Over 1 500 attendees filled the conference centre at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg on Wednesday 23 August to listen to international speakers talk about exponential technologies and their potential to impact humanity.
The SingularityU South Africa Summit is being hosted in collaboration with Standard Bank, global partner Deloitte and strategic partners MTN and SAP.
The summit is the first of its kind to take place in the African region.
Summits are held around the globe to help local leaders understand how emerging technology can be used to create positive change and economic growth.
The theme for the two-day event is “futureproofing Africa”. The organisers and speakers believe Africa is “poised to pounce” in the global economy because of its unique position.
Co-founder of the Singularity University Peter Diamandis says a great example of this is that the continent is leaps and bounds ahead of other regions in the mobile payments space.
Diamandis founded the university after reading Ray Kurzweil’s book “The Singularity Is Near”.
‘Singularity’ is defined by Wikipedia as a: “Hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilisation.”
Diamandis wanted to create a space where business executives and interested parties could go to get an overview of all exponential technologies.
Now, every two months, a group of people attend the university based in California and learn from the top futurists how technology is changing the way humans live and how business is conducted.
The summits are an extension of this and allow for the knowledge to be spread further.
The South African summit will look at the following exponential improvements in tech: artificial intelligence and robotics, biotechnology and bioinformatics, networking and computing systems, medicine and neuroscience, and nanotechnology and digital fabrication.
It will focus on how these technologies can solve the global challenges of food, security, water, prosperity, environment, global health and energy.