Looking to the Future: Opportunities and Challenges of A Networked Society
Gerd Leonhard’s Keynote presentation as a futurist took a look at where we are at as far as the ‘future’ is concerned. The future is ‘now’. We are already in the future, all around us there are processes and technologies that have already pushed the status quo. Mobile use is set to surpass desktop use this year. We are using gestures to speak to our mobile devices. Because we are human beings and we crave immersive experiences, this has become a driving factor in technology. As access to Information, Knowledge and Artificial Intelligence increases, the Internet of Things, Mobile and the use of Data will transcend even our material world. This is where convergence comes into play. This is the use of technology to control things around us, and the combination of different technologies and processes in innovative ways. Here is a quote that stuck with a lot of the delegates:
“Convergent outcomes create constant opportunities”.
For example: Cloud computing + camera phones + mobile devices + social media + online
payments + ‘trusting strangers’ + economic incentives + cheap airline tickets
Broadband Development in the Caribbean
Faster networks will be needed to facilitate the future. However, it is noteworthy that Gerd pointed out that ‘culture’ drives change, such that without shifts in our thinking, we cannot drive change in our processes and planning.
The Digital Economy: A critical Success Factor for Sustainable Growth
This session dealt with the support system for innovation and digital transformation, looking at the banking and commerce industries. Investment in commercializing innovation involves risk, but we must bring our wallets and pocketbooks to the discussion. As a society, we have to be willing to fund local startups at both a grassroots and a bureaucratic level.
Securing the Digital Environment
Trinidad & Tobago Police Service, Bankers Association of Trinidad & Tobago, CipherQuest (local Information Security & Risk Assessment firm) presented their thoughts on various topics: e-Legislative Agenda; Securing the Digital Environment; Anti-fraud and Cyber-Security.
The most dynamic presentation in this session was given by Inspector Sylvester of the T&T Police Service. He showed up the idiosyncrasy of our evasion of securing our online privacy. Our hypocrisy as a nation in this area opens us to risks that invade our homes and businesses, as we sleep on the invasive progress that hackers and cyber-criminals have made along with technological advances.
At the beginning of Day 2, Ronald Hinds (Chairman, eBusiness Roundtable of Trinidad & Tobago) and Josanne Leonard, the Symposium’s MC recapped Day 1. They discussed the connection between our future and our present. Dr. Ahuja’s presentation about innovating with what we have, and moving into the future that is already here as presented by Gerd Leonhard.
In many countries and communities worldwide, people and institutions are going ahead and innovating, even when legislative frameworks do not yet exist.
An example that can be used as a case study is https://www.airbnb.com/. They represent all aspects of the topics touched on; convergence, infrastructure, legislation and the resourcefulness of innovation.
Another good example/case study is mpesa.