Technoimaginarium: the Laws of Technology Development in the Post-covid World Were Determined at the Open Innovations Forum


What new challenge does the post-covid world bring to the technological agenda? What should companies do that do not want to get into a technological dead end? How does the pandemic force us to reconsider values, habits, and behaviors? Experts and futurologists discussed these issues at the Technoimaginarium session, organized by RVC on the third day of the Open Innovations Forum.

“We were all wrong in not knowing that a pandemic would happen. There have been incredible changes. Now we need to make sure that the technologies discussed for the past five years — all these “clouds”, robots, artificial intelligence — work together, in harmony. The most “angible” change was working remotely, but this is the iceberg's visible part. What matters is not where we work, but how to do it”, said Mike Walsh, CEO of the Tomorrow global consulting company.

According to the expert, people will need mobility and autonomy in the near future, backed up by many “shared” memory — documented solutions to quickly get new employees up to date and track how the company evolves. Objectivity will be of particular importance — discussing a problem and deciding based on analytic data, not from relationships between the team members.

“The concept of directional speed becomes important in the decision-making process — whoever runs faster wins”, said Mike Walsh.

Marco Delaini, vice president of Fanuc Europe Corporation for Eastern Europe, believes that the pandemic will significantly expand the use of “service” robots.

“All these fit into sustainable development trends — more efficiency, less consumption of resources, and waste. Previously, the demand for cobots — robots that work together with humans — was at 5%. Now it is much higher. Service robots that vacuum, clean, wash are needed not only by industry but by all of us because they can ensure the proper level of safety”, said Marco Delaini.

Mikhail Antonov, Deputy General Director - Director for Development of Innovative Infrastructure at RVC, noted that the world expects a sharp change in value and behavioral models.

“Humanity is changing rapidly, and we are only at the beginning of the path. No matter how wonderful predictors we are, we still do not know how everything will be. Therefore, we need “time machines”. But not those that will move us from the past to the future, but those that will allow us to bring the future now”, said the expert.

Technological contests organized by RVC together with ASI and the Skolkovo Foundation can become such “time machines”. Competitors solve global problems, trying to overcome the “technological bottleneck”. For example, the task of the Up Great PRO // READING competition is to teach artificial intelligence to “understand” texts at the level of an average teacher. Such technologies can be used to create universal translators, teacher assistants, and call centers.

Besides, according to Mikhail Antonov, the pandemic has “thrown up” a new competition task to create “clean zones”: “How to make a city bus safe? We have to diagnose and disinfect ten people on six square meters in about a minute. What an excellent task”.

According to the founder of The Future agency Gerd Leonhard, technologies are inherently neutral. The main question is who will guide them and where the boundaries of reason and ethics will pass.

“It used to be thought that data was the new oil. Now it is plutonium that can be used for manipulation”, the expert said. The pandemic began a global transformation process comparable to World War II.

“There is only one scenario — completely turn the other way. Now we are standing in the fog at the crossroads. Leonardo da Vinci created the Renaissance man. Today, we must understand the world through the lens of technology”, said Gerd Leonhard.

The name “big reboot” is ideally suited to what is happening now globally, said Nikolai Butvina — executive partner of Gartner. As a result of the “reboot”, augmented reality technologies, cloud solutions, artificial intelligence, machine learning, hyper-automation, the ability to operate with different communication channels will become particularly in demand.

“The next generation of computer technology is coming — the quantum computer. Biohacking, upgrading people, storing data in DNA, creating a digital twin of the planet — this is what will happen tomorrow and what makes sense to invest in”, Nikolai Butvina said.

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