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EmTech Asia Explores Tech’s Impact on Life and the World Around Us
Organized by the MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, the sixth annual EmTech Asia conference opened its doors at the Marina Bay Sands last month and drew a crowd of over 700 participants from over 30 countries.
Taglined “Discover the Emerging Technologies that will Change the World”, EmTech Asia 2019 attendees heard from 50 of the world’s most influential innovators on how emerging technologies influence industries related to artificial intelligence, robotics, sustainability, blockchain, bioengineering, social media, education, virtual reality, and 3D printing.
Among the 50 were Poppy Crum, Dolby Laboratories’ Chief Scientist; Kimberly Powell, NVIDIA’s Vice President of Healthcare; Jonah Myerberg, Desktop Metal’s co-founder and CTO; Marius Swoboda, Rolls Royce’s Head of Physical, Computational and Design Sciences; and Tariq Khokhar, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Managing Director and Senior Data Scientist.
One of the key topics this year was Tech for Humanity: Energy, Food and Water for All, and John McGeehan, the University of Portsmouth Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences director, spoke about the plausibility of a PET plastic-eating enzyme as a solution for the global plastic pollution crisis. Another session – titled Electricity-Generating Windows for Future Cities – featured Iyris founder Derya Baran, who discussed the world’s continuously increasing overconsumption of fossil fuels.
Over in education, Professor Roland Chin, President and Vice Chancellor of the Hong Kong Baptist University, provided his view on the current trend of pursuing a tech and STEM-driven education.
For him, a Liberal Arts education is imperative to make the world a better place “in the Age of AI,” adding that “the world is becoming more competitive and uncertain as we enter into an era of technological disruption. We must enrich our students’ education journey with humanities. We need to understand people and machines, not make people into machines.”
“EmTech Asia gives attendees a unique opportunity to be surrounded by impressive speakers from many branches of technology and the chance to cross-pollinate ideas across different sectors and these collisions often create inspiration. It also allows us to network and make connections, especially in the Asia region, so that we are able to collaborate with each other in the future,” said Juan L. Aparicio Ojea, Head of Research Group – Advanced Manufacturing Automation, Siemens.
The conference also featured sessions on blockchain and its potential impact on industries outside of finance. It will return on February 2020.
Photo: EmTech Asia