The first Singularity Summit is going to take place in the Athens Concert Hall in November, showcasing new directions of innovation and technology to the country. Organised under the auspices of the Silicon-Valley based think tank Singularity University, the event will focus around Ray Kurzweil’s theory of “technological singularity”, in which machines can be as intelligent or even more so than their creators. According to event organiser Ms Niki Siropoulou, the Singularity Summit is crucial, in the aspect that Greece has fallen behind to the rest of the world, when it comes to technological innovation, and it needs to catch up.
The upside is that today people have more opportunities to innovate, without having the need for large capital to back them. In an interview with Kathimerini, Siropoulou points to the example of Jan Koum, who departed his home country of Ukraine with his mother in 1992, to become one of the richest people in the world about a decade later, thanks to his creation, the application WhatsApp and its subsequent acquisition by Facebook.
“His father had stayed back in Ukraine and they could not communicate, it was too expensive. It was this experience that sparked his interest in telecommunications – he believed that the non-privileged also had a right to be able to communicate with their loved ones,” Siropoulou said.
The entrance fee to the summit has been appointed to 500 euros, however there will be scholarships and free tickets (tentatively called ‘impact tickets’), and the event will be available to live-stream with no additional charge for any research centre or university wishing to do so.
Additionally, there are other such major events being held in Greece, that focus on other fields as Siropoulou herself stated: “These events are held in cooperation with Demokritos [the National Centre of Scientific Research], which proposes one of its own researchers or an independent expert. We have already held sessions on energy, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, big data. As of January, we’ve been hosting one session per month.”