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Future takes centre stage at ITU Telecom World 2014

December 8, 2014  

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The ITU Telecom World 2014 Leadership Summit on the Future in Doha, Qatar launched debates today into the future of the ICT industry and society as a whole.

Futurists and international experts from a range of disciplines came together to explore potential scenarios of the future with leaders of public and private sectors from across the global ICT sector, and to gain an understanding of how policies, strategies, business models and regulatory approaches may need to adapt.

Opening the Summit, moderator and futurist Gerd Leonhard, CEO, the Futures Agency,  said “from big data to artificial intelligence and the singularity to robotics and the overall digital transformation of society, culture and communications, we need to be aware of what challenges are ahead and what opportunities we need to investigate right now. We need to determine the balance between humanity and technology – and go beyond fear to find our way forward.”

Highlights included:


* International expert in intelligent robotics Rolf Pfeifer introducing Roboy, a new breed of robot designed to provoke an emotional reaction, encourage human-robot interaction and re-evaluate often negative perceptions of robots.

* Rita McGrath, professor, Columbia Business School, speaking on the need for telecom companies to adopt a new strategic approach in the new era of cross-sector partnerships, moving competition from individual industries to arenas of activity.

* Yuri van Geest, managing director of the Singularity University Summit Europe, exploring the singularity, the concept of machines becoming more powerful than humans and the need for exponential organizations in exponential times.

* Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future Research, speaking on the transformative drivers of change over the next decade and how governments can prepare for a hyper-connected future, emphasizing the importance of education in the digital economy.

* Simon Torrance, CEO, Metaflight, called for creative co-innovation and a new approach to partnerships in an era defined by convergence with broadcasting and the blurring of boundaries with vertical sectors.

“The opportunities are immense: trillion dollar new markets, social and economic development, sustainable economies, green cities, life-enhancing apps and services, convenience, ease, access to knowledge and new ways of doing things we cannot currently conceive of,” said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I. Touré.

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