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Here’s what to expect at Future Human 2022

As Future Human welcomes back an in-person audience at the new Trinity Business School in Dublin, we take a look at what you can expect over the two-day event.

Future Human is set to kick off in person in Dublin next week (12-13 May), albeit with a limited audience and a large online contingent.

Taking place in the state-of the-art new Trinity Business School, the Silicon Republic event promises to be a thought-provoking mix of tech, science, world affairs, the arts and humanity.

Future Human

The line-up is almost complete and attendees can now get a sense of how they might spend their Thursday and Friday at the event.

As with its previous incarnation Inspirefest, Future Human does not silo speakers into different specialist stages, but rather follows the philosophy that whatever your profession, you have something to learn from all the hand-picked contributors.

Therefore, the event will have one carefully curated main stage with no parallel tracks, closing at lunchtime on Friday to facilitate smaller intimate masterclass sessions with a focus on leadership development.

Here are just a few highlights you can expect at the event.

Future of climate action

The highly regarded and prolific broadcaster and author Prof Alice Roberts will open the future of climate session on Thursday afternoon, looking at the future of the planet and respect for the natural world.

This will be followed by a fascinating expert panel discussion on the work going on across Europe to secure a sustainable future.

Future of leadership and entrepreneurship

Friday morning will give attendees a rare opportunity to hear from the New York-based president of Aon, Eric Andersen, on how the future of leadership looks in our new reality.

Guests can also expect fascinating insights from other leaders such as Irish unicorn Intercom’s co-founder Des Traynor, who will be doing an exclusive fireside chat on Thursday morning with event founder and curator Ann O’Dea. Sharon Vosmek of Astia Fund returns to close the stage on Thursday.


Sharon Vosmek speaking at Inspirefest 2017. Image: Conor McCabe

Future of Ukraine

The event’s organisers have been adamant from day one that the Ukrainian innovation sector should have a voice at Future Human, so will be dialling in the IT Ukraine Association’s director, Konstantin Vasyuk, to a panel that includes Ukrainian government digital adviser Yuliya Garyacha and Tech Link Ukraine co-founder Neill Dunwoody on Thursday morning.

This will be followed on Friday by a fascinating talk on geopolitics and technology from Paris, with Prof Alice Pannier of the French Institute of International Relations.

Future of innovation

Global chief innovation officer for Aon, Jillian Slyfield, will join us in Dublin on Thursday to look at how the future is now, with a focus on changing consumer behaviours, shifting social narratives during the pandemic, and the everyday evolutions of innovations in the way we work, live and manage our customers.

Last week, Slyfield spoke to about her role and shared some examples of how Aon is creating solutions to address new and complex challenges.

A headshot of Aon's chief innovation officer Jillian Slyfield.

Jillian Slyfield. Image: Aon

Future of software

Regulars to Silicon Republic events will know there is often a focus on how technology makes for a better world.

This will surely be the case on Friday when attendees get to hear about the work Keith Davey of Marino Software and Trevor Vaugh of RTÉ’s The Big Life Fix are doing to literally give Charlie Bird back his voice as he lives with motor neurone disease. There will also be a cameo from Bird himself.

Future of the web

On Thursday afternoon, the organisers have gathered experts and practitioners to look at what Web3 and NFTs have in store for us as they delve into the challenges and opportunities with Launchpool Web3 Techstars Accelerator managing director Pete Townsend in the chair.

He will be chatting with Time Digital president Bharat Krish, GamiFi CEO Laura Walsh dialling in from Singapore, and crypto-art pioneer Kevin Abosch.

Dialling in on Friday will be Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, a Dublin-based writer, performer and cultural consultant from India, with a passion for all things STEAM.

Future of work

As workplace strategies have been turned on their head in recent years, Rand Fishkin’s talk on the concept of ‘chill work’ will be unmissable on Friday afternoon, offering smart tips for leaders and their teams.

A headshot of Rand Fishkin in a suit smiling at the camera.

Rand Fishkin. Image: SparkToro

There will also be a panel on the future of work on Thursday afternoon with Dee Coakley of Boundless, Aon chief people officer Lisa Stevens, who oversees a workforce of more than 50,000 people, and Hatch Analytics founder Monica Parker.

Future of health and wellbeing

A pharmacist by trade, some may have seen Jack Kavanagh recently on The Tommy Tiernan Show talking about his journey since his spinal cord injury, but on Friday he will offer his insights into health and wellbeing, a very unique perspective indeed.

Kavanagh sits on the board of the National Disability Authority and its Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, as well as on the board of leadership development organisation Common Purpose Ireland.

Professional development and networking

While many of us have not had much of an opportunity to spend quality time with peers and make new connections, Future Human’s organisers will close the main stage on Friday after lunch to help rectify this.

Friday afternoon will feature a choice of carefully curated masterclasses with visiting experts from Aon and a programme designed by Trinity Business School Executive Education.

These masterclasses will have themes from digital disruption to climate change metrics, mastering hybrid meetings and healthcare innovation. The schedule for these will be released on Monday (9 May).

Alternatively, attendees may choose to wander the Trinity College campus and chat with new friends or network with peers online.

A limited number of in-person tickets for Future Human are still available. But for those who can’t make it, there are plenty of online tickets, offering access to the full main stage programme and a range of online masterclasses.

Future Human is Silicon Republic’s international sci-tech event focusing on the future of work, climate, entrepreneurship, leadership and the web. The event will take place on 12-13 May 2022, and in-person and online tickets are available at the Future Human website. For more information, you can also sign up to the Future Human newsletter for event updates and special offers.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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