Machine learning, cybersecurity, interoperability, the future of work, transparency, skills development, artificial intelligence – the digital transformation comes with a wide range of issues and unknowns. At the same time, it is opening up unprecedented opportunities. Navigating and making the most of these issues, uncertainties and opportunities will be the subject of expert debate at the CeBIT Global Conferences this March in Hannover, Germany.
Hannover. Will tomorrow's machines be smarter than us humans? Will we all have chip implants? What is the best digital strategy for my business? What is Europe's future role in the development of new technologies? A big lineup of renowned experts from around the globe will be addressing all of these questions and many more from 14 to 18 March at the CeBIT Global Conferences in Hannover, Germany.
Sometime in the foreseeable future, artificial intelligence will surpass our own. Futurologists have dubbed this moment technological singularity. In his book "Superintelligence," Nick Bostrom anticipates the global ramifications of this event. In essence, he expects the technological singularity to profoundly change our business, social and political environments. On Thursday, 17 March, Bostrom – a renowned Swedish philosopher and a professor at Oxford University – will outline his vision of the future and discuss the steps we need to take today in order to capitalize on the opportunities that artificial intelligence will bring.
Uri Levine is the founder of the navigation startup Waze and is regarded as the leading light of Tel Aviv's technology and startup scene. On Tuesday, 15 March, Levine will give his account of Waze's history, from the company's early beginnings, right up to the day when he sold it to Google for over a billion US dollars. Levine will also talk about his latest startup, FeeX. FeeX helps users to circumvent the fees normally associated with financial services and operates in a market which Levine estimates is worth around 600 billion US dollars per year in the United States alone.
Imagine what it would be like to be able to "magically" open doors, switch on lights and unlock your mobile phone with the tiniest of gestures. All you need to gain these "superhuman" abilities is a chip implant under your skin that can control devices via RFID or NFC. Amal Graafstra is the CEO of Dangerous Things, a US company which sells DIY implant kits. On Wednesday, 16 March on the Open Stage at the CeBIT Global Conferences, Graafstra will discuss the potential applications of implant systems as well as the considerations around what is also known as "biohacking".
Kevin Mahaffey is the co-founder and CTO of San Francisco-based mobile security company Lookout. He is also one of the two hackers who broke into the Tesla Model S's on-board electronic system via the electric car's infotainment system last summer. This enabled the hacker team to take control of the moving vehicle and bring it to a stop. The well-publicized hack exposed the weaknesses of Tesla's security system and prompted the company to immediately update its vehicles' on-board software. In his keynote on Thursday, 17 March, Mahaffey will discuss the importance of web security in the Internet of Things age. His company, which was founded in 2007, today belongs to the exclusive club of "unicorns" – private startups valued at one billion US dollars or higher.
The key role of Europe as an R&D center for new technologies, the future shape of Europe's digital industries and the benefits of digitalization for companies and consumers will be among the subjects of a keynote address by Günther Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, on Monday, 14 March at the new annual High-Level Conference on Digital Union. The conference is designed to foster direct discussion with company representatives on concrete measures the EU Commission can take to improve Europe's technological competitiveness. It will also cover the results achieved to date by the EU's Digital Agenda initiative as well as future projects.
Enhancing Europe's digital future is also a key objective for Hans Vestberg, the President and CEO of Swedish company Ericsson, one of the world's leading communication technology providers. In his lecture on Monday, 14 March, Vestberg will explain how the digital transformation will not just give rise to radically new business models but can also help bring about a more sustainable world, especially in the health, education and smart city sectors.
The German software giant SAP will be in Hannover to present digitalization-enabling technologies, including its in-memory and cloud platforms. Bernd Leukert, a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP SE, will be presenting his take on the impacts and opportunities of the digital transformation on Tuesday, 15 March. "All of human society will benefit enormously from the fourth industrial revolution," he said in a recent interview with Germany's FAZ newspaper. Leukert will also be one of the discussion panel members at the EU conference on the CeBIT Monday.
So what can companies do to gear up for the digital transformation? Oliver Bäte, the Board of Management Chairman of Munich-based Allianz SE, one of the world's biggest insurance companies, will answer this question on Tuesday, 15 March on the Center Stage. At the start of this year, Allianz set up a new business unit dedicated to driving the digitalization process within the Allianz Group. Bäte will outline the impacts of digitalization on his company and how it plans to use digital technologies to position itself for the future.
On Monday, 14 March – the first day of CeBIT – a living computer science legend will speak at the CeBIT Switzerland Summit. Zurich-based Professor Niklaus Wirth will be exploring the digital transformation from the viewpoint of science and research. Wirth wrote a number of computer programming languages, including Pascal, and remains the only German-speaking computer scientist to have received the Turing Award. The award, which was named in honor of Alan Turing, is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science.