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MUZSE: Experience Lab recap

There are two ways to eat: the right way and the wrong way, and last night’s MUZSE Experience Lab Dinner was nothing but right. With views of the Hudson River serving as a backdrop, the tables intimately lit by candles, and the seats filled with what Emilie Baltz, the moderator for the evening, called a group of individuals “hand selected because of how they can change culture,” MUZSE’s ongoing conversation kept going strongly and seamlessly. Propelled with knowledgable insights on data by our technology evangelist’s from Intel, Sandra Lopez, Tim Pettitt, Aditya Nag, Ronen Soffer, Moe Khosravy and Sudha Gogineni we were set for an evening of lively conversation on the future of experiences fueled by data.

The evening of course was not only a delight to the senses but to the mind as well. Creative Director of Milk, Mazdack Rassi, and Adam Joseph, co-founder of LEGS Media and MUZSE welcomed the attendees, inspiring with a little bit of the past of Milk and the future of MUZSE, asking everyone to think “how technology can inspire and enable what we do as humans.” The speech was the perfect gateway to introduce the speaker of the night, Rod Russell, Vice President of Technology Utilities and Services for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, who talked about the launch of the latest in Disney tech: the MyMagic+ MagicBand.

The MagicBand is an all-encompassing wristband which guests can personalize and activate prior to their trip to Walt Disney World that facilitates everything from accessing rides, replacing resort room keys, and even shopping. The MagicBand came from a necessity conjoined by the developers at Disney and the 100 million guests Walt Disney World hosts per year to make experiences more seamless, namely, as Russell pointed out, to “take the lines and hassles out of the experience and make it more magical.” However a consideration with the creation of this band was the same consideration that all evolution of technology faces: how do we facilitate user experiences with their personal data without being scary, imposing, and dangerous? Russell naturally was discreet about the magic behind the formula, but showed that there are definitely ways to cater to our needs without losing our security, which is a concern we all live with in a heavily technologically ruled world and a concern the guests were asked to ponder throughout the evening.

Russell prefaced the introduction of the MagicBand with a fact that effected an audible shock from the audience: Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan. That means not only that Walt Disney World could well be a city, but it means that cities – any city, whether New York or any other – can have their needs met. If there’s a will there’s a way.

Food was also served with data in mind. Chef Fredrik Berselius, owner of renowned Williamsburg restaurant Aska, was in charge of creating a delectable menu that would represent the standpoint of the group on four categories around data: privacy, ownership, value, and usage. “We based the dinner on four questions and individualized them in four courses, each one representing the part of the questionnaire they filled out at the beginning of the meal,” Berselius told Milk Made. “We wanted to somehow showcase in the presentation how these questions were answered, and it came down to statistics; the number of ingredients we put on one plate and which ingredients represented the thoughts of the guests on what box they checked from the multiple choice questions.”

As a Chef, Berselius is not exempt from technology, saying, “In the restaurant we want to try and give our guests the best possible experience and most people freely share a lot of information about themselves which can help us in the end and make their restaurant visit a more pleasant one.”

It is in this way and the way that Russell showed us that technology and more specifically data can thrive and facilitate the needs of humans. It’s no coincidence that both of these mediums allow the experience of sensory pleasure, and if it can enable us to have more fun and better food we’re sure it will be impossible to find anybody who opposes.

Photography by Andrew Boyle.

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