How technology brought us to a historical moment of change

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For the Startup Energy Tech Festival 2018 changemakers of the energy industry, clean tech startups and innovative minds came together to see how we can create a sustainable future for a global society - and how the energy transition can be turned into reality. PEAK has been part of that day organized by the German Energy Agency, as our founder moderated the event and had the chance to ask the top-notch speakers about their take on technology and sustainability on stage. 

Recent times are challenging: facing climate change, an insufficiency of clean renewable energy, a lack of data security and slow moving politics coping with an extremely fast moving tech environment. Yet there were never better possibilities to fight these challenges; with Artificial Intelligence, the blockchain technology and innovative clean tech startups creating new products and service that combat climate change. 

Here are the key takeaways:

We can learn from history. "History is a reliable resource to compare recent inventions to what has already happened before," said Jennifer Zhu Scott, founding principal of Radian Partners and serving World Economic Forum. The dot-com bubble is comparable to the bitcoin bubble, that just recently seemed to have bursted. After the dot-com bubble bursted, the internet actually just grew stronger afterwards, opening up for new businesses and thereby creating a whole new economy. The same is true for Bitcoins, says Scott. Meaning we also have to be aware of a major change for society: When there’s a new tool, it does not only replace, how we do certain things, it reorganizes how we actually conduct our humanity.

And we are at that state, where society will be massively influenced by the new technology, and now we have the chance to set rules for that. AI expert Christian Rauch, Director of State Festival for Open Science, Art and Society, highlighted the major problems: In today’s technological development, the pace is at a whole new level than it used to be. Meaning: making a mistake will hit society harder - simply because it will have a faster impact. Moreover global society is already divided, artificial intelligence and the access to it has the power to even increase that gap. And to put into the more recent context, data security and privacy is becoming more and more crucial since we, every human, are the data algorithms are being fed with.

Politics and society have the chance to set rules for that by strengthening education in tech, by providing everyone with access. And by setting regulation and rules that also protect data from only very few using benefitting from them.

At the moment, there’s a historical chance, both for the Energy transition and for a next technological revolution, but the vision needs to be followed, the story needs to be told and a framework should be provided. At SET we’ve seen first ways how to do so. 

E.ON's CEO Johannes Teyssen on stage together with Ole Tillmann

Q&A of the jury and a startup pitching for the SET Tech Festival Award

Trent McConagy on stage: expert in AI and Blockchain as researcher, founder (https://www.bigchaindb.com) and explainer

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