Following a VIP welcome reception at the Palais de Luxembourg on 13th March, the high level conference on the 14th March at Centre Pompidou addressed the theme of “The cross-sector impact of disruptive innovation, with a unique dialogue with China”.
Speakers represented the highest level of organisations including: Allen & Overy; audioBoom; City of Paris; China General Nuclear; China Southern Power Grid; Chinese Academy of Science Holdings; Chrysalix Venture Capital, EDF; ENGIE; Fortum; Hemingway Corporate Finance; Idinvest Partners; IPsoft; Lumi Technologies; Oracle; US-China Clean Energy Forum, Rockwell Automation; Sheffield Robotics; Total and many more.
The conference opened with addresses from Wu Lebin, Chairman of Chinese Academy of Science Holdings, and Senator Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Chairman of Fondation Prospective et Innovation and former Prime Minister of France.
Senator Raffarin said: "The capacity to create, to be innovative, is as much Chinese as it is European."
Chairman Wu said: “This is the beginning of a new technological revolution. We have the strong need for technology in China, so we are building a bridge. We need advanced technologies from Europe and the rest of the world and we will share technologies". CASH, the owner of more than three hundred high technology companies in China incuding Lenovo, brought a large and influential delegation to RAID from China.
Speaking on the opening panel discussion, Maria Van der Hoeven, Board Member, Total; former Minister of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands; former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency said: "Disruptive Innovation is an essential part of human progress that will lead to new standards, regulation and economic opportunities.
“Yesterday's regulations might be counterproductive in the digital age of tomorrow. We need to prepare for loss and change of present day jobs. Innovative thinking is about societal change and that is where politicians come in.”
Chetan Dube, President and CEO of leading artificial intelligence company IPsoft said: "Deep AI is a common denominator across all verticals.
“This industrial revolution multiplies the power of the brain, not muscle – and therefore it has no limits.
“We need to start training people in cognitive jobs – blue and white collar labels are no longer useful.”
Thomas Donato, President of Rockwell Automation Europe said: “People thought the first industrial revolution was the end of the world… This industrial revolution is a journey that never ends.
“Companies that do not have a culture of learning will fall behind in global competition.”
Speaking on the following panel on “Understanding the scale, speed and impact of change”, Tony Prescott, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Sheffield University and Director of Sheffield Robotics said: “Robotics and AI have no limits.
“We have to rethink the place of humanity in this world of new entities that will ultimately understand themselves.
“A major leap forward will come when machines solve the problem of manipulating objects in the way the human hand can. It may be decades but it will hugely disrupt many jobs.”
Speaking on the following panel on “Leadership in times of unique disruptive and creative innovation”, Bernard Salha, CTO of EDF said: “Our relationship with customers is going to change.
“AI is a huge asset that could help us manage our facilities. But first we face constraints such as ensuring cybersecurity and privacy.
“The world is becoming more horizontal, but you need to keep your knowledge – what makes you as a company.”
The conference on 14th was followed by a morning of practical B2B investment opportunity presentations on 15th, matching companies and projects with investors from China and Europe.
“RAID is without doubt Europe’s leading Conference on the nature, scale and impact of technological change. I was especially impressed that the debate was widened to embrace the notion that technology can be a societal force for good, especially if it enhances our mutual comprehension.. This is important when fear of others’ knowledge of us, facilitated by technological innovation , is intensifying. Social media keeps close record of “likes” and activities. Drones fly overhead. Cameras record invisibly. Data is collected. But, if we start to fear the consequence of others knowledge of us, then a Dystopian future does indeed beckon. Harmony is founded on comprehension. Insight guides us from confusion and suspicion to understanding.”
“The quality of the conversations I had at RAID, as well as the truly interactive panels - something you don’t see that often - make this conference a particularly interesting one.”
Andre Loesekrug-Pietri, Managing Partner, ACAPITAL