How to prepare for post-oil MENA [Wamda TV]

This video was first posted on the Coentrepreneurship platform.

“We need to figure out what are the things here [in the MENA region] that are equivalent to the factories in Shenzhen and the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.”

Joichi Ito, Director of MIT’s Media Lab, drew links between the major centers of entrepreneurial and industrial activities and MENA during his keynote speech at the Collaborative Entrepreneurship Summit, held by Expo 2020 Dubai and Wamda in May.

The summit gathered startups and corporations from across MENA to discuss the importance of cooperation, and think ahead to a post-oil era.

Another era Ito highlighted was one he called BI - Before Internet which he mentions at minute 6:50.

While there is no doubt that the rise of the internet has changed the world, he believes the secret to success today is in the ability to adapt to the new rules of the game. He identifies the experiences of big, successful companies that were able to win this new game [listen from 6:20-11:40].

He advised entrepreneurs to tackle harder problems where he thinks there is a “real opportunity” for them. However, he reminded them that to be able to do such a thing, they need to work with big companies.

Ito said this game introduced a new meaning to investment risk [11:40-15:10], and he highlighted the importance of agility in investing and innovating in order to achieve success [15:10-21:00].

Looking ahead into the future of tech, Ito said fields such as bio-intelligence and artificial intelligence would be very successful in the future and might help the MENA region become like Silicon Valley and Shenzhen - if investors, corporations and startups in this region knew how to capitalize on them [21:30-24.40].  

Bitcoin, however, was an example of a technology he was concerned about given that bitcoin is outpacing internet in 1995 (when it was really growing) in terms of finance, while this technology is still “very very immature compared to where the internet was in 95”.  Especially since “only a couple of hundred people in the world really understand the cryptography and the distributed computing behind this cryptocurrency” [24:30-25:50].  

In addition, he introduced concepts such as ‘culture fork’ and ‘serendipity’ in which cooperation between corporations and startups would be valuable as they both sought future success.  [26:00-31:00].

Ito ended by focusing on the prospects for artificial intelligence or as they call it in MIT Media Lab “Extended intelligence” that has already started with phones acting like the “extension of your mind” and its progress so far, pushing man to better himself [31:00-end.

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