Day 1 - Gala Event
Day 2 - Panels
Day 3 - Panels
Featuring speeches by H.E. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, and József Pálinkás, President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office Hungary, the Opening Ceremony of the first instalment of think.BDPST will take place at 6pm on 8 March 2016 at the Vigadó of Pest. The ceremony is to be accompanied by a concert by a renowned ensemble from the V4 region, as well as a reception starting at 7pm.
17:30 - 18:00
HE Péter Szijjártó
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
Dr József Pálinkás
National Research, Development and Innovation Office Hungary
Mayor of Budapest
HE Péter Szijjártó - Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
Dr József Pálinkás - President
István Tarlós - Mayor of Budapest
think.BDPST, the major innovation forum of the region, was organised for the second time in Budapest on 29-31 March. Representatives of the business, government, and academia discussed the key challenges of Hungary and the Central European region in the fields of digital economy, labour market trends, educational reforms, healthcare, and the pharmaceutics. The aim of the conference is to provide an annual strategic forum to enhance the regional collaboration of the business, governmental and academic sectors in the fields of innovation and research & development.
The second think.BDPST conference was opened by Veronika Antall-Horváth, Head of Project, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Dr József Pálinkás, President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and Dr Gábor Bagdy, Vice Mayor of Budapest.
During her opening speech, Veronika Antall-Horváth emphasised the importance of innovation in the fields of digitalisation and healthcare as one of the main catalysers of the economic and societal development of the region. Therefore, it is crucially important for the V4 countries, especially for Hungary, to take the lead. For this purpose, Budapest is hosting the region’s biggest innovation forum, think.BDPST.
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, pointed out that Hungary would like to become more of an innovation centre. Thus, beginning next year all enterprises involved in research & development will be able deduct twice as much money from their taxable base as they spend on innovation. The Visegrad Cooperation could help Hungary in this endeavour as the four countries together can attract more investments that involve research & development and innovation than individually. One of the main strategic goals of the upcoming Hungarian V4 presidency is to connect the V4’s energy, transport, and digital system to a greater extent than before. The think.BDPST conference as a strategic innovation forum is more timely due to the fact that there are such rapid changes occurring in the world that are leading to the establishment of a new world order. The 2008 global economic crisis showed that the global economy could not return to previous politics. The Hungarian government has recognised that change is necessary, and accordingly since 2010 Hungary has a new political and economic strategy. As a result of this reform, Hungary has now become part of the solution, not part of the problem. The correctness of the new path is indicated by the fact that while in 2010 Hungary was teetering on the edge of a precipice, today its economy is developing faster than the European average, and the Visegrád Group has become one of the engines of the European Union. This is well-illustrated by the fact that trade between the V4 and Germany is now 55 percent higher than between Germany and France. Work-based societies have developed in the four countries of the Visegrád Group. In the interest of this goal, Hungary, for example, is continuously decreasing the taxes and other burdens on work. Increasing our global competitiveness requires that we move forward from our current level of growth of 3 percent to a rate of 5 percent in the upcoming years. This is only possible if corporations that apply state-of-the-art technologies choose Hungary as their investment destination, and from the “Made in Hungary” period we step into the “Invented in Hungary” period. The conditions for this are already in place. As such, the Government decided to introduce the lowest level of corporate tax in the European Union at 9 percent and also to reduce social contributions. Additional targets include that by 2018 we will have successfully achieved our goal of enabling the whole country to have access to 30 megabit/second internet services, and by 2020 the majority of the country will enjoy internet access at speeds of 100MB/s.
Dr József Pálinkás, President of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, stated that the V4 countries could enhance their competitiveness in innovation through the coordinated and sustainable use of the research infrastructures, as well as the efficient use of funding aimed to boost research programmes. This is strengthened by the statement of V4 ministers issued on 28 March at the CEE Innovators Summit in Warsaw to reinforce the use of the funds of International Visegrad Fund in financing research and development and innovation projects. Regarding the research and development framework programme of the EU, the Horizon 2020, coordinated V4 cooperation is required to represent a common standpoint in strategic issues at the half-year evaluation and the planning of the new framework programme for the post-2020 period.
During his speech, Dr Gábor Bagdy, Deputy Mayor of Budapest for Budgetary Affairs, stated that the think.BDPST conference is the region’s most important professional event in the field, which plays a crucial role in the life of the capital too. Budapest has always put a great emphasis both on the development of the start-up ecosystem of the capital and its promotion at national and international grounds. Budapest is increasingly being referred to as one of the most liveable cities: the aim of the city’s administration is to place Budapest on the list of the most sustainable and liveable cities. Budapest buzzwords are ‘innovation’ and ‘smart city,’ which are illustrated by successful urban development projects such as the MOL Bubi public bike-sharing system, the RIGO electronic ticketing system, the FUTÁR traffic management and passenger information system. The venue of the conference, Bálna Budapest, clearly depicts Budapest’s innovative state, combining the old with the new: the historical brick building and the concrete structures typical of the last century are embraced in a computer designed metal-glass shell.
The Middle East between a Rock and a Hard Place: a GCC Perspective
18:00 - 18:40
HE Sheikh Dr Mohamad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah
Former Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait
HE Sheikh Dr Mohamad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah - Former Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait
His Excellency Sheikh Dr Mohammad Al Sabah Al Mubarak Al Sabah, Former Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, expressed his appreciation for inviting him to this strategic conference. He mentioned that when he was passing by the Corvinus University of Budapest, he was inspired by its motto, “Scientia mea - adiutor meus,” meaning my knowledge is my helper. In a time of ample and severe challenges, which we have ahead of us, His Excellency firmly believes that we need knowledge to fight them.
