Equitise and Australasia's First SingularityU Conference

Uesi Unasa, Equitise’s Investment Associate, attended Australasia’s inaugural Singularity University Conference held at the Hornscastle Arena in Christchurch from the 14th -16th of November. This was part of Equitise’s ongoing initiative to be involved in providing market-leading technology to our companies and investors.

The Singularity University summit is a gathering of some of the world’s leading minds to speak on the exponential innovations occurring in the technology industry and the impact that it will have on the future of New Zealand and Australia. The speakers were wide-ranging, from ground-breaking technologists in the field of self-driving cars and digital biology to speakers operating in traditional fields such as education. Key members from the field of Policy and Government also spoke about the implications that these advancements would have on New Zealand’s regulatory environment in a world utilising Artificial Intelligence.

Equally as impressive were the technologies that were on display outside the arena, including Baxter the AI robot and ThoughtWired who were showing off a mind controlled toy car. The demonstrations served to reveal that the gap between sci-fi movie and real-world technology is not as far apart as many assume. Kaila Colbin, NZ Ambassador for Singularity University, drove this point home with the conference’s opening talk on exponential technologies and what the implications of Moore’s Law might look like to New Zealand in 5, 10 and 20 years.

In what was perhaps the most well-received speech on the first day, the audience was challenged to reassess the industry in which they operated. David Roberts, HaloDrop and 1Qbit Chairman, gave a talk on the history of disruption, paying close attention to the history of the spice trade.

In his analysis, Roberts revealed one of the biggest drivers of the purchase of spices was the myth that spices preserve food. At first, this appeared absurd to the audience, but Roberts went on to describe the man who disrupted the entire spice industry - Frederick Tudor. The talk covered Tudor’s entrepreneurial endeavours of transporting Boston ice around the world in insulated ships, amassing a fortune at the expense of global spice traders. Continuing with this trend, the talk moved from Tudor’s enterprise to the disruptive icebox and eventually moved to the modern-day fridge. Technology had rendered the spice trade a shell of what it once was.

So what could displace the modern-day fridge? Genetic modification and effective drone delivery are two potentially disruptive technologies in this space. These are already being developed by thought leaders around the world.

Robert’s talk was a microcosm of the Singularity University conference and implored the audience to revisit the assumptions that we make in our everyday lives. Equitise is eager to apply these philosophies to the capital raising process and hopes to partner with innovative companies who are on the same journey in their respective fields.

Overall, SingularityU was a great event to be a part of – watch this space for more commentary on the Singularity University conference in the next series of blogs.

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