 original content, we can only be proud and happy with this picture.
The increase in the number of digital platforms is a good indication that the industry is growing and has even greater potential than the current situation. The pandemic had a multiplier effect on the penetration of digital platforms, and a significant increase was observed in the number of digital platform users. We know that two more big foreign digital platforms will enter the Turkish market in 2022, I am a firm believer in the concept of rivalry (together with a competitor), I think that good competition is driving us to achieve even better.
WE ARE BEAMING TO A DIGITAL ART MUSEUM
X MEDIA BACK MUSEUM DIRECTOR
You are among the founders of the “X Media Arka Museum”, which is a first in Turkey. How does the museum, which brings technology, science and art together, break the rules?
As you said, X Media Arka Museum is Turkey’s first digital art and new media museum that brings technology, science and art together. As a museum, we are a permanent place, but as a museum, we offer a different version of what is expected. For example, museums normally have fixed collections and show the audience their own collections along with the exhibits. We also have a collection, but it is different from the usual; over IP! In other words, our language is a little different from classical museums, through the universe of digital art and new media. As a place, we offer different experiences to the audience with high technology in an area of 1000 square meters. We do not hesitate to say the first; We have a strong technical infrastructure, international collaborations, local and foreign artists, and future plans.
Could you briefly describe the first exhibition, “Leonardo Da Vinci: Artificial Intelligence The Wisdom of Light/Humanity and Metaverse from CERN to NASA”?
Ouchhh studio’s Leonardo Da Vinci: Artificial Intelligence Wisdom of Light/Humanity and Metaverse from Cern to NASA” booth includes a cinematic data painting experience taken from five different layers of information and blended with artificial intelligence. The first section of the booth was created using art history data for “Leonardo Da Vinci: Artificial Intelligence, Wisdom of Light/ Humanity and Metaverse from Cern to NASA”. In this section, Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings, 3D modeling and artist’s paintings, inventions, machine drawings and sketches are used as a knowledge base. At the same time, data and photographs of famous masterpieces of art history made by Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli are also included. The music of this section of the booth is about Ludovico Einaudi, the composer of the world-famous Oscar-winning Nomadland cinema, and the legendary Mercan Dede. The second part of the stand turns it into a work that encompasses the different data universes of Humanity and Metaverse, from Cern to NASA. There are sections of Poetic Ai, Veri Monalit, Veri Gate in collaboration with Nasa, and Dark Machine in collaboration with Cern.
How will the Metaverse affect the future of the art world?
This problem has multiple factors on the art world side. Collectors, local and foreign artists, geographical position, platforms, galleries, creative institutes, theaters, cultural policies need to be addressed one by one, because they all have different effects on each other. The biggest contribution to these factors is the change of generation and mass. The audience likes to interact with each other, but not physically. Trying to find new solutions to this situation today. It focuses on improving aspects such as human-machine, human-computer communication, design and interface. In this case, I think that in the future of art, there will be more fields such as telematic arts, internet art, and generative arts. However, the main reason for this will be the effects of web 3.0 more than Metaverse.
Will the art galleries and stands opened in the Metaverse throw off the classical sense of art and stands?
This is due to the strong ties established between artists, collectors and galleries. Artists will not change the way they make art just because technology has entered our lives. Yes, there is technology, the field of digital arts and different titles, but this does not mean that “classical art is out of date”. The artist should proceed in the way he wants to talk about himself, in whichever medium he wants to show himself. Collectors, galleries and artists should be supported in every field. Otherwise, the metaverse replaces art. However, at the end of the day, we make art, using technology or not.
How did digital art evolve with the advent of NFT?
Collectors and galleries are transforming more than digital art. I can’t say it has changed because we are still in a process that we are trying. There are platforms with weak UI and UX experiences, and with their transformation, there may be an evolution in user experiences. Since the NFT issue is based on a smart contract, the purchase of digital art has brought innovations in issues such as copyrights. It did not make any difference to the production of digital art.
ART, MUSIC AND TECHNOLOGY
XTOPIA FOUNDER, CREATIVITY AND TECHNOLOGY EXPERT
Can you tell us about being a creative industry and technology entrepreneur?