Dr Al Sabah underlined that we share feelings of sadness for the lost lives of innocent civilians from London to Aleppo, as well as for the millions of refugees. Key states are fighting for their very survival. Humankind is in perilous times, ‘Thucydides’ trap” rightly informs us about the dangers of a rising power challenging the ruling power; peace and prosperity are at stake. Security implications of these processes are the rise of nationalism which will drive the EU and the USA apart. The lack of free trade and the crumbling of the Bretton Woods structures would destabilise the markets and as such the current world order is under extreme pressure. Old powers such as the USA, the UK, and France were the greatest powers influencing the developments of the 20th century. However, the situation is changing. In the 21st century, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are emerging actors influencing developments in the Middle East.
The Gulf Cooperation Council is actively working to solve crises in its region and beyond, and it is absolutely committed to combatting extremism. The Arab world pays a heavy price for sectarian forces. Policies must focus on the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict represents the case when major decisions were not made and, as consequence, no Israeli was secure and no Palestinian achieved statehood for more than six decades. In Yemen and Libya, there are positive steps and political roadmaps are set to achieve progress.
On the other hand, prospects in Syria are not encouraging, therefore, the world cannot afford to walk away from the conflict. The international community must solve this crisis. The Gulf Cooperation Council is committed to overcoming terrorism; we are part of an active coalition and our priority is to defeat ISIS. These day we are at a critical turning point.
As the ISIS cyber campaigns demonstrate, cyber technology is one of the most important technologies in the future. Massive disinformation campaigns and cyber interventions are undermining stability all around the world. The alarming phenomenon of “post-truth” must be fought. The GCC is well positioned to overcome these challenges. Free movement of ideas and dreams must be protected and furthered, and the empowerment of women must be embraced. Standing up against disinformation is required to navigate well on these troubled waters of our times. His Excellency confirmed that we always have to be aware that it is vital to be creative and smart, and we need to master the technology of the 21st century in order to win this battle.
Cultural Programme - Show
18:40 - 19:20
19:20 - 23:00
08:00 - 09:00
09:00 - 09:15
Parliamentary State Secretary and Deputy Minister
Prime Minister’s Office
How Digital Technology and Science are Shaping our Society?
09:15 - 10:30
Undersecretary of State
Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Poland
Ministry for National Economy of Hungary
Moderator: Waldemar Oldenburger, Director - Communications and Public Affairs, GE CEE
Paweł Chorąży - Undersecretary of State
István Lepsényi - State Secretary
The moderator, Waldemar Oldenburger, Director - Communications and Public Affairs, GE CEE, began the panel by outlining that 3D printing, robotics, big data, and cloud computing are the buzzwords today; we are all familiar with these expressions. Although technology influences the way in which we run our businesses, still we are at the beginning of the decade of digital industrial revolution.
According to some estimates, there will be more than 20 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. Innovation helps to create new services and new business models, but at the same time we have to fight unemployment and deal with job creation efficiently. Blue collar jobs are less and less preferable, but it is yet unclear what kind of qualification a fresh graduate shall have to get a proper job? Is Europe really ready for this transformation in terms of the labour market? After introducing the topics to be discussed, the moderator asked the question of how well the CEE countries perform when it comes to digitalisation, bringing up as an example Singapore, which is one of the most digitalised countries in the world.
Responding the question of how to assess the preparedness of countries for digital transformation, Paweł Chorąży, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Economic Development of the Republic of Poland, made it clear that we are somewhere between Singapore and Guinea. Being a country such as Singapore is not a realistic dream yet. Concerning the potential use of internet in the public sector, it is all about reliability and security, as well as the evasion of the suspicion of manipulation caused by hackers. Although Poland decided to vote electronically, due to severe technical issues in IT systems, this plan had to be postponed.
When it comes to IT, Poland has numerous young and talented graduates (14 000 IT students graduating each year), which puts the country on the level as the US, South Korea, and Russia. Poland is at a similar tech level as South Korea or the Silicon Valley. It is reassuring, however, the question is how success can be transformed into the whole economy and how we can prevent brain drain by innovation centres from all around the world. As for the topic of Digital Single Market, Minister Pawel said that capital has no nationality. Economic nationalism is changing. He was enthusiastic about common digital market, it creates the opportunity for outsourcing tasks to more advanced companies.
István Lepsényi, State Secretary for Economic Development and Regulation at the Ministry for National Development of Hungary, pointed out that, in the 21st century, internet access in not an issue anymore: we have now 4G+ networks in most of the country. As for digitalisation ranking, Hungary is in the middle, but moving up very fast, entering the world of digital economic life. Although Hungary is one of the best covered places by internet in the world, one of the worst in human capital. The country has to understand that big data changes both education and the world, i.e. the use of internet in the business sector. The government aims to digitalise pubic services because, from the technological perspective, all the communication of people with the administration would be possible through electronic documents and declarations. Thus, there would be no requirement of fees and payments for services made by personal administration. Mr Lepsényi also emphasised the importance of making a distinction between digitalisation and IT. A week prior to the think.BDPST conference, leaders of 12 European countries met in Rome and agreed to create a common and unified digital platform, which will function as an advisory board for governments. He introduced the Irinyi Plan named after the inventor of matches, which will unite all national digitalisation endeavours. According to him, a new industrial policy is necessary to increase the weight of the Hungarian economy.
