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The tech revolution and the future of business

Tel Aviv, 24/11/2019 - 25/11/2019, International Conference

The globalization trends of the last two decades and the resulting interdependence between countries, from trade to technological infrastructure, imply that any disruption to business activities can have consequences on a global scale. The latest geopolitical tensions suggest that such disruptions can derive from conventional measures, most recently through the imposition of bilateral tariffs, or from unconventional ones – such as cyberattacks. Decisions by policymakers on how to react to such threats may cause long-lasting effects on business and society, and are ultimately difficult to reverse. A redefinition of the skill set for business leaders and public officials – underpinned by a coordinated regulatory framework – are therefore required in order to govern the rapidly evolving technological landscape in sectors such as medical care and banking, where traditional models look for synergies, rather than value-destroying competition, with digital “disruptors” and AI. Within such an increasingly complex international landscape, Israel represents one of the best examples worldwide of a developed ecosystem for open innovation.

The pillars of the Israeli “start-up nation” largely stem from its heritage and the perennial “innovation out of necessity” – from agriculture and defense to advanced technologies and artificial intelligence as applied to security, healthcare and financial services. The synergies between academia, government and the private sector have fostered a unique environment for innovation and young entrepreneurship, resulting in thousands of startups and record investments per capita, largely covered by foreign private capital. The government (including the military) is able to attract the best academic talents for research projects across sectors, including IT and cybersecurity. The resulting cross-fertilization – and ultimately the ability to attract private capital – are best represented by the “Silicon Wadi” high-tech cluster outside Tel Aviv. This area has become one of the world’s most fertile places for start-ups.

Such a long-term vision can further evolve to benefit wider society, well beyond the primary beneficiaries in tech-related industries. A “spill-over” virtous cycle would embrace soft skills and segments such as the arts, through the application of AI to various fields. 

In that context, Italy’s cultural heritage, widespread creativity and complementarity to Israel in many industrial and agricultural segments – as well as tourism – present significant opportunities to overcome traditional inefficiencies with cutting-edge technology and innovation.