Nov 11 / 2019
katy micallef
Posted by: Katy Micallef

Malta AIBC closes Malta Week with a bang

Akon steals the show at November summit

Following a successful event in May, the AIBC summit closed the year with its winter edition, luring a diverse and international crowd of 6,500 through its doors for a series of conferences, premier networking events and an expo floor packed with stands from some of the most progressive companies currently shaping this industry.

Lynn Liss, Akon and Jon Karas from the Akoin Foundation.

It was a full house in the conference halls, with a series of hot topic debates and well-known industry faces, such as Akon, Bobby Lee, Yorick Wilkes, and David Orban stealing the show.

Philanthropist, co-founder of Akoin, and Grammy-award winner Akon drew huge interest as he discussed his long-term vision for Africa and his desire to develop a platform to aid developing economies and boost entrepreneurship amongst Africa’s most promising young creatives.

“Blockchain was built for a purpose and I think it was to help me serve my purpose. It’s a global platform that we’re building, but Africa is our targeted market because Africa has the most challenges, if it works in Africa you can utilise that in any developing market around the world,” he said.

Akon also donated two star prizes to the glamorous awards night auction on the 7th. The opportunity to name a street in Akon’s soon-to-be-developed crypto  city proved too irresistible to miss, netting the charity fundraiser €14,000,  while the chance to take part in the official Village Lighting Ceremony in Africa for a location that has just received solar lights and power from Akon Lighting Africa this went for a respectable €5,000. The winning bidder and their guest will be flown to Africa to share in this special occasion as the solar powered lights are switched on and the village comes to life after dark.

In total the auction raised 26,000 for charitable activities, beating last year’s sum by a considerable amount.

Other panels focused on the more abstract but crucial need to develop a strong ethical foundation for emerging tech, such as AI. Yorick Wilkes led the charge on this with a philosophical take on how best to navigate a world dominated by machine learning algorithms.

Anthony Pompliano took part in a live call in to the conference.

“We’re moving to a world where humans and machine learning AI systems are in the same position – they’re both inscrutable, the inscrutability may be of the same type and may be open to exploration and amelioration. How about XAI for humans?” Could AI help explain human behaviour, he asked.

The legal future was also a concern for the panel, with moderator Wesley Ellul from Quizando asking “When a machine makes a mistake, who’s going to be held responsible for that?” The answer it seems could be a special status in law, which as Wilkes explains could see robotics held to account under a degree of responsibility and good character.

“In England, in common law, dogs have a special status. If you keep a tiger in your garden it’s called ferae naturae, whatever it does it’s your fault. This is not true for dogs; the courts can decide it’s a dog of good character. We have a concept of a creature that is not human but has a notion of responsibility and character. That’s what’s going to happen with robots, they’re going to have a status in law, which is not quite like us but special.”

Angelo Dalli on the other hand was clear on his position, saying that he didn’t think ‘autonomous decisions regarding life and death should be taken by AI systems, no matter how advanced. When it comes to ethical decisions people should be in the loop.’

David Orban: Malta can take advantage of this transformation to design a desirable future for itself.

Serious discussions also ensued in the series of workshops held throughout the day. Well-attended, a number of key speakers led the debate on topics such as the applications of tech to industries including healthcare, real estate and education, as well as quantum tech and STOs.

Two start-up pitches also brought investment opportunities and sound business advice to start-ups looking to gain a foothold in the industry as they battled it out for the top prize, which include brand visibility. Photocert took home the AI prize, while the Tech Start-up Pitch crowned Gamerhash its winner.

Following increased interest on a global level AIBC will launch in Manila for the first time next year, bringing with it the experience and high quality that made its inaugural run back in 2018 an established success. International markets and their intricate complexities will be a thread the Manila conferences will certainly pick up, while delegates can also expect to see many of Malta’s top exhibitors make an appearance in Asia.

Founder and CEO Eman Pulis commented, “The show has been a tremendous success for all involved, and a truly global affair as well.   We were encouraged to see so many delegates from Asian countries present, including Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Japan and China. This absolutely validates our decision to co-locate our show to Manila in June 2020, and we’re looking forward to building new partnerships between east and west next year.”

As hundreds of investors sign up for what is slated to be one of the biggest summits in the region, SiGMA Group will work to strengthen trade ties with the jurisdictions in the region to facilitate fresh business opportunities for European companies. Anticipating more than 5,000 exhibitors – the summit unites investors, suppliers, and thought leaders as they come together to forge new partnerships, and seal lucrative business deals.

The first edition of the summit takes place on 08 to 09 June 2020, offering priceless networking, high quality content, and countless business opportunities.

Keep an eye on the upcoming agenda by visiting the Manila arm of the AIBC website.

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