Disruption and sustainability: a fairy tale or a tale of doom

Exponential technologies are already shaping our present and are set to increasingly change our world in the future. However, we as human beings, are now more aware of the consequences (both positive and negative) that impact immediately on our daily lives even beyond the impact these disruptive findings might have on the place we call home: Planet Earth.

We read in the news daily reports on how humanity is racing past the planetary boundaries and the maximum usage limitations on several natural resources such as freshwater, land use and even biodiversity. Thus, with so many boundaries now being crossed, is there anything we can still do? Is technology one of the solutions?

According to Ramez Naam, computer scientist, futurist and expert in energy and environmental systems, the world is bumping up against multiple environmental and natural resource hurdles whilst a growing population and a surge in the wealth of the developing world is driving consumption upwards. Correspondingly, we need to establish the true limits to economic and natural resource growth on Planet Earth.

Nevertheless, the empowerment of technology in our daily lives cannot be approached as a problem in itself but rather as a tool that, if well used, may also help in solving our greatest challenges. That is the message that Naam defends and that the scientist is to share with us at the SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais. Ramez Naam will provide an overview of the key natural resource and environmental challenges that face us, the on-the-horizon innovations that hold the promise to overcome them, and the policies that would best encourage innovation in these critical fields.

Preserving the planet is not just about trying to resolve what has already been damaged but also involves keeping in mind all of the boundaries that cannot be crossed. With that in mind, Alex Gladstein is bringing to Cascais a very important list that simply cannot be forgotten — a list of human rights. Gladstein is Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation and throughout his career has connected hundreds of dissidents and civil society groups with business leaders, technologists, journalists, philanthropists and policymakers in order to promote free and open societies. At the SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais, he will be talking about the ethical impact of exponential technology and how this line of thought must be included in every discussion so as to ensure the sustainability of our planet and our species.

Finally, we look up to the sky. Humanity must always recall its place within a larger system and that is where Zita Martins enters. The Portuguese astrobiologist is responsible for lifting our feet off the ground and making us think about our role in space.

Martins is taking to the stage of SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais to speak about the technology now being used in space and how we and our planet can also benefit.

Don’t miss these three experts that are coming to the SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais on October 8th and 9th. Stay tuned to find out more topics and more speakers.