A drive to get the youth involved in coding and part of the the tech revolution was a recurring theme at the recent BCX Disrupt Summit.
The biggest gathering of international and local tech entrepreneurs and gaming fanatics in South Africa was held on November 16, 2017. BCX Disrupt was organised by the South African technology company with the same name. BCX “creates value-driven customer experiences through disruptive innovations to change the way business is done”, and influences the technology landscape in the respective businesses or organisations.
The Set-UpThe set-up for BCX Disrupt took attendees back in time, displaying the evolution of tech and gaming. Walking into what felt like a time capsule of the different stages of technology development, one could reflect on how far tech has come. Taking a few more steps into the venue, a new tech era was on display – robotic structures and virtual reality experiences to provoke any tech fanatic.
The event was co-hosted by thought leader in gaming, Pippa Tshabalala, and founder of Flux Trends, Dion Chang. First on the BCX Disrupt stage was group CEO of Telkom SA SOC Limited, Sipho Maseko.
Maseko addressed some of the issues facing the continent and the role technology plays to provide solutions. He said coding should be South Africa’s 12th language and announced Telkom’s R250 million pledge to Tech start-ups.
Local tech entrepreneur Rapelana Rabana also joined the line-up of speakers and she was appointed the new chief digital officer of BCX on day two of the summit. Her duties would include driving innovation at BCX.
A number of speakers discussed how they used technology to influence their surrounding areas and solve social issues. The line-up included Nick Goldman, Marienne Jamme, Lars Silberbauer, Richard Mulholland, Charlie Ayers, Ian Russell CEO of BCX. A much-anticipated discussion was held with artist and tech disruptor Will.I.Am, member of the Black Eyed Peas and well-respected tech entrepreneur.
A recurring topic at BCX was about artificial intelligence, its nature and whether it was serving the world positively or negatively. Speakers included Richard Mulholland and Will.I.Am. Mulholland challenged the idea of AI being the next big thing. Malcolm Gladwell, who was scheduled to do an individual presentation on day two, joined the panel discussion towards the end of the programme. Panelist shared “What keeps them up at night”, a question posed by Richard Mulholland, who was in the audience.
ActivitiesTrue tech experiences were on display – from early tech gaming boxes like PacMan to current upgraded gaming such as PlayStation 4. Delegates could also experience virtual reality and learn about tech products on display, such as scanning drones used in warehouses. Exclusive Books had Michael Gladwell books on sale.
Will.I.Am – The Tech Entrepreneur Popularly known for being the front man of the Black Eyed Peas and now an influencer and advisor to some of the world’s largest corporations, Will.I.Am shared his entrepreneurial journey. From his collaboration in the conception of popular headphones known as Beats to his latest new tech application known as Omega, a “corporate computing market with a voice assistant for customer service”.
When asked about his involvement with BCX, he said his desire was to see children learning coding.
In closing Will.I.Am appealed to be exemplary to the youth, “Right now is the most important time to be alive. There’s an urgency on this continent. We have to protect nine year-olds and have a 20 year mark on what success looks like”.