TNW Conference 2024 Day 2 Highlights

TNW Conference 2024 Day 2 Highlights

The TNW Conference grounds opened up yet again this morning for Day 2 filled with many participants coming back for more (some less fresh than others after last night’s karaoke cruise) and new speakers and participants who joined us for the first time, adding some unique perspectives to the mix.

Here’s a wrap-up of five interesting talks and ideas that floated around throughout the day.

Beyond green products: Change the system, not just the design

In this eye-opening discussion, Bas van Abel, Founder of Fairphone, Matthew Cockerill

Independent Design Innovation Consultant, and Linnea Ahlgren, Senior Editor at TNW, discussed the need for a cultural transition in our relationship with products.

As an example, Ahlgren posed the question: How many people thought about getting a new phone after hearing the latest iPhone updates?

“At the end of the day, the most sustainable phone is the phone you already have,” echoed van Abel.

Cockerill pointed out that this responsibility doesn’t just lie with consumers. In his view, companies should treat their products like their children. Rather than sending them off into the world to become orphans, businesses should have a longer-term relationship with their products, bringing their ‘children’ (products) back home from time to time so they can be refreshed and put out into the world again.

“It’s stupid that we don’t use products longer. We’re seeing each product as a single entity — when the battery dies, we get rid of it. But what are the different components?” Cockerill said.

One idea discussed was a move towards zero-mined products, or products built from existing materials and inputs, without the need for newly mined materials.

Humanism: The philosophical debate for AI ethics

This panel conversation brought together four AI experts to discuss how we can shift the conversation around AI from the technology itself to how it can actually benefit and be put in service of humankind.

Ben Goertzel, CEO of SingularityNet, and a proponent of the idea that Artificial General Intelligence is just around the corner said:

“We’re likely to have AIs that are as smart as humans in the next few years. Who owns and controls AI and what the AI is deployed to do is important. Is it developed in the interest of all or a small group of people?”

Dr. Vivienne Ming, Co-founder & Executive Chair at Socos Labs, provided some interesting food for thought:

“We should be thinking not only: ‘Am I better when I use technology?’ But also, ‘Am I better after I use it,’” she said. As our reliance on apps made to make our lives easier grows, what might the longer-term consequences be? As an example, she cited the impact that our reliance on Google Maps could have on our capacity for spatial navigation.

Balancing innovation with data privacy, but also making data accessible to all (companies big and small) were also discussed amongst other opportunities that could help us develop more ethical uses for AI.

Laundering the loot from the world’s fastest heist

Journalist Geoff White took the audience on a journey of mystery and intrigue as he discussed his investigation of the Lazarus Heist — the quickest and arguably largest heist in the world during which North Korean hackers were able to get away with $625,000,000 in 1 minute and 55 seconds.

But the cybercriminals weren’t home-free. With millions in a digital wallet, the next challenge was figuring out how to launder such a large amount of crypto-based cash.

“Hackers don’t necessarily know how international banking works — how to actually move the money they’ve stolen. That’s where money launders come in,” he explained.

The hackers looked to Tornado Cash, a crypto tumbler running on Ethereum.

This led to a transatlantic investigation, a debate over freedom of speech and privacy, and a prank involving unsuspecting celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Shaquille O’Neal. Read more about it in White’s book, The Lazarus Heist.

Cultivating Champions: The Role of Ecosystems in Driving Sustainable Growth

During this panel discussion, policymakers Janette Wiget (Merantix), Clara Chappaz (French Tech Mission), Margot Roose (City of Tallinn), and Pedro Lopes (Government of Cabo Verde) discussed best practices and challenges in nurturing the growth of startups and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial environment with TNW Head of Media Andrii Degeler.

Pedro Lopes, Secretary of State for Digital Economy at the government of Cabo Verde, passionately shared his insights from building the ‘Tech islands of West Africa.’ Attracting talent is key to developing a successful startup industry, and Cabo Verde is approaching this by celebrating authenticity and creating a space where everyone feels comfortable and free.

Seismic Percussion: Revealed Reality

We witnessed humans and machines merge to forge a new creative force: the cyborg artist.

Leading us into this world was Moon Ribas, who biohacks her body for her art. She’s best-known for implanting seismic sensors in her feet, which vibrated when an earthquake shook the planet. These rocky rhythms would then guide her dance routines.

On the stage, Ribas banged a drum to the beat of the tremors. Such fusions with tech, she said, can strengthen our bonds with nature.

“Now that I identify as a cyborg, I don’t feel closer to robots and machines, but to the Earth.”

Sustainability at TNW 2024

Continuing our commitment towards making TNW conference as sustainable as possible, the catering onsite featured all meatless options, from steamy mushroom-based dumplings to Moroccan msemen. All cups, plates, and utensils were made from recyclable materials.

And that’s a wrap. The team here at TNW is already at work putting together a list of inspiring speakers, hot topics, and fun side events for TNW 2025.

Stay tuned and see you next year!

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