Episode 171 - Buckle Up! We're Talking Future Trends

From AI and ChatGPT to geopolitics and global supply chains, a multitude of trends are converging and paving the way for a historic transformation that will reverberate across industries and sectors. Are you ready?

For a rousing conversation that is as wide-ranging as it is thought-provoking, we sat down with Katrin Zimmermann, CEO and Managing Director of TLGG USA, to discuss the trends impacting mobility, technology, globalization, and much more. Fasten your seatbelts for an honest discussion that is certain to push boundaries and open minds.

Meet Our Guest

CEO and Managing Director, TLGG USA

Katrin Zimmermann is CEO and Managing Director of TLGG USA LLC, a subsidiary of TLGG, an Omnicom Group company. Katrin advises some of the world’s leading mobility, healthcare and finance companies on digital and organizational transformation, globalization and business model innovation.

Before joining TLGG, Katrin co-founded the Lufthansa Innovation Hub and led its global business innovation efforts from Berlin to Seoul, served as chief of staff to both the CHRO and CFO at Lufthansa Group and managed growth and restructuring efforts at LSG Sky Chefs Germany.

With a proven record of pushing boundaries, Katrin shares her humanistic and humorous perspective on corporate innovation, digital transformation and female empowerment alongside diversity and intercultural competence.

Katrin holds a Master of Science in Innovative Hospitality Management from the Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona and a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from London Open University.


Grayson Brulte:

Hello, I'm your host, Grayson Brulte. Welcome to another episode of SAE Tomorrow Today, a show about emerging technology and trends and mobility with leaders and innovators who make it all happen. On today's episode, we're absolutely honored to be joined by Katrin Zimmermann, CEO and Managing Director, TLGG USA.

Today's episode, it was different, frankly. It was fun. We went all over the map. We discussed ai. Geopolitics a supply chain in Africa. What happens if consumers say, eh, we don't want electric vehicles anymore, and much, much more. It's a different episode, but it's a fun episode. We hope you enjoy. Katrin, welcome to podcast.

Katrin Zimmermann:

Thank you so much for having me. Very excited to be here today.

Grayson Brulte:

Excited to have you here because point blank trends make the world go round without trends. The world's boring. There's nothing exciting. There's nothing new happening. What are some of the biggest trends that you're currently watching that you're starting to see emerge?

Katrin Zimmermann:

It's the 26th of May, 2023, and I think the subject of the hour, everyone Is talking about is obviously AI and how AI is influencing, I think what we are doing in the day-to-day. It has been consumerized in the last couple of months in the context of ChatGPT as the first product, but it has been in, in industries relevant for years already.

So it's quite an interesting moment and everyone's aware of it. Many people have been working and talking about it for quite some time already, so I definitely would see that one if I'm looking more out into the future, if that's where you would also like me to go, then to me, the most interesting trends that we have are somewhat intersection of things that we see as problems in the world, and that is, and definitely the subject of circular thinking.

So how are the things that we are doing in business and society and politics as individuals and organizations impacting on a first, second, third order effect different ways? And bringing that together in a more holistic perspective is what I mean by that. I think that's interesting from business sense.

That means as we are moving forward in organizations, we will hear. Moving a little bit away from pure, looking at what's the customer experience to looking at what's the total experience design and looking at all stakeholders in that context, and then looping in what's the contextual per perspective of things and innovations and trends that we're seeing.

And that is, both environmentally relevant, but also socially relevant on the level of how we as society operate, how organizations operate in the world, and also how we as individuals operate. So I would see that one as probably one of the biggest ones that I find super interesting and timely and relevant because we live with so many problems today that need solving.

Grayson Brulte:

There's no doubt society's changing. We live in a consumer first society. Most of the economy is driven by consumer spending. You mentioned chat, G P T AI is, you can't listen to an earnings call or turn it on the news or, I'm the old school guy. Yes. I like to read a hard newspaper and you open it up and no matter where in that newspaper, there's gonna be at least one reference to ai.

It's pretty much. A given today, would we be having this conversation around a AI as much as we are if it wasn't for ChatGPT and the just the, let's call it the mass consumer fascination. An adoption of the technology? 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I don't think at this level of presence in the marketplace. No. It what I think what it is, an unprecedented moment in terms of consumerization of a technology.

How many users, and I only have April numbers, 173 million people signed up for ChatGPT by April 23. And just the spike of exponential adoption was outstanding. And I think that's what everyone talks about in technology adoption. From a consumerization perspective to me that's a little bit the demand side adoption of a new technology.

And then looking into what are the implications in all of the demand side interactions that organizations have with consumers. But on the supply side, I would say we've been having the discussion for quite a long time. I've been thinking lately, when was my first in the business context interaction with AI in some shape or form.