My brain has always turned to speculative areas where science, art and technology merge. I was particularly interested in image art and new media arts. When I gained the experience of demonstrating digital art by creating experiences, my Art Activities Management experience in Güçlü PSM started. I was the director of the Digilogue Platform, which we established together with Güçlü Holding, for six years, and in this process, we saw how little the context of creative industries and technology was on the agenda in Turkey and organized ingenuity development workshops, conferences, stands and festivals according to the needs. With the Future Tellers conference, which I created under the Digilogue brand, we carried out a series of highlighting the effects of technology on society and our daily lives, making forward-looking assumptions and informing. I am the curator of +D, the creativity and technology platform for the sixth Sonar Festival, which will take place in front of us on March 18-19. I develop strategies focused on social benefit and information in the context of creative industries and technology. I work with institutions, brands, institutes and create consultancy or new ventures with them.
You are the founder of XTOPIA, what is XTOPIA?
XTOPIA is a global world-building initiative focused on discourses about creativity, immersive experiences, technology and humanity. I dreamed of XTOPIA as a place that serves as a collective social imagination center and uses gamification and world-building methods as a device to combat sociocultural challenges and seek common solutions to the problems we face as a society. We believe it is possible to create a better world. And we reveal it through our insights, ideas and creative projects.
Can we gather all these works you have done under the name of digital art?
We cannot gather my works under the name of digital art, but we can say that it includes digital art as well. Rather than competing with the physical and the digital, it is more important to realize how the possibilities offered by digital enrich the experience. Especially when digitalized universes are being built, digital art, which will be the art of that world, gains even more importance in my opinion. At the same time, in an age where we question the reality of our real world, the flow of works/experiences realized with digital infrastructures or kept in digital environments into physical and real environments excites me. Any infrastructure that will allow the reality bubbles in the brains of millions of people to merge and transform with each other is an invaluable experiment for me. And just being able to see where this experiment will lead is an experience in itself.
In general terms, what does the combination of technology and art create today? What are the most up-to-date (from the world) works in this field that excite/surprise you?
I’ll start with Memo Akten (@memo_akten) that I love so much. He is a world-leading professor of artificial intelligence. Memo is a flawless mind that can blend technology and art wonderfully and creates even more unique works with its research and deep questioning. It is admirable that Memo Akten not only conducted a consciousness experiment, but also a decentralization experiment inspired by octopuses, with the new NFTs he created using artificial intelligence inspired by octopus intelligence.
Again a mind and artist that I admire very much, Sougwen Chung (@sougwen) is a performance artist who draws with a machine. He is an excellent artist who compares computers and humans live and presents the results to humans at the same time.
I read that music is your favorite art form, how do you touch technology to music
Music fascinates me every time and every time with its power. Music isn’t just about industrial songs. It’s actually a sound production. When it comes to production in a random area, new ways and opportunities opened up by technology are undeniable. XTOPIA’s sweetest project, Live Choir AV, is very interesting as a visual and auditory performance that we continue every year with our beloved choir conductor Başak Doğan, Amir Ahmadoğlu and Tolga Böyük (Islandman). With the help of technology, music can increase its effect on the human soul tenfold. 3D, 4D sound technologies can be given as examples.
A BRAND EXISTING IN METAVERSE AND MAKING NFT DESIGNS
KNITOLOGY DIGITAL BRAND FOUNDER AND DESIGNER
When was Knitology, a digital brand, founded?
The geography I live in, the female figure, the multi-atmosphere I breathe in every different country I am assigned for the job, every individual I meet, every detail that smells of modernized art and naturally my curiosity about technology has brought us to this point today.
My team and I remember every day how aesthetics combined with digitalization and mathematics make atmosphere, resources and, most importantly, time more valuable. At Knitology, we live our day digitally; Our design processes, our power usage during the day, our efficiency calculations in every work flow we give our time are all digital. In short, we dream of making the physical digital with less waste and the digital as physical as necessary.
You said that you transferred the designs we imagined to digital. Can you tell about this? Every physical outfit also has a digital version, an NFT version? You said, “We aim to make it available in our NFTized Metaverse universe”.
We are trying to act with the awareness that the total water consumption of the industry we are in is 90 million cubic meters and the CO2 emission is 10 percent. We design all the collections with the three-dimensional modeling software we used before, we approve all the fits on the avatars before the sample process starts, and then we move on to the production stage. In fact, before all the stock is produced, we open the works for pre-order and measure the demand density with orders and start mass production. So yes all our works are phygital! As for our NFTs, we have accounts on Withfoundation and Opensea; We NFTize not all of our works, but our collections, which have a story and are nourished by art.
Have the sales of the works you NFTized started?