The leading industry in Hungary is the automobile industry; therefore, industrial digitalisation becomes a fundamental question. Not only will big companies be able to profit from the development of the industry, but small and medium sized companies too. Industry 4.0. can help create a 8% growth in the next five years to come and that is why the government launched the Irinyi Plan, which contributes to the introduction of new technologies into production including robotics. The industrial sector in Hungary is composed of two main parts; that is, multinational companies and SMEs and start-ups, which would not be able to operate and develop without governmental support. Actively assisting the latter group in the initial period is of key importance to make sure that viable ideas would survive on the market and bring results. As for salary problems, Hungary tries to increase the efficiency and productivity of SMEs, and robots definitely have a profitable income. On the other hand, energy supply companies have to prepare for smart grids and solutions. Mr Lepsényi added that there is no question that the digital single market has to be established in the V4, but the different regulations present in the countries present some difficulties in doing so.
During the Q&A session, Minister Chorąży pointed out that we should consider taxing robots in the future. To complement this statement, Mr Lepsényi said that the 4th Industrial Revolution creates tasks and challenges too, as, for example, our children have to learn digital language in kindergarten. We have to teach them, as well as the teachers new skills and as those are quite difficult to be selected, a “Moving target education” has to be created.
Start-up and Innovation Corner, B2B meetings, Tech Exhibitors
09:30 - 18:30
Start-up and Innovation Corner, B2B meetings, Tech Exhibitors
10:30 - 10:40
10:40 - 11:40
geopolitical forecaster and strategist
George Friedman - geopolitical forecaster and strategist
The core message of the keynote lecture by Dr George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Futures, was that geography is not the only key factor regarding national power but technology too. The relationship between technology and national power is a critical one. The lecture’s aim was to put technology in a geopolitical context and explain its impact on economic, security, and social changes.
Dr Friedman started his lecture by saying that technology is driven by social needs. He concluded that innovation and its implementation have to correspond with the challenges, their current forms, and their expected future aspects. He made a distinction between core technologies and subtechnologies. While the purpose of the former is to change the way of human beings’ life, the latter aims to improve efficiency. Henceforward the first belongs to the level of science, the second to the level of business organisation. To underline this, he repeatedly referred to the statement: there is no technology without science.
Secondly, he gave the warning that technologies have unintended outcomes. For example, during the industrial revolution, there was no plan to reshape the world to how it became afterwards, which is the same challenge we have today. Technology affects the way nature works. (Details below.) Through the advancement of technology, the environment and geopolitics change as well.
Thirdly, he underlined that core technologies have a 50-year cycle. Until new core technology is found, productivity declines; the gap between the old and new technology usually lasts for 10 years.
When turning to the most transformative core technologies, he started with the steam engine. Industrial revolution was built upon the expansion of its role. This was the fundamental process for a lot of industries. On the geopolitical level, the British Empire ultimately rested on steam engine and its access to coal. Another unintended outcome of the use of the steam engine was the appearance of mass production (multiple factors working together) that led to growing cities. The next period’s economic productivity depended on the internal combustion engine and the use of gas oil. It was more efficient in using and storing energy and needed smaller place (which improves efficiency). Its application made possible to set up the consumer society that led to whole sale production. Geopolitically speaking, the new types of key natural resources shifted the focus to the Muslim world, changing its relation to the developed world. Other unintended results were the new needs of the mass society; that is, to make cities liveable that meant the need for a new core technology: electricity. It brought revolutionary changes by transforming the human cycle. It became possible to work at night, to light the cities and it gave chance for a large mass of people to live together. Such outcomes as radio and TV only belong to subsidiary technologies.
Regarding the current cycle, the core technology is the microchip and the internet. It is already 45 years old and is mature, therefore, we are close to the end of the current cycle. After the Second World War until 1979, the income share of the middle class was growing faster than that of the upper class. During the next period (1979-2015), the wealthy grow much faster than the rest of the society, which in actual fact hardly grew at all: divergence between productivity and wage growth; slower wage growth, especially at the bottom. It is characteristic of this period that the GDP rose much faster than salaries because of the fact that the business model of the west changed dramatically thanks to microchips. This model highlights the role of large enterprises and creativity became an even more important factor compared to physical labour. In other words, the microchip had a strong influence on the labour market and the economy.
This shift has a key role in the political sphere as well. Dr Friedman concluded that the microchip was a fundamental factor of Donald Trump’s success as a beneficiary of social tensions in the country. This was the political outcome of the following economic changes: the GDP growth did not mean an increasing demand for human resources, which led to tremendous social tension and further isolation of the classes.
Regarding the 50-year technology cycle, it has to be reiterated that the microchip belongs, according to Friedman, to mature core technology, while the internet still has not achieved this state. In reference to his statement “Geopolitically, what we have to understand is that the main source of new core technologies has military background or come from it directly,” he concluded the necessity of the development of batteries with bigger storage capacities. Addressing the audience, Friedman explained that the United States of America understands how to take real advantage of technological innovations that can be beneficial for other countries as well, including Hungary.
