This year, Ukraine attempted to adjust the optics through which our country is looked at in the world. During the annual meeting of the International Economic Forum in Davos, Ukraine House, organised by Ukrainian IT companies and associations, worked under the motto “Creativity. Innovation. Capabilities”.
For four days, by way of unofficial Ukrainian representation, dozens of discussions on global issues took place, with world experts and even the legendary robot Sofia taking part. In hot pursuit, I too tried to understand how the Ukrainian agenda jived with the main Davos-2018 program in the sphere of new technologies.
Cybersecurity and ethics
Davos gathered what seemed like a record number of technology companies and initiatives this year. In the panel discussions of the main program, representatives of IBM and Google participated, and alongside Trump’s speech, an informal meeting was arranged by TechCrunch – America’s largest technology media holding.
World leaders spoke not only about technologies themselves, but also about the risks and dangers that could lead to their development. The British government, for example, has begun financing a special advisory centre on the ethical use of artificial intelligence. The founder of Chinese corporation Alibaba, Jack Ma, noted that, “each technological revolution makes the world unbalanced”, and with new technologies one must be more and more careful. At the same time, the head of Google, Sundar Pichai, is sure that our high-tech future has many more benefits than risks. He even compared the importance of developing artificial intelligence with the invention of electricity.
For Ukraine, a more urgent topic is cybersecurity. On the thematic discussion “Cyberwar without rules”, within the framework of the main program of the forum, threats to democracy and the general struggle against cyberterrorism were discussed, among more mundane topics. For example, Jean Yang, a scientist from Carnegie Mellon University, stressed that it is everyone’s duty to protect himself. And organisations that still use Windows XP with its huge security hole need to think about this. Relating to the vulnerability of operating systems, we will not tell Yang that, until recently, some of our own officials were still using the mail.ru system.
Crypto currencies and Blockchain
Great attention was paid to fintech (the emerging financial services sector), where a discussion panel was held at Ukraine House on 24 January. The topic – where might the next cryptohaven turn up. Some would really like the answer to be Ukraine. But I can’t be so optimistic. To date, the most favourable infrastructure for the development of the crypto industry has developed in Switzerland, namely the city of Zug, 140 km from Davos. The capital of the canton of the same name was already nicknamed Crypto Valley, and in January of last year, a government-sponsored Crypto Valley association was created, aimed at creating a block-and-cryptosystem.
Switzerland has everything necessary to successfully achieve such an ambitious goal: political and economic stability, a flexible tax system, serious scientific institutions, investor loyalty legislation. However, not everyone shares the idea that the move to becoming a paradise for the crypto industry is a good. Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz repeated his opinion in Davos, saying that Bitcoin is worth nothing except when it comes to money laundering and tax evasion. Well, where there are crypto-enthusiasts, there will also be crypto-sceptics.
The future of technology
Without exception, experts associate the future of technology with artificial intelligence. The abbreviation AI is constantly on the lips of politicians, CEOs of technological giants, as well as supporters of innovations in education.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced the launch of an innovative fund worth €10 billion to support new technologies, including artificial intelligence. In the UAE, since October last year, there has been a minister for AI affairs, who was also present in Davos.
Head of the world’s largest CRM-platform Salesforce, Mark Benioff, said that among the company’s executive directors is Einstein – an aspect of their artificial intelligence technology, which participates in meetings of the directors every Monday. In addition, on the panel discussion about Blockchain held at Ukraine House, was the robot Sofia Hanson, the main humanoid in SingularityNET.
The results of the study conducted by the World Economic Forum, PwC, and Stanford University, show the AI potential for solving all manner of environmental problems, such as global warming, water and air pollution, and combating natural disasters.
Research on the development and implementation of artificial intelligence is now occupied in the best minds of mankind. I am glad that Ukraine was represented at the World Economic Forum this year by including innovators – people not of politics, but of technology. Their agenda was in full accord with the global themes touched upon at the meeting. The main thing is that in reality, one of the informal slogans of the forum is achieved: “What happens in Davos, should not stay in Davos.”