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ITU Telecom World 2014 Leadership Summit on the Future
explores “mindboggling” pace of digitalization

Exponential organizations, new arenas of competition, artificial
intelligence, bio technology, big data analytics transforming our world

Doha, 8 December 2014 – The ITU Telecom World 2014 Leadership Summit on the Future launched debates today in an eye-opening and inspiring journey into the future of the ICT industry and of our businesses and societies.

Renowned futurists and international experts from a range of disciplines came together to explore potential scenarios of the future with leaders of public and private sectors from across the global ICT sector, and to gain an understanding of how policies, strategies, business models and regulatory approaches may need to adapt.

Opening the Summit, moderator and leading futurist Gerd Leonhard, CEO, the Futures Agency,  said, “From big data to artificial intelligence and the singularity to robotics and the overall digital transformation of society, culture and communications, we need to be aware of what challenges are ahead and what opportunities we need to investigate right now. We need to determine the balance between humanity and technology – and go beyond fear to find our way forward.”

Highlights of the afternoon included:

  • International expert in intelligent robotics Rolf Pfeifer, Prof. em., University of Zurich,  introduced Roboy, a new breed of robot designed to provoke an emotional reaction, encourage human-robot interaction and re-evaluate often negative perceptions of robots.
  • Rita McGrath, Professor, Columbia Business School, spoke on the need for telecom companies to adopt a new strategic approach in the new era of cross-sector partnerships, moving competition from individual industries to arenas of activity.
  • Yuri van Geest, Managing Director of the Singularity University Summit Europe, explored the singularity, the concept of machines becoming more powerful than humans and the need for exponential organizations in exponential times.
  • Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future Research, spoken on the transformative drivers of change over the next decade and how governments can prepare for a hyper-connected future, emphasizing the importance of education in the digital economy.
  • Simon Torrance, CEO, Metaflight, called for creative co-innovation and a new approach to partnerships in an era defined by convergence with broadcasting and the blurring of boundaries with vertical sectors.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré highlighted the extent of the positive disruption the industry, and the world, are facing: “The opportunities are immense: trillion dollar new markets, social and economic development, sustainable economies, green cities, life-enhancing apps and services, convenience, ease, access to knowledge and new ways of doing things we cannot currently conceive of.”

Closing the afternoon, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Minister for Youth and Information and Communication Technology, Rwanda, said: “It has been a rollercoaster in terms of discovery, learning and impressions. It is challenging to realize technology is changing much faster than government and the public sector, it is exciting to feel and touch the future of robotics and hear about exponential organizations. Above all, it is exciting to see the opportunities we have in developing countries in particular to use these technologies to permanently fix some of the most daunting challenges such as food security, environment and healthcare.”

ITU Telecom World is the leading platform for knowledge exchange, innovation showcasing, networking and debate for the global ICT community. ITU Telecom World 2014 is being held in Doha, Qatar, 7 – 10 December at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

For more details on the event and daily highlights summing up the best of each day’s activities, see

  • Full highlights of each days discussions and key events are available here
  • See the full event programme click here
  • See the speaker line-up here
  • For a full set of background blogs on the event, including from Leadership Summit speakers, please visit our event blog

Media Note: Media accreditation for ITU Telecom World 2014, 7-10 December 2014, enables free access to the event for registered media and analysts. Accreditation is compulsory. UN Press accreditation is valid, but registration is required to obtain an event badge.

Media registration is now open at the ITU Telecom World 2014 on site at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha: Monday-Tuesday, 8-9 December 2014, 08:00 – 18:00 and Wednesday, 10 December, 08:00-16:00.

Accredited media will gain full access to all the different components of the event, including the Leadership Summit, Forum sessions and Show floor as well as the Media Centre and be able to take part in a host of networking opportunities alongside leading public/private sector representatives.

Videos and photos from ITU Telecom World 2013 and 2014 are available.

Videos: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpoIPNlF8P2N0iBXOtP2bD5_u-8xy_Pba

Photos: www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/sets/72157638139301335/

For more information, please click here or contact: Media accreditation enquiries:
Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
mobile Mobile Doha: +974 5514 4957
mobile +41 79 249 4861
email sanjay.acharya@itu.int
telephone +974 5517 2262
email telecompressreg@itu.int

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