11:40 - 11:50
The Future of Professions – How Social and Digital Innovation Shape the Labour Market
11:50 - 13:15
HE Dr Zoltán Cséfalvay
Permanent Representative of Hungary to the OECD
Dr hab Katarzyna Śledziewska
DELab, University of Warsaw
Customer Development Executive, Co-founder
Accenture Global Delivery Network – Central and Eastern Europe
Moderator: Martin Kern, Interim Director, European Institute of Innovation & Technology
HE Dr Zoltán Cséfalvay - Permanent Representative of Hungary to the OECD
Dr hab Katarzyna Śledziewska - Executive Director
Dániel Vitáry - Customer Development Executive, Co-founder
Tomáš Volek - Managing Director
The panel focused on the consequences of digital developments on the labour market, while also highlighting its effects on education. Due to the spreading virtualisation, we can expect the labour market to constantly evolve and education has to adjust to these constant changes. Martin Kern, Interim Director of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, emphasised that the focus should be on the person: people should do what they like to do, everyone’s goal is to have a meaningful job, this is the main desire of most people on the labour market.
HE Dr Zoltán Cséfalvay, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the OECD, noted that we should not look on the job itself but concentrate on how different tasks within a job might change in the near future. It is undeniable that many jobs will be transformed. According to the OECD report, 9% of the jobs are in the risk of automation. Therefore, we have to discuss what skills we need for those transformed requirements. He quoted Preston-Werner, stating that there will be jobs for two types of people in the future: “Where you tell a machine what to do, programming a computer, or a machine is going to tell you what to do.” The ambassador reflected on the idea of taxing robots, adding that policies are usually slow in responding to technological improvements.
Dr Katarzyna Sledziewska, Executive Director of DELab, noted that mobile applications, IoT are part of our daily lives and jobs. One of the main questions is what their impacts are on productivity and how they might replace our jobs or our tasks. To mention a few examples, the work of lawyers can be eased with law reader programmes, or the jobs of millions of drivers (bus, taxi, truck) might be replaced. Considering fast-paced improvements, it is difficult to promise millions of manufacturing jobs in the western world. She concluded that our jobs can be saved, but we have to spend more wisely on our educational system.
Presenting his start-up’s perspective, Dániel Vitáry, Customer Development Executive and Co-founder of Be-novative, said that the main question behind every technology is how it can have a great impact on the life of people. According to World Economic Forum’s report “The Future of Jobs,” the most important job skills will be complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and people management. Vitáry emphasised the importance of digital collaboration, as the connection of distributed teams might co-create great new projects, similarly to Be-novative’s tool where collective creativity powers innovation.
Tomas Volek, Managing Director of the Accenture Global Delivery Network in Central and Eastern Europe, said that on-demand digital labour force will be one of the major driving forces of economic growth, so it is a basic need to understand how digital economy will shape the whole global economy. There is always a pressure to keep up with innovation, as there are digital leaders in every digital industry: “there is always somebody inventing a completely new model of collaboration.”
The main messages of the panel were the following:
13:20 - 14:20
The Future of Education – New Methods and Skills Demanded by Future Professions
14:20 - 15:30
Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku
Ronald de Bruin
COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology
Moderator: Dr Steffen Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Strategic Management, La Rochelle Business School
Charlina Vitcheva - Deputy Director-General
Jari Kaivo-oja - Research Director
Gyula Csitári - Co-founder
Ronald de Bruin - Director
The topic of Panel III was the future of education in light of the new methods and skills demanded by the rapid pace of innovation and development. The moderator, Dr Steffen Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Strategic Management of La Rochelle Business School, highlighted that education is the key to the future – but if we talk about the future, questions keep occurring about its needs and challenges. In this respect, the so-called streetlight effect means a specific risk; that is, we may find good answers for the wrong questions: we might make wrong assumptions and project them to the future. He also drew the attention to another interesting issue by asking the question why we assume that the aim of education is economic growth. He displayed a graph showing that economy is only of a medium importance if we talk about the aim of education, and it is a certainly less important motivation than gaining political power, doing significant research, or disposing over information. Then he invited the panellists to tell about the non-economic aims of education.
Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director-General, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, asked another thoughtful question: what else than knowledge should education provide? She argued that we live in an extremely complex world where it is not possible to organise all available information into neat boxes. Unidisciplinarity and simple-mindedness make it difficult to solve the challenges of this world, and having a proper attitude is of great importance. She elaborated on the need to assure that citizens can use their knowledge in practice and to become immune against fake news, crime, terrorism and other challenges. She also underlined the importance of green and circular economies, having the mindset of using less, and refusing blind consumerism. She argued that the European Commission does its best in order to further the education of EU citizens, listing examples such as the EU2020 educational targets, the EU Skills Agenda, the EU Digital Skills, and Jobs Coalition or the Joint Research Centre, which creates knowledge for politics. She said that the future of education lies in developing a holistic approach and common understandings. According to her, e-learning would be more appropriate in developing the skills which are very important for the future, such as coordination and critical thinking. She concluded her presentation by claiming that we need top scientists, but rather we need that everyone is literate and can access the right information with the right attitudes.
Jari Kaivo-oja, Research Director, Finland Futures Research Centre, argued that European cooperation is needed more than ever in education. He mentioned that in the near future, 30-50% of occupation will disappear, and big learning challenges will emerge. As a reaction to these trends, flexible lifelong learning models are needed. According to him, under these circumstances, nine-to-five work disappears, symbiosis of work and office decouples, and work careers will be a portfolio of gigs, while AI, machine-learning and deep learning will change the rules of the learning activities. What does it mean for all of us? First and foremost, professionals have to re-educate themselves, and core curricula must be changed. Robotics and big data will be inherent parts of the reform in education.
Ronald de Bruin, Director, COST – European Cooperation in Science and Technology, began his speech by claiming that you never get to learn a skill that never gets outdated. He elaborated on the role of his organisation COST, the aim of which is to support young researchers and to invest in the future of European science by expanding the horizons, facilitating peer learning, complementarity and interdisciplinarity, as well as building capacity and retaining talents.