And we all have to recognize it's a very broad term and it's in a maturing, maturing sense. But I think it was in my first job when I worked in a food manufacturing company, LSG Sky Chefs, we already at the time had image recognition to sort different types of parts that needed to be then cleaned and re-put into the circle of airline catering.

So it's going back quite some time. Obviously it's much, been much less mature of what we see today and what we can do with it today, but it's been in. Discussion and operationalization for many years. 

Grayson Brulte:

It has, it's been I don't wanna use the word. Commercialized, but it really pretty much has been commercialized.

And there's use cases now that are tangible that consumers can put their hands on. You have the Photo Leap app, you have Adobe's Fire Fly app where you create the text image and those are working well. And you have the new in recent introduction of new Photoshop that's putting AI in.

Therefore, one of the best tools. Remove the background. The old days of having to cut it now, just the AI will do for you. So there's a lot of. Really good use cases there. And if you look at Adobe, Adobe's integrating it into their moat, Adobe, with the Creative Cloud, they have a very healthy moat where you, once you're in the moat, very similar to Apple with their services, it's very hard to get out of that ecosystem and go to another one.

Do you see AI being used as another competitive tool to keep you in that moat, to keep your recurring revenue? Going to that company and saying, Hey, I'm not gonna go to this new company because, oh, by the way, they got this cool AI tool that you don't have. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I definitely see that as one of the components.

What I find more interesting, I think the news is also fairly new that Adobe is opening up their utilization to everyone. You just need to create an Adobe id and everyone can now inter interact with the tool because what generative AI allows us. To do is to use more language in creation, right?
And that kind of eases the process of creation, which means democratization to, to something that is inherent to all of us because we all have the right side and the left side of the brain, and creativity is something that sits within us. I think what's interesting within that democratization is the discussion of the doomsday scenarios, which are definitely something we need to think about, but also this opportunistic perspective of, hey, everyone can become a creator.

I'm not saying an artist on purpose because I was listening to a talk yesterday of a fantastic Japanese American illustrator and she Yuko Shimizu was using the logic of what she finds interesting in the current discussion is that now everyone wants to become an artist and that is something that maybe has been challenging in the past.

I think it's more everyone is looking into leveraging what they can do with their own creativity in new fashions. But artistry is something very particular and really needs dedication time. And what she was saying is some of her younger students are moving back to more physical creation of things. So we had this whole digitization also of art.

And so the question becomes if the specialism of things becomes more physical again, or with a physical component, and the democratization of digital art just leads to all of us leveraging our full brain in a better way. 

Grayson Brulte:

It's interesting. So you have an artist, maybe perhaps they go into fine and decorative art, whereas the furniture that you have to really understand the furniture that or even go more modern with the Martin Newsome piece there.

But I like the line that you said, everyone becomes a creator, and I'm gonna use the term history is repeating itself. The last time the Writer's Guild went on strike. Long time Mark Burnett comes and introduces survivor, the world's captivated. Long story short, we get reality tv for better or for worse, people work.

We're hooked on it, and that was the end of MTV when they went into that, you could see a parallel to the same thing happening. Now with ai, everybody wants to become a creator. The longer they sit on strike, the faster technology's gonna advance. Somebody's gonna write an AI show. Reid Hoffman wrote a book with ai, there's gonna be a lot of changes coming.

Just can't put your head in the sand and say, up, we're gonna fight this technology. How do you get the individuals that are so afraid? This new technology to embrace it because if they don't, They're gonna get left behind because they're being stubborn or ignorant.

Katrin Zimmermann:

I agree with you.

I'm a big fan of, I think we are moving into a world that is changing on so many dimensions at the same time that it's difficult to look at the, red pill, blue pill scenario that we all know from the matrix only. I think it's more complicated but also more multifaceted at the time.

And I think when we remember, or that's maybe a good example to, to leverage in some shape or form. What what happened when Uber came into the market and kind of scaled fairly quickly when we remember the strikes of the taxi drivers in big cities across the world. What we should have learned at this moment as time is how do we move, society, organizations, and people into the next iteration?

I myself live in New York and I have both, interactions with yellow cab drivers. Without any technology interaction and with Uber drivers because there's pros and cons to either interaction, did that shift the market and did that shift the reality of the taxi driver union? Absolutely.

Are we hence consuming less mobility services? I don't think so. So I think there is a combination and a timeline that kind of creates ideally, a good outcome. Are we yet there from that example perspective? Absolutely not. There's quite some diff disadvantages on the level of being an Uber driver versus being a taxi driver.

I do see all of these negative components, but I think ideally time will tell and our responsible behavior with how do we deploy and how do we create regulation, how do we create responsible behavior about new technologies will actually. Ultimately de determine how it's coming into the marketplace.

And yes, it gets more challenging because the adoption rate is so much faster. So it's, it's not easy. I'm not saying it's easy, but it has more, it's more multifaceted. 

