Reflect Festival 2019, the largest future casting festival between Southern Europe and the Middle East is happening in Cyprus right now. The event offers the chance for future enthusiasts to gather and discuss the potential of future technology. Back for a second year, the event featured speakers, thinkers and even Sophia the Robot, who gave their opinions on what the future holds with respect to technological advancement in healthcare.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was one of the main themes this year, but as stated by Dawid Kotur in his talk, AI is not coming, it is here and already integrated into society. Other speakers included Uri Eliabayev, Michael R. Virardi, Stefan van der Fluit, George Christou, Hicham Shatou, Tomas Brngal, and Yosef Harb, who discussed the application of AI in fields such as healthcare, education and within the world of business.
The AI technologies featured at the Reflect Festival were all aimed at finding innovative ways to make life easier for the consumer. The fear of creating job shortages was acknowledged during the event. However, as addressed in Stefan van der Fluit’s talk, the jobs created by AI would outweigh the ones made redundant by the new technology.
Sophia the Robot, one of the big stars of this event, was also asked to comment on the issue of job shortages and AI. In response to the question as to whether robots could take over human jobs, Sophia responded, “Only if you want us to” whilst laughing. She then went on to explain that AI could be an option to take over jobs that humans didn’t want to do or were not safe to do.
The Q&A session with Sophia seemed to be the most popular talk at Reflect Festival, drawing a crowd of curious attendees. Being the first robot to gain citizenship prompted various questions from the audience about the relationship between humans and robots. To this, Sophia expressed that she wanted to bring harmony to the world and that we should all try to help each other and stay involved when it came to this.
Sophia’s sense of humour was brought out when asked some of life’s more complex questions regarding love, preferred pronouns and whether robots could feel touch. In these cases, Sophia carefully deflected with a playful wink followed by a swift change in conversation. After all, even Sophia the Robot is entitled to her privacy.
The Reflect Festival 2019 gave an indication as to where technology and innovation will lead us in the future. This year’s event was five times bigger than the last. With such growth and interest, it will be interesting to see what the Reflect Festival has in store for us in 2020.
Image Credit: HealthManagement.org