Gyula Csitári, Co-founder, Logiscool, brought a vivid practical aspect into the discussion. As the co-founder of a coding school for children, he argued that digital education is very important for the future, and in order to further its development, classical systems are not enough. At Logiscool, children play with computer games, while they also learn the basics of coding and logical thinking, and have fun together in classrooms. He claimed that this way of education also helps the empowerment of women, as the number of coding girls is growing, and this method is also compatible with the education of children with disabilities or special needs. The most important message, however, is that “we don’t educate future coders, we educate future thinkers.”
All in all, the participants all agreed that future development means a clear challenge for education, but innovation may also further the reforms, especially in the areas of e-learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, community-building, interdisciplinarity, and programming. Mr Kaivo-oja closed the discussion by underlining another important aspect that may determine the future of education: “skills can be developed if you have motivation and access – if not, our efforts are not efficient.”
The main messages of the panel were the following:
15:30 - 15:40
Technology Vision 2017 Live Broadcast
15:40 - 16:40
Accenture Global Delivery Network – Central and Eastern Europe
Tomáš Volek - Managing Director
Live broadcast of Accenture's Technology Vision 2017 involving Marc Carrel-Billiard, Senior Managing Director of Accenture Labs, Michael Biltz, Managing Director of Accenture Technology Vision, Elise Cornille, Managing Director of Accenture, and Jolie Huang, Senior Analyst of Accenture Labs. Introductory remarks will be provided by Tomáš Volek, Managing Director of Accenture Global Delivery Network – Central and Eastern Europe.
For more information on the event and the speakers, please visit https://engage.vevent.com/speakers.jsp?eid=7402&seid=18&lc=en&cc=US&page=100&no-login=false.
Big Data and AI: A Benevolent Big Brother?
17:00 - 18:30
Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, HAS
Institute for Systems Biology
Digital Hub Leader, Hungary
Moderator: István Csabai, Professor of Physics, Department of Physics of Complex Systems, Eötvös Loránd University
István Ulbert - Director
Sui Huang - Professor
John Ford - Digital Hub Leader, Hungary
John Ford, Digital Hub Leader of Hungary, presented how GE had adapted to new technological trends through GE Digital. In Hungary, 1000 people work on data science and collection for themselves and for customers. GE has a large number of assets in the world. Industrial technology does not deliver as much improvement as it did 100 years ago. The company has a platform combining physics, software, and data analytics to drive outcomes for GE and its customers. Ford gave the example of how equipment, such as an airplane engine, gathers data during a flight through sensors and that data is later used to draw larger conclusions. One engine has 1000 sensors; more data is collected during one flight than through Facebook in Hungary in a year. The engines have so-called digital twins, which means the state of the original engine can be monitored, and it can predict and warn if the real one needs service or maintenance. There are 550 000 Digital twins in use now. It takes 6 to 8 years for an engine to be built, but works for more than 40 years, so it is worth producing. This example combines GE’s legacy of traditional equipment with newer data focus. New questions arise such as if the data is worth collecting, where to store it and how to manage it. Predix is a GE digital platform that links manufacturing, asset management performance, and digital services.
István Ulbert, Director of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, talked about the history of the electrophysiology of big data. Thirty years ago, electro-physicists focused on electrodes, placed in the brain, and recorded activity. There were animal tests and researchers wrote long papers based on them. Then there were hard drives of 40 Mbytes. Now, many more electrodes are placed in the brain to determine how different parts of the body interact. An implanted chip has 2000 recordings, and a rack at home has a capacity of 100 TBytes. We can take photos even of a single-pixel area at 40 000 frames per second, so we can have a huge amount of data to interpret images. We have big data but we lack the means of how to analyse it in the context of neural activity. The following question is how to make meaningful interpretations of this data. The combination of model building and determining the relationship among neurons would be an important milestone, but this process requires a specific form of artificial intelligence. There is also the issue of modelling how artificial intelligence works. AI is the product of the human brain, but the brain behaves like a black box. Decisions emerge from this black box, but we lack the knowledge of how the decision was reached. Therefore, there is a broader dilemma of understanding the brain. Human brains design AI that tries to understand human brains.
Sui Huang, Professor at the Institute for Systems Biology, discussed the dualism between data and scientific thinking, drawing on his experience in medicine and technology. One of the presented articles made people scared of the fact that AI transforms data into theories. The other one of Time asked the question if Google can solve death. He brought up the examples of Newton’s Laws and Darwin’s theory of evolution, and a theoretical question: If we put all the genomes and information about all the beings into one database, will we understand evolution? He said Amazon can predict what you will buy next. A machine alone could not have developed these theories. One goal of big data is to determine patient’s susceptibility to disease. There are two dimensions of big data in medicine, a large sample size based on the population of people and the high-dimensional feature space for one individual. Essentially, one refers to aggregate trends and one predicts one person’s health profile. These two dimensions are both big data, so combining them is the N x M data (millions of millions data). The genome sequence as a digital blue print was the initial idea. A human genome contains 22 000 genes and is 6 billion characters long, which means it is 1,5 GBytes. Personal genome very soon will be trivial to measure. However, this concept is more complicated because big data analytics and/or human intelligence is required to adequately use this information. The incomplete information of how the body works further complicates using predictive big data in the field of medicine. The field has shifted so that big data on the phenotype is important, since two people can have the same genome but with different health conditions. The current model uses big data about the healthy populations and standard diagnostic tests to produce a health decision. In the future, ideally, a health decision will be derived from a theory of the understanding of the human system and a high-dimensional patient profile. The future’s so called P4 medicine is personalised, predictive, preventive, and participatory. Further questions arise on whether machine learning alone can provide the knowledge base for medicine and how much human thinking is still needed in biomedical research and healthcare. How long doctors’ medical reasoning is necessary? What will be the doctors’ job in the future? In healthcare, there is big hope of big data, but, he asked, will we train doctors to deal with big data?