Grayson Brulte:

Behavior plays a big role in that. Let's go in the way back when she, let's look at New York taxis. This was during I don't remember which term of the Bloomberg administration, but this was during, when Mike Bloomberg was mayor and he mandated all taxis must take credit cards.

And sure enough, bad behavior by certain taxis, it doesn't work. And I was in one taxi. Okay, the mayor Bloomberg says, I don't have to pay you. All of a suddenly they get under the hood and they connect something. The credit card machine magically works. That was an example of bad behavior. That is when I get in the Uber, I pay on the app.

It's a frictionless experience. It's that they self-sabotage themselves and you're seeing the same thing on the writer's strike right now. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I would agree with you in, in, in that regard. I think that the challenge is in the context of the greater scheme of things. Bloomberg also had the ambition of making sure every tax taxi right, was taxable in the right way.

So more transparency is being created through that, but also more control is hands. Being possible. And so you understand the inherent human interest to optimize for the self, and I think that is part of the component. But I agree with you. It's difficult for us as an individual to comprehend on the greater scheme of things.

And that's just I think, some of the reasoning for the argumentation. I do strongly feel with the writer's Guild and the people going on strike because it's, who's immediately hit and how do we mitigate, and we are not there yet to having. Good solutions that anticipate all of these challenges.

Grayson Brulte:

I'm gonna stay on this union issue. When the Teamsters went on strike in, in New York City with the introduction of elevators. Oh no. That, that introduced the elevators in, into high floors of the Pierre Hotel. It was one of the first hotels to do it. And then because they went on strike.

So all the hotel operators in the large apartment condo complexes, they introduce this technology. So how do we get to, so there's the examples from history. You go on strike, new technology comes, you get to place and unfortunately you lose a job. How do we come to this middle ground, say, okay, here's all these examples from a hundred years of history of when you did one action, you lost.

Why don't you come to some sort of middle ground? And the same thing applies mobility and say, okay, how do we work together? Cuz you're seeing this. This fight now in California between the teamsters and the autonomous trucking industry and the teamsters doing this scorched doth making horrendously negative statements and the autonomous trucking industry saying what's, how do we work together?

How do we do, can we make 'em union jobs when they're in the depots when we do this? It won't even have a conversation, say it's gonna be history repeats itself again. But how do you get it to the point where you can have a good old-fashioned conversation and if you wanna use a DC term in the cloak room and hammer out your differences and have a kumbaya, 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I love your analogies.

I think there that's all really important to me. It comes down to how do we handle conflict as society and what's our skillset in handling conflict? And quite frankly, it feels we are. Not as good anymore as individuals, as society and learning about what are the pros and cons of conflict because, the stimulation to create a conflict is coming or hitting us from more perspective in more time.

And there's, something that's in my interest that might be not in your interest. And how do we create solutions that allow for these types of discussions? I think in the past, Everyone was looking for the Democratic process to help solve that in some shape or form. I think we live in a time where we need to rethink, not rethink is maybe a strong word, evolve that concept, not necessarily on a political only level, but also in the way of how do we embark on the human interaction when we are in the physical sense, because I think we've all been.

How do I say this? A little bit harsh or in our harshness has increased in terms of conflict in the way we interact with each other, through the anon anonymity of the internet. And so our way and ability to resolve conflict is impacted also by that reality. So we just need to focus on that, I think as individuals and as society on how do we resolve conflict.

Grayson Brulte:

That's a very good point. I have an individual I know, and he has this term, and I have to credit this gentleman for this term. He calls 'em keyboard warriors. They're all they're high in money behind the keyboard, and they're all with this big bad warrior. But then when you go out in person, it just are, we so transfixed by the screen that we think we're, it's, if you want to call, it's our badge, it's our shield.

And then when you get out from behind the screen, it's oh. Now what do I do? We're losing those interpersonal skills. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I think it's that, but it's also, I think we need to more variance creation of what's actually happening in our brain and what are all of the great chemicals being released to create stimulation?

That's having some positive impact on our feelings when we do these things. So becoming more aware of how technology can also manipulate us. To some degree. Many people when this was invented weren't aware, okay, this is what's happening, but that's the other component of holistically better understanding.

That's the implication of technology on myself. That's how I'm interacting with it. And that's what it's doing to me. So becoming more self-aware as we are emerging into digital technologies being so relevant in our lives. But we are, we are both, we are digital human beings and we are physical human beings.

And if what you're describing, the keyboard warriors are behaving like this. In the digital world and then are, potentially introvert, shy, whatever, in real life. That's also creating, I think, a bit of a complexity from an identity perspective. So the more we come to talk about these things and declare the reality of them because they're there, let's just talk about them and find solutions on how we wanna move about them as individuals, but also as society.

