The Geek Picnic festival of science, art and technology attracted 70,000 visitors, the largest crowd since its inception. On the first day, the festival drew 40,000 visitors and on the second day, another 30,000. This was the first time that admission to the festival was free thanks to support from the Moscow Government.
The festival’s business programme included several themed areas: outer space, biotech, artificial intelligence and ethics in engineering, science art, and others. Visitors attended lectures by well-known academics, futurologists and science writers. For example, the speakers included historian Michael Shermer, the founder of The Sceptics Society, and The New York Times columnist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, the author of the bestseller Everybody Lies.
The Moscow Government presented programmes to develop science, innovation and human resources at its festival sites, such as Children’s Industrial Park Alley, Startup Alley and a site run by the services centre for businesses.
“Over the previous years, the festival has earned a reputation as a useful knowledge and discovery platform,” said Natalya Sergunina, Deputy Mayor for Economic Policy, Property and Land Relations. “The Moscow Government is enthusiastic about supporting scientific work and the creation of new technologies that will define the future. More city residents become interested in innovations and modern trends in science, which can be seen from the unprecedented number of Geek Picnic attendees. Muscovites also were offered a chance to present their projects or devices they invented,” she said.
Speaking at the Human Evolution site, Head of the Department for Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship Alexei Fursin focused on innovation, the development of high-tech production, and government programmes to provide financial support to young scientists.
The public could visit the children’s industrial parks to see exhibitions, test the world’s first ever wireless portable cinema at the startup area, and drive an autonomous car.