Reflection on the Silicon Valley 17th US-Poland Science and Technology Symposium
Digital Disruption: From the End of Privacy to Drones and the U-Space, Autonomous Transportation to the Astonishing Future of Medicine & Healthcare
By Renata Stachura Poray
Both the stunning opportunities and astonishing dangers of our digital future were made starkly clear by globally recognized speakers and participating guests at the Silicon Valley 17th US-Poland Science and Technology Symposium held in the heart of Silicon Valley on the campus of Stanford University this May 1-3, 2019.
At its annual, future-oriented forum, the US-Polish Trade Council (USPTC) brought together, from amongst the best and brightest, US and Polish inventors, investors, thinkers, and doers for a deep dive and exchange of ideas on the future of digital disruption. Speakers presented views with numerous practical examples in such diverse fields as cybersecurity and the end of privacy, fintech and banking, smart society and smart city, transport, and energy, legaltech and informatics, and medicine and healthcare.
Throughout the event speakers covered key themes and trends in the change that occurs when new technologies affect changes in practically every field of human endeavor. A focus on priorities and developments allowed attendees — investors, government representatives, companies and standard setters, to deepen their understanding of the demands, opportunities and prospects of tomorrow.
The first day accelerated rapidly with riveting presentations proving that the end of privacy is here. Presenters emphasized the seriousness of changes under way and how data quickly defines us with a precision that humans do not possess. A rapid immersion in cybersecurity refocused assumptions and IT budgets to ensure the companies and data remain as secure as possible, and covered the need for a global digital identity and the solutions that blockchain may offer. The speakers proved ineluctably that we must work together immediately to ensure a habitable post-privacy society.
Global competitiveness, smart cities, infrastructure and global services across government, energy, and financial and monetary systems provided for a bracing second day. Though no succinct summary is possible, certainly the incredible interconnections provided by the annual USPTC Poland Days were a constant theme with the results of Polish networking at previous Stanford Poland Day events and opportunities demonstrated for all to see. Poland’s space program and Polish leadership in US space exploration provided a fascinating example of the power of the Polish educational system coupled with the entrepreneurial and innovative approach of Poles in the workplace. It was made clear by the global nature of the inventions, accomplishments and business decisions of the speakers that Polish creativity and persistence can be found everywhere that humans and their machines go.
Of special note were drones and the U-space — where and how drones fly above us — and how this revolution is about to affect all of us. It was clear from multiple presentations during the forum that planning for this revolution is under way in multiple industries and governmental regulatory bodies, but that awareness of this new, revolutionary solution is still very low. The points of friction were apparent and clearly will be an issue in the near and medium term.
The final day of the event was not to be missed with scintillating presentations on the amazing developments in medicine and healthcare today. It was a joyful series of reviews and previews that celebrated how artificial intelligence is changing lives for the better, how the work of individuals can change the lives of many, and how technology, including sensors and AI, will mean better, longer lives for humanity.
The unique opportunity for Poland to grow into another global technology powerhouse, with its globally significant engineering cadre, distinct creativity and business acumen, was clear. On multiple occasions the case was made for Poland to more rapidly leverage its scientific and technological talent to improve of the lives of its citizens and for an increased role in the solution-hungry worldwide market. The mind-boggling rapidity with which our world will change in the coming years was brought into stunning clarity for those fortunate enough to attend this fascinating conference.
View a photo gallery from 2019 Poland Days in Silicon Valley.