Grayson Brulte:

How much does that come down? To the parental household and to schools, because I'll leave the platforms out this, but you read reports of certain platforms, algorithms are manipulating children to do very horrific things that they're never coming back from. How much has it come down to the parental household, into the schools that say, these are the rules of the road for interacting with certain types of media for platforms.

Do this, don't do this, and hey, by the way, that's probably fake because it's only gonna accelerate. With ai, there's an individual I know that teaches and somebody did a deep fake voice call somebody, oh your student flunked outta school. Use that person's voice, and this parent went irate. But had no idea that it was being, this person was being impersonated and then all suddenly God knows where that parent went, and then the kids getting yelled at for flunking outta school.

But meanwhile, they didn't do anything. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

The optimist in me says we all need to take more responsibility which will then maybe cover 60 or 70% of the use cases in terms of preventing something like this. But the realist in me says it's impossible to keep up with the speed of technology.

And so I. I would say yes, everyone has responsibility. I wouldn't wanna take it away from the parents or the schools, and I think everyone's reacting. No one knows whether they're reacting the right way. But I think it's reaction, education, and knowledge that kind of helps to at least mitigate some of the realities, but, I'm a strong proponent of regulation and helping to create structure in this case because what we see as some of the doomsday scenarios being created, whether that is an AI recommending to 12 year old children in one of the bigger platforms to go on a date with a significantly older man in a different country, or that is other components that we see which might harm child interaction.
I think that is something that we just need to bring to the regulation quickly in order to prevent it moving forward. 

Grayson Brulte:

Is that like COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, that's been passed by Congress, signed by the president? Is it something, a regulation along those lines? Are you looking around on regulation around with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI recently testified in front of Congress.

Is that type, what type of regulation are you looking for there?

Katrin Zimmermann:

I think we are in the definition phase of what type of regulation we are. We are looking for, I think we, we need to discuss all types of regulation and then take conscious decisions. I'm aware that we have a speed problem, so I think we need to look at as much as possible and as little as needed or as constraining.

So the question for me in regulation is like, how do we create a general. Perspective on how do we wanna deploy these technologies and can we all agree that's how we do? Because in the end, everyone runs where the money is. That's the capitalistic perspective of where we are. And I think if we would all understand that has implications and that might also have very bad implications for the runners, then we might be getting to a point where, we might.

Take a more conscious and what some would call a slowing down approach. I'm very much more on the center of Humane technologies perspective of how to maybe look at regulation and slowing down and not being the typical faster, higher su superlative kind of approach. In this one, everyone wants to, I think Bill Gates just said that everyone wants to create the, super assistant to, to us.

I think if that's not the ultimate goal, but rather looking into how can we responsibly use it and get to that point where it serves technology, serves us as humanity, I think then we are in a better spot. 

Grayson Brulte:

If you look at the EU and you look at the United States, we slow down, we're gonna get run over by China both sides of the Atlantic agree on that.
So how do you, that to me is. That's the biggest threat there. If you, if we slow down AI research, they accelerate AI research, the rest of the world is at an extreme disadvantage because if you, clearly seeing with the Ukraine, Russia conflict, they're trying to play mediator today, the EU said, no, sorry, we're not interested in the EU playing mediator.

They're clearly trying to get to the, up to the world states, they want their currency to be the defacto reserve currency of the United States. So they have big goals. So how do we. How do we balance all that, what you're saying with the geopolitical risks that are out, that are frankly, that are far greater than what we've discussed.

Katrin Zimmermann:

No I agree with you that is a question I'm humbled that you asked me. I haven't maybe a perspective on, but it's such a huge question. It feels a little bit like we are in a time that is really fundamentally looking at, and obviously for the technology advancements very much. But how do we re rearrange and reshuffle how we wanna live on this planet as humanity?

And what are the implications and how do we derive, and I think. What it needs is a moment and perspective. Be beyond the leaders that are currently leading our world and really looking more at the holistic things of what. The everyday man, the everyday woman also can contribute in that sense.

I think that's where maybe, all forms of government currently are not enough to help us find a good solution. So we as global humans and people who have lived in a globalized world for quite some time, who understand. Stand or have a much better understanding of, European culture, Chinese culture, American culture need to jointly take responsibility in our day-to-day and look at that reality.

It's one planet that we have and it's a society where we wanna strive. We wanna accept the differences in culture and potentially propel them as much as anticipate our own and our own wellbeing. It's a, it ha it is a question you're asking me that has so many levels of complexity on it. That it, it needs quite, I think, quite a lot of public discussion and controversial discussion, potentially conflict.

I think what's dangerous, and that's really the component of speed is. When I look as a European on, okay, how has China in the last couple of years also inhabited Africa and plays a role within that space? To me, that is interesting. As Europeans, we haven't interacted in responsible ways, economically speaking or in impactful ways, might be the right way.