During the Q&A and the conclusion, panellists emphasised the perpetual value of human intuition, also when it comes to big data. Is there a so-called machine intuition? Mr Ford explained that we can teach machines, and Google and the other machines do learn, using cognitive pattern to know what is your next step. He talked about the production of human body scanners that constitute big data, and the way how the samples react over time and early signs of a disease can be spotted. According to him, the quality of data is probably a much bigger problem than its size. We still need to understand artificial intelligence more concretely through a consistent language and engaging with its epistemology.
18:30 - 22:00
08:15 - 09:30
09:15 - 10:00
Former Minister for Healthcare
Gedeon Richter Plc
István Mikola - Former Minister for Healthcare
Gábor Orbán - COO
In his keynote speech, Dr István Mikola, Former Minister for Healthcare of Hungary, mentioned that technology affected the health system and we can experience accelerating development in the field of medicine. Currently there are new fields in our focus including AI, robotics, and big data. Through these technologies, we can serve better the needs of our population. The time is over for “one size fits all” approach in medicine; personalised medicine and targeted treatment are the goals, thereby increasing the chances of successful treatment. From a disease centred model, we are moving to a patient centred model. During this transition, innovation has to bridge the gap between the economically viable and scientifically possible and governments must create a regulatory system which fosters innovation. Technology can lead us to realise the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number III; that is, a healthy life and wellbeing for all.
Gábor Orbán, COO of Gedeon Richter Plc, highlighted that productivity in global medicine is going down, while there are more and more funds spent on something which is unproductive. Companies therefore have to narrow the focus of their R&D activities. Richter Gedeon is championing this concentrated effort to raise efficiency; it holds the 27th place among the EU’s pharmaceutical companies on the list of the top 1000 most innovative pharma companies. At Richter, Immunology and Oncology are the targeted therapeutic areas.
Start-up and Innovation Corner, B2B meetings, Tech Exhibitors
09:30 - 16:00
From the Innovative Scientist to the Innovative Society
10:00 - 10:30
Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz
Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz - President
Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, President of Bar-Ilan University and Former Minister of Science and Technology of the State of Israel, started his keynote lecture From the Innovative Scientist to the Innovative Society, by raising a question: How do you obtain innovation? Innovation needs two preconditions, a good incentive and an interest. A national security question can be a good incentive – if it is raised, then it is inevitable to find a solution. As they say “the blade of the guillotine sharpens the mind.” Money or trying to help humanity can be an incentive as well. Technology is a derivative of basic science, as it takes basic scientific ideas and develops them into instruments. When it comes to basic science, the incentive is just to discover new ideas. Therefore, in many cases scientists are not interested in the implementation of their discoveries. This is the problem of technology transfer. It is very difficult to find investors in the industry who would put money into early stage development. On the other hand, it has become more difficult to get scientists to cooperate, who in many cases are neither interested in making money on potential patents, nor in commercialising them. Innovation itself can only be achieved by thinking outside of the box; you cannot apply a formula, as when you do it is just moving into another box. The so-called box is knowledge, the question then arises: how are we able to think outside of that? We can achieve this only through working and communicating with our partners. The best way is to work with unexpected partners, as they present different approaches to the problems at hand. As the Talmud says: “I have learned a lot from my teachers but I learned more from my students.” You must not take anything for granted, keep challenging and asking until you are completely sure you understand the matter. The one who is shy will never learn. Rabbi Professor Hershkowitz is a strong advocate of involving the younger generations in innovation, as each generation contributes to science and brings a new perspective into the process. You must link your box to the boxes of others; international cooperation between scientists, researchers, and industries is essential to foster innovation. Different nations have different interests and perspectives which contribute to the development of new ideas. Science is the language that bridges all differences; international cooperation and thinking outside of the box are the true secrets of innovation.
10:30 - 10:40
Innovation in Healthcare Services
10:40 - 12:10
András J Pellionisz
Founder and Chief Scientist
Stephen Mechtler, MD
Snyder Ob-GYN,Pc NewYork
Professor of Medical Informatics
Medical University of Vienna
Moderator: Ferenc Oberfrank, Executive Director, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
András J Pellionisz - Founder and Chief Scientist
Levi Shapiro - Founder
Stephen Mechtler, MD - President
Klaus-Peter Adlassnig - Professor of Medical Informatics
The discussion was opened by Ferenc Oberfrank, Executive Director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and the moderator of the panel, who introduced the speakers: András J. Pellionisz, founder and chief scientist of HolGenTech; Levi Shapiro, founder of mHealth Israel; Stephen Mechtler, President of Snyder Ob-GYN; and Klaus-Peter Adlassnig, Professor of Medical Informatics at the University of Vienna. In his speech, he emphasised that investment in health stimulates economic growth, which enables more investments in the sector, while also adding that collaboration between the V4 would accelerate economic growth.
