Behind every big change lies a big wonder why. This change, which has a huge impact on economics, society and the way we live, is propelled by anonymous forces and a big pool of solution designers ready to face any wicked problem popping up in days of diffusion.

With this announcement which can be found on the website of the Dutch Digital Day we travel to Undercurrent in Amsterdam North (NRD for intimates). This fourth edition of Dutch Digital Day is organized by the Dutch Digital Agencies (DDA), which Van Ons recently joined. It is an event where the entire industry receives a super injection of inspiration and where the protagonists of change and the inventors of the most bizarre solutions for the most bizarre problems are offered a large stage. And to say we received that super injection of inspiration is an understatement.

The day will be discussed in a relaxed manner by Jim Stolze, known from the startup scene and driving force behind TedxAmsterdam, for example. We kick off the speaker competition with Nell Watson, futurist and tech philosopher from Singularity University. Her message: after technical developments that made us stronger (excavators, cranes) and technical developments that increased our thinking capacity (IT), the following technological developments address our hearts. “Enhancing the soul” will be the result of the successful use of AI, crypto and machine ethics.

After this in-depth talk we will switch to more concrete matter. Leon Spikker van Studio Rap shows how he and his team use the smart use of robots to design buildings that are as beautiful as they are efficient. The results are, in a word, breathtaking. Vera de Pont combines technology and data with its own creativity to innovate the fashion industry. Always a shoe that has the perfect (but really perfect) shape.

Thijs van Vuure is a biologist and bird lover and shows how a human can talk like a bird. Birds live 10 times faster than humans and by producing the same sounds as a bird with our own voice and speeding up this recording 10 times, a human sounds just like a bird. We put it to the test by imitating the sounds of a blue tit and wren with the entire audience, which of course results in a hilarious scene. After the break the recording was sped up 10 times. The result is bizarre: people then sound just like birds! You should have been there.

After the break we get to see a range of cool things. Roger Wieland gives us an insight into how his upcoming stop-motion mini-film came to be. The techniques and designs he uses are a feast for the eyes. Arno Wielders from Mars One explains how we can live on Mars. The only disadvantage: you can go there, but not back. Aernoud Bourdrez – lawyer and author of Think like a lawyer, don't act like one – tells a humorous and interesting story at the intersection of art, conflicts, the biting Louis Suarez and kissing boxers.

Towards the end of the afternoon, most of the high-profile speakers take to the stage. Antonio Fernandez is the former leader of the New York chapter of the Latin Kings. He tells the story about his years in prison and how he gets the gang's focus towards freedom and community building with few resources. He powerfully tells his story with enormous enthusiasm. And once a rascal, always a rascal, it turns out when he bypasses the line at the bar during the break and whispers to us: “Let's see if I can steal a beer!”.

The penultimate speaker is Jennifer Kinon with a very nice story about branding and the transformations that brands undergo over the years. She also gives an inside look at Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, in which she was involved.

We close with Neil Harbisson. He has an antenna implemented in his head that allows him to hear colors. Neil was born with an eye defect that prevents him from seeing colors. By pointing the antenna on his head at colors, he hears the color the antenna is pointing at. Our jaws dropped during his story (we really thought it was a joke for the first five minutes). Five people in the world on all five continents have “access” to Neil's antenna. These five people can then transmit colors that they see at random times, for example a sunset in Australia. This way, Neil can “look” on five continents at the same time. He has made paintings of songs. By converting the tones of the songs into colors, he can hear the songs when he passes them with his antenna. His statement: with technology we can add new senses to our bodies. He calls nonsense that this would be unethical. We have been evolving as humans ever since we were on earth as bacteria. Adding technology to our bodies is just the next step.

Still reeling from Neil and the swell of the location itself (Undercurrent is actually a raft), we head to the well-organized drinks. A great day with many varied stories that touch sincerely. Next year again!