Program

  • Day 1

    November 29, 2018

  • We are more interconnected than any generation before us, but yet in many ways more isolated. We can communicate more readily through technology with the whole world available on our smartphones. How are technological trends affecting our shared sense of humanity? What are technology’s benefits to humanity, and what path is technological change setting us on for the future?

  • How humans experience technology depends largely on their personal background, beliefs, values, experience and location. Drawing from the introduction of humanity’s new forms of encounter with technology, we seek to understand the experience from different points of view - both positive and negative, micro and macro.

  • From automatic looms to personal computers, technological change has been changing the way we work and creating and destroying jobs for hundreds of years. Many argue that we’ve entered a new phase of accelerated transformation with digital technology, automation and machine learning. It has been projected that in economies across the world, 55-85% of jobs will be automated in economies around the world in the next two decades. This acceleration of disruptive technologies is leading some to believe in a future ‘without work’. While this will bring benefits, it will also bring economic losses. Will these be spread evenly or will the benefits be held by a few and the negative impacts only hit certain groups and regions?

  • Robot and human demonstrate how they work together to build something or improve on an existing manufacturing process.

  • As robots take on more and more human tasks this will likely change the skills that the human of the future will need. Robots are already a feature in many production lines and they can even mine data and do basic writing tasks. As machines become more sophisticated, will humans need to continuously upskill to keep ahead of them? Could savings gained from the increased automation of production be used to provide for upskilling and retraining?

  • Global health is a universal desire, pursued against a variety of circumstances, in terms of development, climate, culture and more. No single organisation or institution has all of the solutions; governments, companies, academia and others must come together to identify and prioritise the challenges of global health. There’s precedent for that collaboration in the eradication of smallpox, for example, or the achievements in the struggle against HIV. What health challenge victories will we achieve through collaboration in the digital age?

  • New technology and more data mean better diagnoses, more personal control and improved health outcomes, addressing both infectious and non-communicable diseases. Some countries are making medical records available with a simple smartphone swipe and bolstering personalised medicine. Machine learning systems that can use data in unexpected ways are equal to doctors in accuracy of diagnoses. New apps and devices are providing greater choice in treatment options -- identifying heart arrhythmia through watch bands, ‘sweat samples’ replacing blood samples, even video games to treat cognitive disorders.

  • Technology is transforming how we trust. Trust in traditional institutions such as banks, churches and the media is trending downward, but trust in newer organisations and players in the shared economy is rising and course create new opportunities.

  • Having looked at the notion, place and importance in trust in a digital world, how is the playing out in personal and institutional experiences? Technology breeds familiarity and enables trust among strangers. Why do we trust an Uber driver with our safety but not a banker with our money?

  • Our digital lives play out in an increasingly public sphere: bought, sold and analysed - sometimes with our knowledge and sometimes without. What is the current state of privacy, and is it creating new forms of trust? How to we create new ways to share the value associated with gathering new data? Must societies establish new notions of privacy for the digital age, or does unease over how our data is treated call for a renewed focus on consent and ownership of personal data?

  • Few of us understand just how much personal data we share, as well as how much trust we put into those who use it every day. In this session, a hacker will meet a volunteer and demonstrate a) just how easy it is to glean personal data from public and semi-public sources or b) go through vulnerabilities and how to keep data safe.

  • Large amounts of our data will be crucial to create new paths for humanity and to realise many of the brightest promises of our digital future. At the same time, those paths can present new tensions. Just like oil, data needs refining before its true value can be unlocked but unlike oil it is not finite and can be reused. Is data like water, a public service that needs to be protected but is freely available? Or is it like oil - in that its use and misuse may have powerful consequences that we don’t yet understand? Who are the global leaders who are pursuing solutions to put data on the right path?

  • Many projections argue that widespread automation will lead to large scale unemployment, and new social media channels will serve to undermine civil exchange rather than enhance it. The rise of data analytics as a tool for political coercion, from consulting agencies to foreign interests, presents a serious challenge to the integrity of democratic institutions Some frame the emergence of populist movements as a direct effect of a disruptive digital age, of which we have only see the beginning.

