(P) The Mazars Forum 2018, the fifth edition is a wrap

Through its annual event, Mazars dedicates a platform for dialogue and confrontation on digitization and its impact on economy and businesses. This year’s edition was an indisputable success, not only because of the topicality of the theme but also for its demanding audience and the captivating speakers. Thought to provoke hypotheses about the transformation that digitization will produce on humanity have been debated upon, the big question being: how will man’s position change in relation to what he creates and uses?

The first panel debate unfolded around the idea that humans will always find means to adapt to the adverse living conditions. The smartest creatures of the food chain will no doubt integrate the artificial existence and robots will never rule the world.

Marc Atallah, Co-founder ZettaFox, warned of the misuse of personal data and the illusion of safety in the cyber world:”Your data is used to make the models better. These companies use data to build algorithms, the more data you give the better their algorithms work, the more money they generate. The only way to get out of it today: make you pay for a subscription or pay you back for using your data. You are part of their business model.”

Bogdan Botezatu, Senior Analyst Bitdefender:”Cyber security solutions are not a substitute for common sense. Get educated! Don’t get yourself sold a promise to good to be true.”

Keynote speaker Prof. Manfred Spitzer, German neuroscientist, present for the first time in Romania, calls for a better regulation and a responsible use of technology. “Too many and severe are the risks and side-effects caused by smart devices: addiction, aggression, anxiety, depression, decreased attention, lack of empathy and life satisfaction. The dosage makes the poison! We have to protect the children and adolescents!”

Czech economist Tomas Sedlacek raised the awareness on how the migration into an abstract world where creation takes ownership of the creator. “We have become like Gods. What would Moses think of us? We are living in an un-survivable environment. Modern technology does it possible. We moved from forest to the city. Everything surrounding us is artificial. We are covered in the invisible condom of the advanced society. We are building a fictional world, actually habitable, it’s imaginable for our kids to spend 50% of our time in a non-existing world.”

Pete Swabey, The Economist IU, Ioana Avădani, CJI, and Peter H. Frank, American journalist and writer, joined the keynote speakers and expressed in the final panel about tectonic changes at the society level.

Pete Swabey: ” There are uniquely human capabilities that would take longer to automate if indeed that is even possible. There is social intelligence, cognitive intelligence, and perception and manipulation of complex environment.

Social intelligence is obviously empathy, caring for people. Cognitive intelligence is related to problem solving and perception and manipulation is simply the fact that computer vision is, although hugely improving, the sophistication of the cost of robotics hands can’t keep pace with humans. These are the things that people believe are less susceptible to automation, so if you think you might be in a position susceptible to automation focus on things that are more social, that create added value.”

Peter H. Frank: ”The technological evolution is unstoppable. There is such a mad ecosystem of people and money pushing forward because we can. We can get to the Moon, we can; we can get artificial intelligence, we can.

My fear is that people lose the recognition that, no, children don’t need to play with smartphones.  So, the human beings need to discover what it is that they actually are.”

Ioana Avadani: ”For the time being we define the values. The moment we decide that there are five things that represent values, and we can deliver them and the robots cannot, we are safe. But based on the current situation, the only thing we can provide and the robots cannot in a fifty years perspective is life. You still need genetic material. Can you imagine a world where the biological persons will be kept just for procreation and everything else will be provided by robots?”

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