Yes. As I mentioned, it is available on Opensea and Withfoundation sites. However, our NFT designs still continue. For a start, we’ll be releasing another three-piece NFT collection called Knitology Heritage. Among them are cuts from the Generation and Sensation physical collections. Our collection account will be featured on @knitologysociety.
Does the brand have a Metaverse universe?
The project is at the completion stage, but all the infrastructure is ready.
You said that this is a “Community” as well as a classic fashion brand.
Our music channel, social media accounts, office and our own Metaverse gallery are open to all members of the community who believe in us. We are trying to complete our projects in order to take part in different platforms in the future.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE INFORMATION SECTOR?
INDEX COMPUTER AS GENERAL MANAGER
Could you briefly talk about İndeks Bilgisayar, your duties and responsibilities?
As İndeks Bilgisayar, we are a distributor company operating in the Turkish Information Technologies sector for more than 32 years. We deliver the products of more than 200 international technology brands in our portfolio to both corporate and individual end users through our more than eight thousand business partners throughout Turkey.
How did the pandemic affect and affect your industry? How is the situation in computers and smartphone market
There has been an explosion in the demand for end products, primarily laptops, desktop computers, tablets, printers, monitors, smart phones, which are essential for providing remote access to the residence. We, as İndeks Bilgisayar, have encountered a very high demand for these product sets for the brands we have contracts with. According to IDC data, while the personal computer market was 1.6 million units in Turkey in 2019, it reached 2.2 million units in 2020 with a 37 percent growth, and over 2.3 million units by the end of 2021. Therefore, we can say that the impact of the pandemic has had a very positive effect on the personal computers market, which is our locomotive product set that we trade. On the other hand; We see that the smartphone market, which is expected to shrink by the end of 2019, closed the year at the level of 10.5 million units, with a horizontal course both in 2020 and 2021, according to GFK data. We can attribute the positive developments in these two sub-markets, which we can call the main product clusters of the Turkish information technologies sector, to the positive impact of the pandemic on the demand for technology products.
We are now surrounded by a new generation of technologies that would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. What kind of technological innovations do you foresee in your sector for 100 years from now? Are technologies that will surprise us on the way?
If we make claims for an average five-year future, it would not be wrong to list the technology fields that will be effective in the sector as cloud technology, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, analytics / big data, cyber security, modernization of old systems and “blockchain”. However, for 100 years from now, I think it is necessary to imagine a life where smart housing and smart cities are “ordinary” and many problems in the world have been solved with technology.
Women do not have much place among technology workers in Turkey. Why do you think? Are women more passive in technology than men? And what to do to change that?
The problem starts with our girls who cannot get an engineering education. The solution will certainly start with a general awareness movement, encouraging and encouraging our girls to study engineering fields. On the other hand; Since the technology sector is a sales-intensive sector in Turkey, we can say that, like the finance sector, female employment is relatively high. In fact, we often see female summit managers in the international companies of the sector. However, as in most local companies in our country, the number of female managers in domestic companies in our sector is very low and there are almost no female managers at the top. From this point; As Index Cluster, our approach to this issue has been an important example for our industry, fortunately. As Index Cluster, I am really pleased that the number of our female employees and the ratio of female managers are above world standards.
For me; The most important step towards increasing female employment in our sector, especially in local companies, will be taken by the company management’s appreciation of whether the job is done with a gender-neutral approach, regardless of the habits and experience.
TECHNOLOGY AND LONG LONG EDUCATION
FORTINET REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Can you briefly talk about Fortinet?
At Fortinet, we offer enterprises a visionary security approach that provides comprehensive, integrated and automated containment across the entire digital offensive base, from the Internet of Things to the end, from the network core to multiclouds.
What percentage of your life does technology take up? Do you sometimes do a tech detox?
Technology covers the majority of my life, it is an integral part of me as my work is related to technology. My priority is to learn new things every day, to improve myself and to contribute by reflecting my knowledge to my work and my group. I work with this enthusiasm. Still, I can sometimes create times when I close myself for two or three days and just read a book.
What advice can you give to young people who want to work in the field of technology?
Technology is developing very fast, a very solid foundation is required to adapt to these innovations. For new information that young people will put on this foundation; It is very important for them to research innovations and read resources. Once they have a solid foundation, it will be much easier for them to put new things on it and understand new technologies. Never stop learning innovations. Working in the technology sector brings with it a lifelong learning process. To be successful, it is very important to have up-to-date information.
Women do not have much place among technology workers in Turkey. Why do you think? Are women more passive in technology than men? And what to do to change that?
