2018 post conference

You are here

People and sustainability will drive the digital revolution, RAID 2018 hears

At RAID (Robotics, AI, IoT and Data) 2018, around 200 business leaders, technologists and policy makers joined two days of discussions at prestigious venues across Paris to determine how digitalisation can best be deployed to drive trade and industry in Europe and along China’s new silk road.

More photos from RAID 2018 >>

In his opening speech, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister of France; Chairman, Fondation Prospective et Innovation said: “Fear should not stall technology development. Disruptive technologists should not be afraid of the new silk road. The Belt and Road Initiative must be a green road, compatible with the Paris Agreement.

“The societal impact of disruptive technologies is key to peaceful development.”

Wu Lebin, Chairman, Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings said: “AI, IoT, blockchain, big data are all cutting edge technologies indeed.

“We have an ocean of opportunities ahead of us, in industries like healthcare, creative industries, leisure. And then there is the ‘liquid sunshine’ technology: methane is like clean oil, a tremendous source of clean energy. We need to live in a clean environment, we cannot survive in a polluted environment.”

“There are also structural opportunities ahead. Europe is a huge market.

“Unfortunately the silk road is not the most developed. We need to match supply and demand - when both meet it will be to great effect.”


Maria van der Hoeven, former Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, former Executive Director of IEA and senior fellow at Clingendael Energy said:

“All revolutions bring uncertainty and chaos because old paradigms lose their validity and need to be replaced by others.

“AI systems must do what we want them to do. Politicians and scientists should ask questions about the global governance of AI and power dynamics between different groups of stakeholders.


“Europe can take the lead in regulating AI. Digitalisation is at the heart of the EU strategy. We have a wealth of public sector data to feed AI systems.

“We have to ensure there is digital trust along the digital silk road. it needs to be reciprocal. We have to find the right equilibrium between investments in EU and China.”

Prof. Tony Prescott, Director, Sheffield Robotics said:
“We are just in the beginning of the commercial and industrial application of AI.

“Europe and the UK have been the source of many of the biggest innovations in AI. At the intersection of biology and AI, Europe is particularly strong. But we shouldn't make the mistake of thinking there is no more research to do.

“Computing power comes at a price. In just 10 days Alpha Go used as much energy as his human chess opponent would in his entire lifetime. We need to look at sustainable ways of powering the AI revolution. We are at peak extraction rates of rare elements, and in coming years we will reach peak availability. We can look to biological systems which are paragons of sustainability – they make use of the most basic elements we have on the planet. This can take AI and robotics to the next level.

“The economy needs consumers as much as it needs producers. As these opportunities with robotics come through, they need to apply to everybody. We need to think creatively about how we share wealth and to consider a universal basic income.”


Prof. Tony Prescott

Lars Hülsmann, CCO, Kaiserwetter Energy Asset Management said:
“We have one and half years to go before we need to reduce emissions by 50 per cent to meet the Paris target to keep mother earth as it is today. The ratio between conventional and renewable energy needs to reverse - not 80:20 but 20:80.

“Renewable sources are less predictable. Digitalisation plays a tremendous role in addressing this challenge. Renewable energy is unthinkable without increased storage capacity and efficient distribution - this can only be achieved thought IoT.

“The country most affected by this shift is China, because industrial output is still growing rapidly in China.”

Wei QI, President, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Quantum Network said: “We have a huge population in China. Because of this we have a lot of consumers, who have huge needs for broadband. So, we need great capacity for data processing.

“China is quite strong in applied sciences but less strong in fundamental sciences – hence the need for cooperation with China through joint ventures. China is interested in technical cooperation especially since US closed the door to technical cooperation. We can buy some companies and hire more talent.”

The continued disruption of industry verticals was a major discussion point amongst corporate leaders at RAID.

Ģirts Bērziņš, Head of Strategy Digital Banking, Swedbank said: “A perfect storm is facing the banking industry. We can learn from other industries that have been disrupted.”

The issue of standardisation between companies and countries was also widely discussed.

Prof. Dr. Paul F.M.J. Verschure, Director, SPECS lab said: “
How big is the existential risk posed by AI?
The biggest risk for humanity is humans. We now live in the Anthropocene, humans are the dominant force in shaping this planet for better and for worse. Right now more for worse. The club of Rome already told us that there are limits to growth, this has not changed, to the contrary and we are paying a very high price for ignoring that important message. Future technology should be directed towards overcoming human failure rather than preying on it..”

Paul O’Brien, Director of the Service, Security and Operations Lab at BT said: “If you want the new generation of AI  to cooperate with each other, it’s a wasteland in terms of standards. There is a real gap in terms of interoperability and standards in this space.”

Feng Xuhui, Chairman of the Board, Software Engineering Centre at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said: “We have created a steering committee on standards. These have been very warmly welcomed by companies and can be widely shared and adopted.

“As our economy grows companies are becoming more involved in this process. We are trying to comply with international standards.”

Conference Organisers


RAID Conference and Exhibition addresses new innovations and disruptive technologies in areas of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet-of-Things and Data


  • Cavendish Group
    2nd Floor Front, 116-118 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PP, United Kingdom
    Tel: +44 (0)203 675 9530
    Email: raid@cavendishgroup.co.uk

Subscribe for email updates