Emerging Technological Trends in Asia: EmTech Asia 2017 at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore


The regional conference of the MIT Technology Review, EmTech Asia 2017, is an excellent platform to identify emerging technological trends, meet interesting people driving technological breakthroughs from academia, industry, government, investment bodies and people who drive it with self-passion.

Inspiring line up of speakers; Left to Right: Walter O’ Brien (Scorpion), Mike North (Discovery), Samay Kohli (GreyOrange). Image source: EmTech Asia

A cherry-picked myriad of speakers from all these fields with the likes of Scorpion’s founder Walter O’ Brien (Cybersecurity for governments and managing talented minds), Discovery Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science developer Mike North (prototyping and learning from failures) and GreyOrange’s CEO and co-founder Samay Kohli (artificial intelligence for supply chain) blazed the stage with their thought-provoking and lucid talks.

This year, EmTech Asia (4th regional edition) focused on novel materials, evolving computer accuracy, bio-engineered world, artificial intelligence and robotics. Artificial intelligence was rooted by most of the speakers and the audience to be the topmost driver of the upcoming fourth industrial revolution with Accenture’s Paul Daugherty calling, ‘AI the new UI’.



He shared Accenture’s TechVision 2017 stressing on the importance of rethinking human interactions and making robots and artificial intelligence to complement and improvise human life. John Gustafson, Intel Labs highlighted the inherent arithmetic limitations of computers and how they are addressing the problem with Unum computing.

MIT Hacking Medicine

SG Innovate, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT partnered with Segway and organized a local MIT hacking medicine over a weekend. They demonstrated Segway’s Loomo robot and the three winning teams briefly explained their innovative idea to develop and apply Loomo in elderly care for wheelchair assistance, monitoring and managing chronic conditions like dementia, hypertension. Steve Leonard (SG Innovate) emphasized on the importance of open innovation in the current age.

SMART CEO Howard Califano with Segway’s Loomo robot that was used for the MIT Hacking Medicine competition
Winners of the competition sharing their hackathon experience.
Image Source: IDEAINK

Investing in big ideas – Jenny Lee Golden gate ventures

Innovation and startup funding

Jenny explained the need for development in both Evolutionary type of innovation (For e.g., e-commerce is only a 15% of the whole commerce in China but it is even lower at the US where it is about 10%. There is still a long way to go for this evolutionary type of innovation. For the other type of innovation which is disruptive it happens through IOT-based technology disrupting traditional verticals, robotics and artificial intelligence moving further from industrial automation to consumers at homes, service providers, nursing homes etc.

Key identifiers in startup founders

When asked about the top traits in the startup founders that GGV funds, she said tenacity topped her checklist all followed by team, enterprise knowledge, and also advised on the startup founder to venture capitalist match someone who understands and can articulate your vision and mindset. As the VCs can help in many ways (last call to recruit your co-founder, give references to fellow VCs, help through the Series a series B funding enhance your reach into the capital market)

Futuristic Trend: Choice of disconnect

When asked of her view on the progression of this increasingly connected world where we are being forced to be connected 24/7, Jenny predicted that in 5 years’ time she will come across start-ups who provide consumers the luxury to disconnect where there is no connection-related devices operating so people can still indulge in their natural surroundings.


Image Source: IDEAINK

Summary of Day 1 EmTechAsia

Image Source: IDEAINK

Stay tuned for the next article on EmTech Asia for exclusive interviews with CRISPR fame, Le Cong and Innovators under 35 discussing a brave new bio-engineered world.