What does that mean for such a young continent that is still evolving, that is very fast adopting technology? What are the responsibilities that we have from a global perspective to make sure that all interests are being looked at in good ways? And I'm using that as an example because the global economy has.

Interest in how Africa is evolving as a continent. And so I think that's the example where Europe, as much as China and the US could come together and see, okay, can we create one example of how our interests are? Looked at from all perspectives. And then what does that mean for our nationalistic or more nationalistic perspectives in each direction?

Not to minimize any of the great contributions that every nation in Africa is bringing to the subject. Because I think what we often overlook is the transformation that Africa has seen and the leapfrogging in the multitude of technologies is quite fascinating to me. And we both in the US and Europe, are oftentimes on the back burner in terms of.

Speed and adoption and creating use cases with impact on day-to-day lives. 

Grayson Brulte:

Yeah. There's a lot of innovation in Africa, in Kenya and Pesa digital currency for all practical purposes with Safari comm, with Bob was in, was invented there in Sub-Saharan Africa, you have so many great things that were done there.

Could the EU and US come together and do something in Africa? Yes. But, and r p, but you interview individuals that in, in Africa in, but why take Chinese money? Chinese money comes with no strings attached. No questions. Are there strings attached? Oh God, yes. They don't ask questions. And I was reading this interesting paper and the cones around the cobalt.

There's more Chinese restaurants in this one area of the Congo than there are Conez restaurants. That's pretty eyeopening. So there you are. So you had the belt and President chief of China has the Belt and Road initiative. That was all to take control of the global supply chain for lithium global, all the critical materials for EVs.

We saw how that worked out. He did it all. Now the world finally woke up. Whoa we've got a problem there. And then Zambia all the money that he's putting into that corrupt government, they're propping up governments. This is going back to the British Empire essentially is what they're doing to control the whole supply chain.

But why is a light not being shined on this? Yes. So you have the inflation reduction act in America. You have, I don't remember what your act is called in the EU, but you're having movements to, let's call it domesticate lithium production, domesticate cathode production in Australia now is trying to say, they're trying to wake up, say, oh, we're not sending you 25% of our lithium.

So if all that happens, let's just say this all happens. The Red Dragon's gonna rebel. China's gonna do something. Do they go into Taiwan? And then now all suddenly, now we've gotta, now you just kick the hornet's nest cuz the global economy comes to screeching hole. Cause the semiconductors, there's so many levels of geopolitics and I don't feel that they're politicians are actually thinking through everything.

They're making ose bold statements when there's, this is a complex unraveling that is going to take time. You're seeing what Tim Cook at Apple's doing slowly unwinding going into Vietnam. Going into India. Very smart, very strategically balancing, not kicking, but very strategically rebalancing.

Politicians just seem to be kicking along the way, not understanding all the geopolitical mess. And then Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway. He is very well known for buying a stock and holding it forever. That's his favorite whole period. He goes in and buys Taiwan semiconductor after playing bridge in, in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Morris Chang the founder.

Four months later, he sells it cause he's worried about the geopolitical threat. That should be a wake up call. Nobody's reporting on it except the nicu. Great paper outta Japan. They're reporting on it, but here in America it's oh, maybe it's Craig Abel. Maybe it's Todd Combs. Maybe it's one of his, no, he clearly understands the geopolitical going on.

Katrin Zimmermann:

I see the challenge, and it goes a little bit back to what I was saying, the multidimensionality of problem. Like we only have that much attention span, right? Can we handle all of the challenges at the same time? And that is really a component of it. And how do we make sure that we can, because the geopolitical play particularly also through the learnings of the pandemic and with globalization.

From a supply chain perspective has challenged national output and growth trajectories or limitations in that sense is something that we are in the aftermath are still struggling with everyone is reacting for sure and with different speeds and direction, but also in the national context, right?
When we look. And I'm German looking at what the Americans are doing with the IRA. We see a lot of investment out of German companies moving to the US because it's way more attractive. The 30 year outlook on energy prices and energy management as a significant cost driver of German economy is quite relevant when you do these types of investments.

So we see already a shift to what's more centralization. Or more collaboration, let's use that word as a better component towards the us in that sense, I think the discussions are being held. I think everyone, and that's a little bit what I see from a multitude of perspectives. We are all overwhelmed by the amounts of balls that we are trying to juggle in the air, whether that's national politics, global politics, whether that's the needs for anticipatory activities to regions that are less fortunate, less discussion components of the global geopolitical environment, but that are still having relevant realities in their day-to-day lives.

Whether that's, natural catastrophes, or the reality of sinking islands. Around the world. And so I think that is the complexity, prioritization distribution of responsibility. And more responsibility taking by the different individual bodies I think is something, I don't have the answer for you.

