January 22 – 23, 2019
Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Co-organized by MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse, the world’s most influential leaders and innovators came together for the sixth edition of EmTech Asia, bringing together over 700 industry professionals from 30 countries over two days.
Over 50 speakers discussed how emerging technologies would influence industries related to artificial intelligence, robotics, sustainability, blockchain, bioengineering, social media, education, virtual reality, and 3D printing. Ten of the youngest and brightest innovators under 35 from the region also presented their work to an audience of accomplished scientists, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Hong Kong Baptist University President and Vice-Chancellor Roland Chin presented a different perspective in the pursuit of tech and STEM-driven education at the conference. He believes that a liberal arts education in the age of AI is imperative to make the world a better place.
“The world is becoming more competitive and uncertain as we enter into an era of technological disruption. We must enrich our students’ education journey with humanities. We need to understand people and machines, not make people into machines,” said Chin.
Inline with the event’s tagline ‘Discover the emerging technologies that will change the world,’ EmTech Asia 2019 attendees heard from companies that are driving the next generation of technological breakthroughs, including Dolby Laboratories, NVIDIA, Desktop Metal, Rolls Royce, SENS Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Pinscreen.
One of the key topics this year was ‘Tech for humanity: Energy, food, and water for all.’ John McGeehan, who is Director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Portsmouth, spoke about the plausibility of using polyethylene terephthalate–a plastic-eating enzyme–as a solution for the global plastic pollution crisis. Other sessions included ‘Transforming the way the world is energized with fusion,’ ‘Infrastructure-free distributed water,’ and ‘Electricity-generating windows for future cities.’
“EmTech Asia gives attendees a unique opportunity to be surrounded by impressive speakers from many branches of technology and the chance to cross-pollinate ideas across different sectors and these collisions often create inspiration. It also allows us to network and make connections, especially in the Asia region, so that we can collaborate in the future,” said Siemens Head of Advanced Manufacturing Automation Juan L. Aparicio Ojea.
There were also various sessions on blockchain and the impact this technology will have on several industries beyond finance. These sessions included presentations from SGInnovate Founder and CEO Steve Leonard, Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society Patrick Murck.