The speech of András J. Pellionisz revolved around three main topics: innovation in general, innovation as understood in the Silicon Valley, and the description of his own experience as a researcher. He highlighted the importance of differentiating innovation from invention, and also innovation from R&D, explaining that invention needs talent to think different, while R&D often lacks success. R&D requires great diligence and a vast amount of money, although investing more money in it does not necessarily equal more inventions or innovations. He assessed that Hungary is good at inventions as the country had many great ideas, but it lacked the capability to turn them into innovations. He described innovation as an invention that has a customer value and a business model. According to him, in order to turn inventions into innovations, we should “think outside of the box.”
Speaking about innovation in the Silicon Valley, he outlined the four areas of research, namely the NASA Ames Research Centre, where the F15 fighter was developed (based on his idea and patent); the Grail company, which aims to fight cancer by personalising medicine while making it more precise; the Autonomous Cars (Tesla, Google, Apple); and finally the da Vinci Robotic Surgery, which was later described in greater detail by Stephen Mechtler. Dr Pellionisz emphasised the importance of the incubation period of an invention that includes finding the market areas where it could be engaged, protecting it with a patent, then developing a prototype and working out a valuation model.
From his own experience, he described how he applied the Tensor Network Theory and developed the Sensorimotor Coordination of the F15 fighter, thanks to which the Israeli army for example has not lost a single plane so far. The principle of recursive genome function is also attached to his name.
Mr Levi Shapiro focused on numbers during his speech. His most important aim was to encourage the IT community to manage insufficient systems, such as the US’s, and expressed regrets that despite of the successes of the Silicon Valley, companies spent less on R&D than they had done before historically. He said that Israel was the gate for start-ups to enter the US market, and there were resources available in Israel for great ideas. He mentioned that the largest exit in Israel’s high-tech industry to date was that of Mobileye, when the company, founded in 1999, was acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion.
Stephen Mechtler presented the da Vinci Robotic Surgery in detail. He said that the constantly growing company in itself is worth 4,8 billion dollars, and there were 3919 operating systems in the world. The technology is mainly used in urology and gynaecology inter alia. The da Vinci consists of two parts, the console and the robot. The console uses HD 3D 10 times magnified images and is easy to employ. The most important parts of the robot are the camera and the unipolar scissors. The training for surgeons consists of four phases, requires practicing, first on pigs, then there are five proctor cases.
Dr Mechtler presented a video on its operation, and listed the most important advantages of the technology: less blood loss (almost no bleeding), less wound infections, less pain, shorter hospital stay and less complications. In addition, it can be used in cosmetics, the only drawback is its price. Poland and Romania are already in possession of the technology, in contrast to Hungary.
The last speaker of the panel, Klaus-Peter Adlassnig, talked about clinical decision support and artificial intelligence. In the beginning, he highlighted that clinic informatics was a recognised sub-specialty. In clinical medicine, there is a need for digitalisation, which is done through three stages that are the following in order: the digitalisation of medical patient data (health apps, images, bio-signals), the digitalisation of clinical workflows, and the in-the moment digitalisation of medical knowledge (anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pharmacogenomics). About clinical decision support, he said that there were four approaches. The first approach is abstracted published texts, the second is big row data, the third is big published texts while the fourth one is knowledge design through knowledge based systems. The second and third approaches are done by IBM, through data mining. He mentioned that in the future medical knowledge engines would improve health outcomes and the quality of life for millions of people, future patient care would consist of human clinicians and software artefacts, human clinicians would be coupled with medical knowledge engines.
12:10 - 13:30
New Technologies and Their Application in Cancer Research and Treatment
13:30 - 15:00
László Mechtler MD
Medical Director and Head of the Neuro-Oncology Center
Dent Neurologic Institute, Buffalo, NY
Mgr Lucia Kučerová, PhD
Cancer Research Institute BMC, Slovak Academy of Sciences
inventor of IKnife and Professor of Analytical Chemistry
Department of Surgery and Cancer, Faculty of Medicine. Imperial College London
Founder and CEO
ONCOMPASS Cancer Treatment Strategies
Moderator: András Fehérváry, Former Vice President, Varian Medical Systems International AG
László Mechtler MD - Medical Director and Head of the Neuro-Oncology Center
Mgr Lucia Kučerová, PhD - Director
Zoltán Takáts - inventor of IKnife and Professor of Analytical Chemistry
István Peták - Founder and CEO
The last panel of the conference focused on the role and possibilities of cutting edge technologies in cancer research and cancer treatment. As the chair of the panel, András Fehérváry, former vice president of Varian Medical Systems, claimed in his opening remarks: although Richard Nixon launched a war on cancer by signing the National Cancer Act in 1971 and allocating resources to the same, there has been no significant breakthrough in cancer research so far. Moreover, not even the digital revolution has succeeded to give the right answer to this challenge. Although lot of progress has been done in several fields, for further advances, several additional barriers need to be broken down.
The first speaker, Lucia Kučerová, director of the Cancer Research Institute BMC in the Slovak Academy of Sciences, affirmed that the way we think of tumors has changed a great deal over the last few years: contrary to former reductionist views, today, tumors are seen as complex, heterotypic systems that more often than not function as a real organ. By the same token, present technological advances, like microscopic imaging, mass spectroscopy and flow cytometry, facilitate a more detailed observation of the processes going on in cancer affected tissues and provide a more accurate 3D picture of the tumors. The future goal is to make the real-time analysis and targeted destruction of malignant cells possible. Liquid biopsy, a method that analyzes certain components of our blood, may have an important role in foreseeing cancer probability and finding the best therapeutic path. Since the ten most cancer-hit countries belong to our region, their institute recognizes not only the importance of new researches, but the usefulness of prevention, too.