  • This session will introduce the work of innovative NGOs are increasing the amount of trust that people have in critical institutions and working more closely with partners in the private sector to scale up their impact and improve their efficiency.

  • Day 2

    November 30, 2018

  • From climate change to conflict, the world is facing many challenges and they are impacting people around the world. There are an unprecedented 65 million people displaced due to conflict and persecution, climate change is impacting already vulnerable communities and changing the face of global cities. There are 815 million hungry around the world. Technology has given us the means to develop a new and inclusive future but also to harm our environment and new forms of devastating warfare. But what about the good that technology can do?

  • From blockchain to open-source platforms, technology is being used to help refugees in fragile environments and find solutions that set us on a path to sustainable economic growth. Indeed, technology can work in the service of humanity, improving connectivity, and helping provide for the energy and resource needs of economic growth in a sustainable way. It can also be a source of exclusion and environmental depredation if it is not deployed properly. An opinion on the digital technology revolution depends largely on where a person is, their experience and background.

  • Technological advances have allowed for large-scale crop production and better yields, biodiversity has decreased to the point that only about 30 crops provide 95% of human food energy needs. This leaves food crops vulnerable to disease and drought. Moreover the strains we now rely on the most in crops like rice and wheat are the ones easiest to process and not necessarily the most nutritious. Our fresh food crops travel long distances to reach us and lose nutrients along the journey. Are we sacrificing quality for quantity, and will that be sustainable in the future?

  • A digital revolution is underway and technological advances are helping to innovate how food is grown and supplied. But access to food has deteriorated. Food prices have risen and many poor households lack fiscal potential to protect themselves. Food prices are often impacted by shortages, which will rise with climate-induced extreme weather events, currency devaluation and insecurity on trading and transport routes. Technology can play a role in improving access to food. The whole food chain needs to be looked at examining every step of the way from seed to fork.

  • Cities are the future. More than half of the world’s population already live in cities and another 2.5 billion people are projected to move to urban areas by 2050. Many of the world’s cities have grown by accident in an ad hoc fashion as populations have grown. But now many of the world’s most established cities are struggling with aging infrastructure that cost billions to maintain. Newer cities are being developed using the most up-to-date technology and infrastructure. From the use of high-tech materials to sensor networks, technology will shape the smart cities of the future.

  • Cities are guzzlers of energy. To keep running 24-hours a day, and to keep people and goods moving in and out of them, they require huge amounts of energy. As a result they are the source of over 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. This has huge implications for the health those who living in cities and the planet in general, as cities are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and air pollution is a major health threat in urban areas. But this mobility makes cities centres of innovation too, incubators for solutions. They are also agents of change and globally cities are stepping up and committing to action when national administrations fall short.

  • How can diverse actors work together, to develop and ensure safe and fair access to new means of energy production. Who faces the greatest challenges in this, and how can others support them to protect our planet and promote economies?

  • There is an urgency about reducing global carbon emissions to address man-made climate change. International institutions, states, cities and companies worldwide are hard at work setting and committing to ambitious environmental targets across sectors. But energy demand continues to grow globally. What are the technologies that are moving us towards greater innovation in renewable energy or in extracting harder to reach resources?

  • A new digital age will require vast amounts of energy. Right now, energy is expensive, but it won’t always be the case. Enterprising individuals are looking to accelerate a renewable energy revolution, and more importantly, ensure that the promise of free and open energy is available to all.

  • Impact investing -- seeking generate a positive social impact alongside positive financial returns -- has been growing exponentially over the past two decades. New investment vehicles, like green bonds, are attracting investors across a number of different impact sareas, from water treatment to providing vital services to people in conflict zones. Companies of all sizes are exploring new digital solutions have tried to help mission-driven organisations overcome a fundamental challenge: getting matched up with the right investor to provide scope and scale to their positive social impact.

  • As the second day of sessions come to a close, this session is an opportunity summarise the decisions that have been taken according to the key objectives of each of the individual sessions over the previous two days.

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