I think it's important that we talk about it and that we get to have these discussions in more places and with more opinions, because the more we come to it, maybe the better the outcome. 

Grayson Brulte:

Yeah. We just, my whole argument is, Let's have a conversation. These are wonky in depth topics, but a lot of them are overlap.

Another thing I've been thinking along the lines of lithium and cobalt is what happens if consumers start to reject electric vehicles due to the high purchase costs when subsidies go away at some point? Here in the United States we're gonna have a change of administration probably. Okay, so you got a high purchase, cost subsidies go away, and then nobody's talking about the operating cost.

When you factor in insurance, the insurance is marked as the gross way of the vehicle. And to replace the cameras, there's actually more to operate and they have to pay a thousand, 1500 US to install it. So what if consumers say, we don't want the electric vehicle. It has no resale value. It's too expensive to operate.

We're getting crushed with inflation. We're done. We're gonna buy the ice vehicle and the heck with it. Where do the auto companies go? That's a real possibility. Does Toyota come? This is the hybrid. Make a running comeback and everybody cheers. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

Toyota. I think there's a multitude of scenarios, thinkable.

What I like, because I think the discussion in the US is prevalent because we're a little bit behind the rest of the world in terms of in the. Develop world in terms of adoption of electric vehicles. What I find interesting, looking at, for example, Europe and everyone has incentivized electric vehicle adoption in some shape or form.

When you look at Europe or look at China, the No one is having that discussion, but everyone had that discussion at the point where we are at right now. And so I think it's a natural to have the discussion. I think it's also worthwhile to have because there's always a multitude of technologies that might be relevant.

I agree with you that the situation we are in economically right now is potentially a contributor to it. What I find, and that is quite interesting, when I and I had quite some vehicle experiences and to all of us, we know that. Mobility is the combination of being able to move from A to B, but it's also representation of who we are.

And the American automotive industry has done a pretty good job in branding and having worked in that world for quite some time. I think it's interesting that we are also seeing a lot of consumer interest in what the automotive in itself does and represent for us. Besides just the pure mobility play.

So from a consumer perspective, it's obviously, yes, always a price discussion, but it's also the discussion of what does it represent when I have an electric vehicle and how do I, show myself to the world. I do see that we have, different maturity levels across the country, but particularly on the coastal components, I think we, we see a very different adoption behavior than in the middle of the country.

However, we are also seeing significant increase in availability of charging stations, et cetera, et cetera. So infrastructure is rising to the challenge already. So that is always a good kind of component to get it across the line. I see your scenario that you are, that you're drawing, and I think it's something to be discussed from the rest of the world.

We've learned everyone's. Been there and move beyond that point. So I'm looking at it more in this perspective and then when you look at the Shanghai Auto shows in the last years, how the Chinese are really innovating around the battery. In itself and also how automotives are being sold.

How they play a role in community, how we might move to more shared ownership structures as well. Also here in the US I think people will understand that besides it being a representation of who I am in this social hierarchy perspective and what I like as a human being, that is a component that might create.

Positivity. So me being an electric vehicle driver.

Grayson Brulte:

Yeah, you're gonna have, you're probably gonna end up with divided markets, let's not forget China. Yes. So they trying electricity. If they had to clean their air up. They burn more coal than anybody and they still do burn a lot of coal.

Does this come down to, obviously you're gonna have divided markets. EU is not, I don't see the EU coming back to US because the way that it, it's structured from governance standpoint. The US still could go back to ice, but at the end of the day, does this come down to brand? What does that brand mean to me?

Why do I want to be affiliated with that brand?

Katrin Zimmermann:

I would say in some degree, yes, but I would say more so also in what's my level of interaction and value that I, that I have in this third place that I spend so much time in. So it's a combination of brand, but also of what's the service and interaction that I have with this.

Tool that is not only being electrified, but it's also connected and how, and what use cases are being created. And that's, that was a little bit where I was going with the Chinese commentary. I think what the Chinese do very well when it comes to innovation around the four four wheel mobility.

Is to go beyond the pure purpose play from A to B, but using the interior of the car as a room for innovation and experiences being created that go way beyond what we might have thought possible 10, 20 years before.

And so I think that's a component besides brand that is coming into play that we see, we have customized vehicle designs for gamers these days, right?

That is the level of specificity that we are seeing. When it comes to, to automotive innovation. 

Grayson Brulte:

And vehicle experience are good to find the future of mobility, especially when we get to s a e level four autonomy. You're right. Perhaps you have the gaming mobile that will take you to dinner, or you have the luxury mobile or you have the shopping, mobile, whatever, insert your favorite type of mobile or Yeah. Or your environmental, if you have the Patagonia mobile, what would, whatever it might be. I think that's really where the brands are gonna come in. They're gonna define these experiences and what you're gonna do inside the vehicle and that's where the revenue's gonna be made from.