In fact, we can say that the position of women in the technology sector in Turkey is much more appropriate than in many other countries. I remember the conferences I attended abroad as a single woman about 20 years ago. However, when we look at it, we see that the male workforce is much more dominant. I certainly do not think that women are passive in technology, probably because they are more social, although they do not focus on technical bets as much as men, they play an important role in the delivery of technology to the masses with their strong and creative characters.
How is the stability of male/female employees in your company? Do you have any special efforts to increase the employment of female employees?
The technology sector is actually a business area where you use your mind power, where your creativity, hard work, emotional or analytical intelligence come to the fore. Women’s emotional intelligence or ability to manage multiple jobs at the same time is generally better. Regardless of male or female, success is directly proportional to the value and discipline you give to that job. Frankly, I love working with women and there are many successful women on our team, all of whom are there because they more than deserve their status.
HOW TO INCREASING WOMEN’S PRESENCE IN THE TECHNOLOGY SECTOR?
FOUNDER MANAGEMENT COUNCIL CHAIRMAN OF WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION IN TECHNOLOGY
You have been an agency in the world of technology for a long time. With 360+ Media Interactive Technologies, you work as an entrepreneur for brands on digital communication and corporate identity, you also take part in NGOs and you founded the Women in Technology Association. You also work with young people in the field of education. You are an active female entrepreneur. Could you briefly describe yourself?
I have worked for many years with the groups I have established in the leading institutions of the sector, I have won the first prizes, won awards and gained a lot of experience. As a result of these experiences, I founded my own agency, 360+ Media Interactive Technologies, in 2012, and then brought the London-based augmented reality application Blippar to Turkey, introducing augmented reality to Turkey. I established the Women in Technology Association in 2019 with the aim of working towards the problem of diversity in the sector, which I realized as a woman in the technology sector.
Could you tell us about the works and aims of the Women in Technology Association, of which you are the founder?
As an association, we carry out studies to train expert, expert and creative human resources in science and technology. We aim to bring women into employment and production in technology by increasing the number of female experts with low motivation, especially in the technology sector. In line with these aims, we established two academies in our education focus and in three years, we have provided education to our 1500 students, 80% of whom are female, from these academies. We have given reinforcements to include 81 percent of our graduates in employment. On the other hand, we launched our “Turkey Technology and Human Index” study, which we prepared within the scope of our “Research – Measurement” focus, last month. In our research, we proceeded by identifying Turkey’s perception of technology, to get to the root of the problem and to contribute to diversity. As a result of the research, we saw that the perception of technology in Turkey is 47 out of 100. In our third focus, “Sustainability”, we realized a project last year with the aim of “end hunger”. With our Agriculture Technological and Innovative Solutions competition, we motivated and empowered female entrepreneurs in agriculture. For the next year, we started to work with a focus on “water, sanitation and energy”.
What can you say about the position of women among technology workers in Turkey?
Unfortunately, there is a false perception of “Technology is a man’s job” about the industry. This was a perception that settled in people’s minds with the use of images such as father and son playing computer and mother and daughter in the kitchen in computer advertisements published in the 1980s. The primary goal should be to change this perception. It is necessary to increase diversity in the kitchen of technology and to spread this awareness of diversity so that young girls who graduate from the STEM field do not hesitate to enter the production area of the sector. Here, starting with the family, educational institutions, NGOs and the public have a lot of work to do. It is necessary to direct, support and motivate girls in the STEM field according to their abilities, just like boys. We, as the Women’s Association in Technology, work for exactly this purpose.
You are an expert in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. How will these technologies affect the future?
Artificial intelligence is a technology that, when properly developed under human control, will advance humanity in many ways. It is important not to be afraid of the future, but to see its positive aspects. Thanks to the new business lines that emerged with the developing technology, the professions of the future, robotic processes and the metal-collar workforce that entered our lives with artificial intelligence, changes will also occur in the structure of employment. Along with digital transformation; While internal business processes, business techniques and customer expectations are changing rapidly, qualified and expert human resources will be extremely important in terms of both the development and installation of these systems and their use, and the need for specialists in many fields will arise.
Finally, what would you like to add?
Now we are talking about existing in the virtual universe, which is a second world. It is in our hands to transform this new cosmos into a living space where there are no gender barriers, no inequalities in muscle strength, and where we can live with our abilities and mental strength. And I think that the key to being able to do this is training, continuous learning and applying what we have learned.
Article: Selin Milosyan
Taken from ELLE Turkey March 2022 issue.