Education, development and disruption: this was the first day of SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais

Jeffrey Rogers opening SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais. Credits: Luís Piçarra

The first day of SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais was as bright and shiny as the venue allowed. With the beautiful beach of Carcavelos on the background, Jeffrey Rogers, Staff Director of Singularity University started the summit by emphasized that exponential thinking, capable of generating results that accelerate over time, should be a priority for large companies that want to survive in a world that is rapidly changing.

Next, on Inspire Stage at the new campus of Nova SBE, David Roberts, one of the world’s top experts on disruptive technology and a professor at Singularity University, shook the audience by claiming that 40% of the companies listed on S&P500 will disappear in the next decade: “All industries are subject to be disrupted in the next 10 years”, Roberts said. About Portugal, the specialist mentioned that “the country faces an extraordinary future of opportunities”.

David Roberts. Credits: Luís Piçarra

During this first day of the summit, some of today’s biggest global challenges, which are being accentuated by technological development, were also highlighted. Despite their potential and opportunities to create a brighter future and a better world, exponential technologies, if misapplied, also foster inequality, extreme poverty, violence and environmental damage. That’s why, according to Nathaniel Calhoun, faculty member at Singularity University, “we have a duty to preserve and maintain responsibility for the promise of technology: to create innovative ideas and solutions and not to generate new exponential problems.”

Nathaniel Calhoun. Credits: Luís Piçarra

On a different note, the need for disruption in education was strongly emphasized by some speakers. Not only David Roberts, but also Esther Wojcicki explained that the more students follow instructions, the less creative they are, showing the alternatives of an education appropriate to current realities.

By the afternoon, Cristina Fonseca, the co-founder of Talkdesk, that is the newest Portuguese unicorn, made a very positive assessment of this first day. “Singularity University has the best teachers to tell their experience and their visions of the future, which is very relevant to anyone who wants to be aware of the opportunities that future technologies can offer.”

Keynote of Esther Wojcicki. Credits: Luís Piçarra

The human factor was singled out as one of the main drivers of the transformation by both Manuel Tânger, co-founder of Beta-i, and Carin Watson, Executive Vice President of Learning & Innovation at Singularity University. Watson even suggests that “we should actively consider unlearning to realize what it takes for companies to embrace exponential thinking”.

Closing the first day of the summit, that received 600 attendees, Amin Toufani explained his theory on exonomics, aka the path to connect people to prosperity. The economist began by reminding the audience that in the future there will be “exponential winners and exponential losers” and that, even though people are living better in this planet, it is not enough for him “to be happy”.

The audience at Amin Toufani’s keynote. Credits: Luís Piçarra

According to Ricardo Marvão, Executive Director of SingularityU Portugal, “the first day of SingularityU Portugal Summit Cascais was inspiring for leaders who want to understand and follow the power of the exponential growth that is a game changer for their organizations”.

Join us on the second day as other brilliant minds such as Divya Chander and Ramez Naam will be on stage to share new ideas with the Portuguese people.