I've been doing a lot of research and reading a lot of earnings calls and transcripts on them is AI, the new ESG, and I'll give you an example. Let's go back two quarters. Larry Fink, the biggest champion on, on Wall Street for ESG 47 times on the previous earnings call. This time in the last earnings call.

He didn't mention it once. But what it is, ai and then William Morrison devour the big talent agency. They opened the call with ai. Ai, they're a talent agency. Is that narrative changing from ESG to AI?

Katrin Zimmermann:

I would love the narrative to be AI and ESG because I think it, it can be a good cross pollination field. Combining the two to solve some of our challenges in both fields and bringing that together because it's relevant from both perspectives. I think AI is the subject of the hour because it's so all anding and everyone understands the longitude and magnitude of the subject.

I think prospectively we will see that. Things will fall more into, joint places, discussion points and conjunction. So I would be a strong advocate of doing the one thing without forgetting the other and bringing that into a good balance. But we live in a time of maximizing the impact on our short attention spans of listeners.

And AI is some something that everyone listens to these days. You find it in headlines. You find it in everything. And AI is already there in so many cases that everyone can use it. And also I would, Consider many people are still finding out what it all encompasses and what it means.

It's a simple, it's a simple term we all can use. If you would, everyone knows what AI stands for. From artificial intelligence perspective, I think the comprehensive concept of E S G is more question. So that's why everyone's using the term AI because it's just in all of our minds.

Grayson Brulte:

They're all used the term. I believe we're in a bubble now and I wanna highlight some data why I think we're in a bubble. Nvidia did the earnings after the bell on May 24th. Their stock jumped 25%. Okay. It's the company raises to join the $1 trillion Club. As we talked about, this is the midst of a potential economic downturn.

Fed going five and a quarter. Five and a half. They're gonna have to raise interest rates again, a debt ceiling slow down in dc Who knows where that's going cuz you got the 72 hour clause there in Congress and McCarthy had agreed to and to top it off and this, you can't, you gotta file this, you can't make this up.

Nvidia has 184 pe I repeat 184. For pe while the NASDAQ 100 pe that's only a 30, the s and p 500 which an NVIDIA's a member trades at a 19, you're trading at 184 PE while the NASDAQ 100 PE is 30. Okay. Facebook's in the NASDAQ 100 pe they're up over a hundred percent this year. What's gonna happen when this bubble bursts?

Cuz this is just a pure momentum bubble. I would say, okay, if you're out trading at a. I'll even give you a 40 PE or 54 pe. We're not involved, but 184 pe This is nosebleed bubble level. 

Katrin Zimmermann:

I'm not, the person to give any context for, or any advice on the subject.

What I personally feel is what everyone's realizing mostly through the push of generative AI is what are the providers, the info, structure providers, potential values, and obviously Nvidia is the one that comes to mind because the company has done a fantastic job in marketing itself and playing a key role in some of the biggest industries that are being hit.

Being hit or being transformed. That we are currently in being automotive, being healthcare, being the services industry and a multitude of sectors. So everyone's been realizing, okay, this is some of the infrastructure players that we are needing in terms of a, reducing the cost of all of this technology that we are using, but also making it available at mass scale.
I think that is something that you have to. Price in then a surprising or an unexpected while performing result is all of that drives that. What is the aftermath of that? It's A T B D because it's a multitude of components that come together. What we will have to see, I, when you look at the overarching development of the Nvidia stock over, I think the last couple of years, it's, where we are today.

We've been close to it before. To me it's. I'm looking at it in the analogy a little bit of what happened to digital commerce. During the pandemic we saw a significant spike because everyone realized the magnitude of what was happening and why. It was also easy to suddenly have everything delivered and it was, all of the good things about that.

But now when we are looking at some of the research, the trend curve is going back. So we see the spike and now it's going back to the previous trend curve. And I imagine that is, Probably the reality to some degree that we will also see here. It's just this consumerized moment that everyone realizes, wow, this is going to be here.

This is a step level change, and I wanna be part of that. 

Grayson Brulte:

I agree with you, 184 Ps not sustainable, but yet you have multiple analysts that are coming out and continuously upgrading Nvidia. But you want to, the pandemic was a, that's a really good example. Cause NVIDIA's historical PEs around a anywhere in the range from a 34 to a 54 historically on the high side.

So if you're t trading in that range. I get it. But the pandemic, let's not forget about Peloton. Talk about boom and bust. Holy cannolis, that it, woo, it's like a ski slope. It went up it went down and you couldn't get 'em. And we saw what happened in PE and then Zoom. Oh boy. And then that came back down to reality.

So that's a really good. Point there when the bubble bursts because it will burst, will there be any impact on the development of a ai? Or will this kind of say, oh, that's just a market reaction. The development will keep going. Yeah. 

