Experts gathered for Expo’s latest themed talks to examine our understanding and trust in technological advancements

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution firmly upon us, and technology deeper and more pervasive than ever, how can we better understand its role in connecting us and its power to change how we live, work and interact with our surroundings?

These complex questions were addressed by leading tech experts during Expo 2020 Dubai’s latest virtual World Majlis, titled ‘In tech we trust? Understanding and trusting new technology’.

Speaking on technology and a “feeling of control”, panellist Arun Sundararajan, Professor of Technology, Operations and Statistics, Stern Business School at New York University (NYU), said: “If you measure the right things, the impact of technological progress on the world – historically and in the latest iteration of digital and bio-technologies – has been overwhelmingly positive.

“But with the rapid pace of change that we are now encountering, there is a tendency to focus on what goes wrong. [For example] when we talk about cybersecurity, we always talk about a breach, when 99.9 per cent of the time everything happens the way it’s supposed to.”

Sundararajan noted this perceived sense of losing control was also, in part, because of the “unpredictability” associated with the pace of technological adoption.

The World Majlis discussion wrapped up ‘Expo Talks: Travel and Connectivity’, a series of virtual panel discussions on 16 February that brought together experts, alongside Expo ’s International Participants and official partners, providing a glimpse of how the six-month event will bring to life the theme of travel and connectivity.

“Technology has streamed directly into society and society has a near real-time say in where we are, how we feel, what we do and where we should be going,” said fellow World Majlis panellist Marc O’Regan, Chief Technology Officer, Dell Technologies EMEA.

“It’s very hard, not just for the consumers of that information, but [also] for the curators and the guardians of that information. How that’s shared and imported into society is under question,” he added, noting that, despite this, technology for good far outweighs the negatives – citing medical advances in the detection of cancer through to the Mars rovers.

Is fixing food cultivation the key to ecological harmony?

Government, UN food and agricultural experts, world-class chefs and food bloggers will probe how food is contributing to ecological damage – and how we can fix it – at the latest themed ‘Expo Talks’ event

Food is among the primary requirements for human survival. Yet humanity’s desire to ensure the abundance of one of its most fundamental needs has wrought ecological damage to our planet. So how do we balance future food demands for billions of people with our need to protect the planet?

That question is at the heart of ‘Expo Talks: Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods’, a virtual event that will explore how we can produce food while promoting ecological harmony, through sustainable agricultural practices and new innovations that maximise productivity across the planet.

Livestreamed from 1030 on 23 February, the digital symposium will feature insights from Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security; Janusz Wojciechowski, European Commissioner for Agriculture; and Eugene Willemsen, CEO of PepsiCo, Africa, Middle East and South Asia.

Renowned food bloggers will offer their unique insights, with Chef Megha Kohli, Head Chef at Lavaash by Saby in New Delhi, on hand to teach healthy, nutritious recipes that use less water, produce less waste and mitigate the impact of food systems on biodiversity and the environment.

Wrapping up the event, experts participating in a World Majlis, titled ‘How will we eat? Innovations in nutrition and farming that will help feed the next two billion people’, will explore how the agricultural needs of a predicted nine billion people by 2050 can be balanced with protecting our planet’s resources.

Expo Talks: Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods is the latest in a series of thematic talks – launched in October 2020 with Space – that bring together influential policymakers, thought-leaders, Expo participants and the public to help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during Expo 2020.