YEREVAN—In October, Armenia became the innovation hub of the world. More than 90 scientists and 1000 participants from 20 countries participated in the Global Innovation Forum (GIF). Dubbed “Transforming Intelligence,” the three-day event was organized by the Foundation of Armenian Science and Technology (FAST). It was held during the Aurora Forum, which is a new arena for global citizens who aspire to tackle the world’s pressing challenges by embracing the best humanitarian and educational practices to further social, cultural and scientific-technological developments.
“We used to look at the human being through the lenses of – ‘I am what I am,’” said FAST CEO Armen Orujian. “In the era of technology, we look at us through the lenses of, ‘I am what I want to be.’ It is not an out of body desire, rather it is fate that is controlled by the species itself. And, how now that physical and social construct changes when you apply Artificial Intelligence (AI). How do we improve our bodies with new discoveries in genomics, genetics, and biotechnology in general?”
GIF acts as a platform to bridge academia, industry, governments, policymakers, international organizations and financial institutions, assembling the brightest minds and executives from diverse worlds to shape the future of scientific and technological transformation.
The second Global Innovation Forum (GIF) on “Transforming Intelligence” was set to explore the impact of AI on science and society from scientific, technological and industrial perspectives. At GIF19, leading scientists and thought leaders engaged in academic discussions and visionary debates, sharing their expertise and research findings. The GIF19 was held in the atmosphere of futurism enlivened with an immersive experience.
“We believe strongly that the world is changing,” said co-founder and FAST board member Ruben Vardanyan. “And the world is changing the way in which we will see very important transformations. The human being is not not based on how much money he or she earns or what is their professional development. The meaning of life is now superseding this. The meaning of life will become clear or at least you can get some answers only if you live in an ecosystem which allows you to professionally and personally develop yourself. So, with my partners, we are trying to create an ecosystem in Armenia which could be attractive not only to Armenians in Armenia, but also Armenians who live abroad, non-Armenians who come to Armenia who feel that Armenia is a unique place where they can self-develop, and be happy.”
“We happen to be in Armenia, which is a special privilege because the promise of progress is very encouraging,” said co-founder and FAST board member Noubar Afeyan. “Only by bringing people from all over the world, so they can learn from our experience, and we can learn from their experience. We live in a world where we are meant to be reasonable, where are meant to be logical, where we are meant to be highly knowledgeable. And yet if you ask yourself the question of why there should be the extraordinary results coming from the reasonable people doing reasonable things that’s a difficult question to answer. Reasonable states are very gradual and implemental, and we think that change in the world happens through unexpected huge leaps. And the people who make these leaps, many in the room hopefully today are completely unreasonable.”
Speakers included founders of leading Silicon Valley startups and representatives from Google DeepMind, Google Brain, Facebook AI, Microsoft, Flagship Pioneering organizations and ABBYY company groups. There were also scientists and professors from Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Edinburgh.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan introduced his formal remarks with an important announcement, inviting the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Armenia Eric Grigoryan and the founding director of FAST Armen Orujyan to the stage. “Our government has developed a very ambitious plan that should reach its peak on October 10, 2020. On this day, we plan to plant 10 million trees in the Republic of Armenia on the 10th day of the 10th month, which will symbolize the unity of 10 million Armenians around Armenian statehood, the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Armenia.”