As the first-ever conference focused on conscious tech gears up to begin in Egypt's coastal town of El Gouna, we take a look at the global changemakers taking to the stage, from Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab founder, to the pioneer engineering the machine learning behind Google Translate.
It's just a few weeks ahead of Vested Summit, the conference setting off to gather the world's conscious entrepreneurs and investors, who are disrupting the world's merging economies with frontier technologies with human-centred impact.
The summit, a four-day marathon filled with workshops, a hackathon, and a shark zone - where daring entrepreneurs will pitch to global investors on a catamaran on the Red Sea - is set to shake the startup landscape in emerging economies, putting the spotlight on technologies that not only have a social impact, but rather solve some of humanity's most dramatic challenges. In a time where words like blockchain, bitcoin, and AI are making a buzz across industries, what is the real impact these technologies can have in the lives of 80 percent of the world's population, who live in emerging countries? That's one of the crucial questions the summit sets off to tackle.
From tackling the basics of blockchain with the leading organisation using blockchain for social impact, Consensys, to delving into "Emotion AI" in a workshop led by Affectiva - the Egyptian-born startup making waves around the world with in Emotional intelligence - to trainings on machine learning with the pioneer behind Google Translate’s machine learning foundations, De Kai, the event is poised to build solid ground for entrepreneurs to trigger impact. Here's 9 of the top speakers hailing from Tanzania, to Hong Kong.
1. Ariana Fowler, Impact Analyst, ConsenSys Social Impact
An expert on Blockchain for Social Impact at ConsenSys, Ariana Fowler develops use-cases and research focused on the application of blockchain to development and humanitarian aid. Ariana joined ConsenSys in fall 2017 after completing her bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University, where she studied Medicine Health & Society, with a focus in Global Health and Human and Organizational Development, with a focus in International Leadership and Development. Her research specialised in refugee-related interventions, as well as the economic implications of the refugee crisis. She has conducted field work in Ghana and Honduras and, in the summer of 2016, was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship to study Urdu in northern India. She helped launch the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, located at the Owen School of Management, and senior year, served as Student Body President, advocating to central administration on behalf of the 6,000+ undergraduates.
2. De Kai - Professor and founder of HKUST’s Human Language Technology Center
De Kai is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST, and was named among only 17 scientists worldwide as a Founding ACL Fellow by the Association for Computational Linguistics, for his pioneering contributions to machine translation and machine learning foundations of systems like the Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft translators. His PhD thesis was one of the first to spur the paradigm shift toward machine learning based natural language processing technologies. He also founded HKUST's Human Language Technology Center, which launched the world's first web translator over twenty years ago. In 2015, Debrett's HK 100 recognized him as one of the 100 most influential figures of Hong Kong.
3. Jonas Tesfu, CEO and Co-Founder of Pangea Accelerator
Jonas Tesfu is a serial entrepreneur and investor, and the CEO and Co-Founder of Pangea Accelerator, an investment and competence development platform that connects talented and impact-driven startups with international angel investors and African diaspora investors. Jonas Tesfu has a strong business and management background from P&G & Ericsson and has experience working with investments in emerging markets and Impact Investments.
4. Mark Nelson, founder of the Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford
Former relief-worker, investment banker, and social entrepreneur, Mark Nelson founded and co-directs Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, where he researches mass collaboration and mass interpersonal persuasion. Mark focuses on designing, catalysing, incentivising, and generating resources to scale up collective positive human behaviour change. He has described a functional, quantitative definition of peace, in terms of technology-mediated engagement episode quantity and quality across social difference lines; he has identified innovative, automated ways to measure peace and has developed a formal structural description for Peace Data. He leads the Global OPEN Social Sensor Array project, and designs technology interventions to increase mutually beneficial engagement across conflict boundaries. Mark’s mission is to create an entire new, profitable industry, where positive peace is delivered as a service. Mark is also a researcher and practitioner at Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and a member of Stanford’s Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory.
5. Fatima Abdulla - Founding member of XBorder Angels
Fatima Abdulla is a global angel investor who has worked on global innovation and growth strategies across Samsung in South Korea, South African Endeavor entrepreneurs, portfolio companies for VSpring Capital, and now IBM clients. She is also an angel investor and founding member of XBorder Angels, an organization that partners with local governments, accelerators, incubators, and other ecosystem champions to invest in the best early-stage startups globally and also in crypto-opportunities.
6. Liza Licht, CEO of Future Design Station
Meet the psychologist behind Sophia! Liza Lichtinger, who designed the personality of the humanoid robot that became the first-ever citizen robot in Saudi Arabia, will take over the stage at Vested Summit. An entrepreneur since she was 17, Liza Lichtinger is now starting the NeuroQuant Fund, which invests in early stage companies and helps founders with mindful practical decision making. She is also on the advisory board of NewPathVR, bringing Emotional Intelligence to higher quality lives in Virtual Reality.
7. Rahim Mngwaya, CEO and Co-Founder of Colifly
Rahim is a founder of Colifly, a company that makes drones used deliver lifesaving medical drugs and vaccines to rural Tanzania. The company has been able to pilot test flights to various refugee camps in the western Tanzania, and planning to fully establish the service in urban areas as well by the end of this year. Rahim is passionate about sharing knowledge with the community in terms of technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
8. Brian Pagán, Founder & UX Coach at The Greatness Studio
Brian brings stories to life on stage, screen, and in digital products. For over 16 years, he's designed everything from websites to digital strategy, from award-winning health apps to blockchain services. And he founded The Greatness Studio to help you design like a superhero. Since 2015, he also performs in short films, commercials, and theatre productions. Brian believes that our true superpowers come from where art and science meet, so his work combines the best of both worlds.
9. Samar AbdelFattah, Hyperloop Project Director at Sypron Solutions
A passionate social oriented aerospace engineer, Samar believes in utilising tech enhance social experience, specifically in developing countries. She is the founder of the first Hyperloop team in the Middle-East and Africa that won the innovation award at the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, and has received the judges award from the Dubai Government in the Build.Earth.Live hackathon to design the Hyperloop capsule and station. Her research papers, on Conceptual Design of a Hyperloop Capsule Using Linear Induction Propulsion System and Project Dragonfly: Sail to the stars, have been published after her team received the innovation award from the i4is and The British Interplanetary Society in London. Motivated by Education, that's why founded the first International Summer School on Hyperloop, that will launch August 2018 in Dubai, UAE.
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