AI thought leaders headline SingularityU SA Summit

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 22 May 2024
Mark Nasila, head of advanced analytics, chief risk officer and retail banking at First National Bank.
Mark Nasila, head of advanced analytics, chief risk officer and retail banking at First National Bank.

The convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, food science and democratised AI are among the topics that will be discussed by innovation experts at the SingularityU South Africa Summit 2024, held in collaboration with Old Mutual.

The event returns in physical format this year, on 21 and 22 October. With over 1 500 delegates expected, it will take place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

According to the organisers, it will be the first local event to feature a dedicated metaverse track. People from all over the world will be able to access the main stage and plenary sessions in an immersive 3D format, via the Africarare metaverse.

The first 10 international and local speakers have been announced, with their presentations premised on imparting a strategic focus to future-proof Africa and help business leaders leverage the latest innovations to solve global challenges.

Cyber security expert Jaya Baloo will return to the stage to share insights on guarding the digital frontier. Emad Mostaque, founder of Stability AI and creator of image generation tool Stable Diffusion, will address the future of decentralised and democratised AI.

Food scientist Arturo Elizondo, who concentrates on improving the global nutrition system, will discuss the future of protein in a plant-based ecosystem. Cathy Hackl, founder of Spatial Dynamics, will deliver a keynote on immersion in the spatial web.

Tech venture capitalist Karine Arama will start conversations around the convergence of AI and blockchain, and the future of the venture capital investing landscape.

Carlo van de Weijer, a smart mobility and AI visionary from Eindhoven University of Technology, in the Netherlands, will steer the discussion around the future of mobility, while sharing the latest global innovations in mobility solutions.

“In a world where technology is rapidly reshaping the horizons of our possibilities, this year’s SingularityU South Africa Summit is a beacon for innovation,” said Mic Mann, co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa, speaking yesterday at the pre-event media briefing in Johannesburg.

“Collaborating with Old Mutual enables us to enhance our platform, where global leaders in technology will illuminate the path towards a sustainable and prosperous future. Our commitment is stronger than ever to empower visionaries and leaders with the insights needed to harness exponential technologies for the greater good of Africa and the world.”

With AI currently super-charging every aspect of business and society, the summit will see the world’s thought leaders on this topic congregate to equip delegates with the foresight needed to harness this phenomenon, according to the organisers.

Cyber security expert Jaya Baloo.
Cyber security expert Jaya Baloo.

AI ethics sociologist Alix Rubsaam will explore the societal impacts of bridging the human and digital realms. Adam Pantanowitz (PhD) will speak on the shifts that are leading to the convergence of humans and machines.

Benjamin Rosman, University of the Witwatersrand professor of machine learning and robotics, will dive into the algorithms that are reshaping how machines learn and interact.

Professor Mark Nasila, head of advanced analytics, chief risk officer and retail banking at First National Bank, will discuss the African AI renaissance.

Now entering its sixth year, the summit will also cover energy, ESG (environmental, social and governance), food, leadership, medicine, robotics, technology, the future of work, virtual reality and water. More speakers will be announced leading up to the event.

“As Old Mutual advances its digital transformation and prepares for the launch of a digital bank, the upcoming two-day SingularityU Summit − featuring top experts in AI, technology, science and futurism − offers a chance to glean invaluable insights from those shaping the future of tech and society,” commented Celiwe Ross, director: group strategy, sustainability, people and public affairs at Old Mutual.

Ancillary events, networking opportunities and the final programme for the summit will be announced in the coming months.

Ticket prices are R14 500 per person. For more information, visit the SingularityU South Africa Summit website.