Katrin Zimmermann: 

Right now we are living in the time where everyone just puts AI on everything because that works, right?

That's. I agree with you on that one. I think I wanna make a point in the difference when you look at a Peloton or a Zoom versus an Nvidia, and Nvidia is an infrastructure investment versus a Peloton is a consumer product, right? And so the dependencies on two different things is quite high.

I think we are seeing, and we live this every day. We are talking in a digital format to each other right now. Live that we live is a combination of digital and physical things. And that will not go away. So the infrastructure providers will have some more in, in my opinion, some more long-term or some more longevity on, on their performance.

A Peloton was a victim of that quick scale. And then the reality is that consumers realize, oh, going to the gym is actually more fun because I sometimes also get to interact with other human being beings. And I have been deprived for a very long time, so let me do that too. And I think that is part of the component that you cannot just say, okay, just because we spiked right now, we have a different trajectory.

And I think ideally that would be a learning from the pandemic for all of us in the AI scenarios. That from a demand side play or product play, we see a lot of like boom and upcomings in, in the field. But looking at it more holistically that maybe the spike that I agree with you on is short-lived and prospectively gets into a more, structured curve growth until maybe the next surprising technological moment in the field comes about where we'll see another, another moment like this.

Grayson Brulte:

Yeah, it was. It was, I was at Arizona Iced Tea became a Arizona blockchain company and that stock popped 119% on that. People are sitting here listening this, oh, this is great. I gotta get in there. My advice to is study Graham Dodd. It's brilliant financial writing that will really put a lot of this into perspective of why you shouldn't chase this.

We talked a lot about ai. What is the next big trend that you're expecting to emerge? Is there some, is it gonna be an AI infrastructure breakthrough? Was there a big trend? Obviously home automation came and that became a really big trend, but was there a big trend as it relates to AI that you're seeing just to completely take over in the next decade?

Katrin Zimmermann:

I would move maybe a level higher. I think where we are generally going with some of the hype cycles we've been seeing in technology that a lot of the things that, many people didn't have access to are being democratized to some degree. And then we have the, opposite reality that democratization makes a few people rich. And the balance of or finding a new balance within the opportunity of what democratization and the long tail of businesses and me being a multitude of potential entrepreneurs allows me to do with easier access to technology, easier access to a multitude of resources.

That is, I think, something that. Will shake individuals, organizations up in some shape or form and need to be anticipated in how we work, what that creates, et cetera, et cetera. So that'll be, that is a trend that I'm definitely seeing. And then the other one to go back to the early perspective is really more circularity.

That is maybe a component of hope. Me being European and that being a significant subject in the media there right now, but seeing it being picked up in the US more because I believe that. Unless we all deploy more holistic thinking being such a bigger economy than where I'm from, for example.

Otherwise it's a drop on a hot stone. We all need to come together and understand that it's one world that we live in. And the beauty of that, in particular, the beauty of American nature, I was. Speaking with someone who just been to Yellowstone and it's been blooming there like it's never been before.

So let's make sure that we, these kind of great scenarios, don't become a memory of the past, but actually, something that we create for the future. 

Grayson Brulte: 

We have to protect him. Teddy's---Theodore Roosevelt---our president, did a really great job of ushering the national parks. You have Yellowstone, which I've been many times, which is absolutely suddenly gorgeous.

Or for our friends in California, you've got the beautiful national parks out there. This has been a really. Fun conversation. It's been really great. It's been all over the map, which has been frankly awesome. And as we look to wrap up this insightful conversation, what would you like our listeners to take away with them today?

Katrin Zimmermann:

I really do believe, like the thing that we talked about in conflict, get yourself immersed in all of the things, but don't expect yourself to know everything. Hence, be open to other people's opinion, perspectives and minds, because the challenges that we all face on an individual and a societal level.

So big that only through good communication and the willingness to encounter conflict and find good solutions we will be able to come out of.

Grayson Brulte:

I like that. I'm gonna summarize that. Be open to new ideas. Be willing to have a conversation that takes you outta your comfort zone. Read something you might not agree with, cuz you're, either way, you're gonna learn something and get a new perspective from a different individual.
Today is tomorrow. Tomorrow's today. The future is AI. Katrin, thank you so much for coming on SAE Tomorrow Today.

Katrin Zimmermann:

Thank you so much for having me.

Grayson Brulte:

Thank you for listening to SAE Tomorrow Today. If you've enjoyed this episode and would like to hear more, please kindly rate review and let us know what topics you like for us to explore next. 

Be sure to join us next week as we speak with Nexar. We'll share the company's computer vision solution to the dilemma of realtime mapping. 
SAE International makes no representations as to the accuracy of the information presented in this podcast. The information and opinions are for general information only.

SAE International does not endorse, approve, recommend, or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this podcast.


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