Packed to the rafters as a result of sold out tickets across the past two days it was hosted, the SingularityU South Africa Summit 2018 officially concluded yesterday. Hosted at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg, the two-day summit was hosted in collaboration with Standard Bank, global partner Deloitte and strategic partners SAP, MTN, HP and Liberty.
The annual initiative is driven by Singularity University’s mission to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. Now in its second year, the summit showcased 33 African and world-renowned speakers, and attracted over 1 900 African industry leaders, c-suite executives as well as public sector representatives. Speakers and delegates engaged on exponential technologies that will help the African continent leapfrog into the future.
“There is a huge potential for economic and technological growth in Africa. Many African countries still face challenges related to infrastructure, security and education, among others. Exponential technology is an opportunity for Africa to forge ahead towards sustainable development across all sectors and industries,” says Mic Mann, Founder of Mann Made and SingularityU South Africa Summit co-CEO.
Themes unpacked at the summit included the future of work and the professional, as well as what to expect of the gig economy. While many fear the rise of automation and mechanisation, as well as its impact on employment, Valter Adão, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Deloitte, shared research that “for every job lost, 1.74 new jobs are created”.
Other talking points included education and the future of learning; banking in a cashless future; additive manufacturing in space; and what it takes to decode democracy. Speakers included: Fred Swaniker, who aims to groom three million leaders for Africa by 2035; author of Stealing Fire Jamie Wheal; Dr Tiffany Vora, who talked about how to programme Africa’s future using digital biology; as well as Phathizwe Malinga, who shared his insights on IoT and information abundance. This year’s summit also included a second track, presented during the coffee and lunch breaks, that allowed delegates to delve deeper into the most topics.
The summit co-organisers also announced that SingularityU South Africa is the first Singularity University country partner on the African continent. It now offers online and offline programmes for individuals and corporate members, including a newly appointed, South African-based faculty: www.singularityusouthafrica.org.
Another highlight was witnessing Richard Browning, Founder and Chief Test Pilot of Gravity Industries, showcase human flight in his Jet Suit flight. Its five gas turbine jet engines generate 147kg of thrust that allows for vertical lift and directional propulsion at speeds of up to 70km/h, that can cover a distance of 1.4km for up to eight minutes.
The winner of SU Ventures 2018, Benji Coetzee of Empty Trips, won the opportunity to go to SingularityU in Silicon Valley to take part in the SU sprint programme. She will also have the opportunity to get funding for her start-up.
Fifty super early bird tickets to the third SingularityU South Africa Summit, to be held on 16-17 October 2019, were already sold within an hour of announcement. The summit trended across social media under the theme “#futureproofAfrica and inspired South Africans to take action and make impact to create abundance for all. Through technology advances and the proper adoption thereof, a beyond brighter future is possible for the entire African continent.
We are fortunate to have formed part of the event, our thanks go to the SingularityU Team.