In his presentation, László Mechtler, the Medical Director and Head of the Neuro-Oncology Center at Dent Neurologic Institute, made it clear that American healthcare is unaffordable, and, by 2021, health insurance will consume 70% of the projected median household income. In his view, doctors should do something to counter the looming problem. To this end, they work on a comprehensive outpatient care model that could reduce significantly the costs of healing. As imaging has a great role in his field, especially in diagnosing brain cancer, they work to fully substitute the not innocuous computer tomography (CT) for the more time-consuming, costly but more accurate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Were they to achieve their aim, MRI diagnosis, that usually takes one hour nowadays, could be shrunk to five minutes, and it would not cost more than 100 dollars. Thus, even the most relentless critics of MRI would accept that this technology has no real alternative. A subtype of MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), could add to the further improvement of the diagnosis and to the easier surgical planning. In five to ten years, even personalized, whole body imaging might be available for patients. The future of surgery, especially brain surgery, on the other hand, lies in non-invasive surgical solutions such as the cyber knife that uses focused ultrasound. Last but not least, medical marihuana which might help to shrink brain cancer, may become a viable treatment against the disease, although the present legal framework encumbers its clinical research and testing.
István Peták, the founder and CEO of ONCOMPASS Cancer Treatment Strategies, explained how molecular biology and genomics can help us to cure cancer. Gene mapping and targeted drugs might bring us the ultimate remedy against cancer. After the conclusion of Human Genom Project in 2006, research embarked on systematically examining genes: investigation has shown that a fixed number of 609 genes can participate in cancer cell development. In the future, finding the molecular cause of cancer could lead us to defeat the malady. This might be achieved through third generation DNA sequencers that enable doctors to easily determine the gene order for every one of us. As cancer is caused by the more than 3 million mutations of the aforementioned 609 genes, in the coming years, this technology might contribute to nail down which kind of patients can benefit more from a certain type of therapy. At ONCOMPASS, he and his colleagues are also involved in developing a software platform which, using personal gene maps, can tailor the necessary treatment to personal needs and can predict treatment viability comparing it to earlier cases. This kind of cure, however, needs a vast amount of data to be processed properly, thus, AI could play an important role in further refining its underlying technology.
Finally, Zoltán Takáts, inventor of iKnife and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Imperial Collage London, pointed out in his closing speech: there is a huge gap between physical science and biomedicine, and there are many barriers that render the exchange between the two fields difficult. As the most prevalent examples to illustrate his claim, the cited the low number of multidisciplinary researches, the scientists focusing only on their narrow field, and the slow diffusion of the scientific results and needs between the two disciplines. Industry players and commercialization of the scientific results may contribute to bridging this gap. As an example, he referred to desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) which took a long time until it found its way to medicine as a tool for examining tumors and tissues. This is also one of the technologies behind iKnife; this surgical instrument, using molecular fingerprints, can give real time information to the surgeon about the kind of tissue he is cutting. This invention also demonstrates that a physicist involved in biomedicine can find a great array of opportunities to innovate even by combining the otherwise long-known technologies. For precisely the same reason, supporting multidisciplinary researches, fostering cooperation among the realm of academy, industry, and healthcare would become of key importance in the future.
15:00 - 15:30
Head of Representation
European Commission Representation in Hungary
Dr Csaba Balogh
Minister of State for Public Administration
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary
Gábor Zupkó - Head of Representation
Dr Csaba Balogh - Minister of State for Public Administration
In his closing remarks, Gábor Zupkó, Head of the European Commission Representation in Hungary, expressed his hope that think.BDPST could become a long-lasting brand that would keep on showing us how science and technology would form our future and the societies of the coming generations. The future of Europe and the future of our world depends on our capacity to innovate, as this is the key to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. In the near future, Europe’s ranking in the global economy will change rapidly: by 2050, our share in the world’s GDP will plummet by half (compared to today). In order to maintain our economic position and keep up with our rivals, it is indispensable to become an R&D- and innovation-friendly region. To this end, it would be highly important to catch up with the U.S. and Japan in terms of the money spent on R&D. If, instead of the preset 2%, 3% of our GDP could be directed to research and development, and the market–research chains could be rebuilt, the EU would have a huge potential in creating growth and jobs and bypassing the negative effects of global climate change and aging societies. Aside from increasing the sum spent on R&D, it would be also fundamental to lay the foundations for an innovation union, make innovation partnerships in the region, and orchestrate national, regional and unionwide research goals. This might be achieved through Horizon 2020, a program that strives to realize the goals above by using its funds. Although the concept of innovation union elicited uneven responses from member states within the EU, it is essential to work on towards a strong and connected Europe.
Gábor Zupkó was followed by Dr Csaba Balogh, Minister of State for Public Administration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who pointed out that in the wake of a conference like think.BDPST, one might feel overwhelmed with more questions than answers. Some of us might even look into the future with eyes of fear alarmed by the possible disappearance of the old ways he/she has grew used to. However, we must face with the new challenges since this is the only way we can tackle the looming challenges within the fields of labor market, security, industry and public administration. For Hungary, it is a must to seek for the right answers – along with its V4 partners – not only on a local, national but on a regional level too; this is something we also need to bear in mind during our forthcoming V4 presidency. As of now, our region is the best performer in the whole EU, however, to keep our leading position, we need a strong R&D background so that we do not fall behind in global competition redoubled by the new industrial revolution.