Summit discusses Sustainability & Future Trends

Dr. Japra speaking at the panel (L-R) Joseph A Minafra, Kevin Surace, Penelope J. Boston, Dr Solomon Darwin and Vivek Wadhwa

Dr. Japra speaking at the panel (L-R) Joseph A Minafra, Kevin Surace, Penelope J. Boston, Dr Solomon Darwin and Vivek Wadhwa

On August 7th, Festival of Globe (FOG) held a Summit that consisted of panelists that addressed the emerging trends in our world. The six speakers that attended this Summit were people who want to make each and every country as advanced as another country. Some of the topics that were addressed were new technologies, microbiomes, and many more. Each panelist explained about how they are trying to make the world a better place to live in.

The keynote speaker of the Summit was Vivek Wadhwa. Wadhwa is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His main goal is to get the technology that is used in the Silicon Valley transported to villages in India. Villages in India have young entrepreneurs that could really benefit from all the technologies used in the Silicon Valley.

These entrepreneurs could also help make advances that people in the Silicon Valley have not thought of. Wadhwa stressed the importance of education in India. He said that young kids in India are not getting the education they should be getting. Wadhwa repeated many times that if children in India are taught properly from a young age, they can really help our world.

The moderator of the Summit was Dr. Solomon Darwin. Dr Darwin is the Executive Director of the Center for Corporate Innovation. His goal is to have smart villages all over India. Smart villages will be full of new technologies that will help children all the way to adults. These villages will be the future engines of economic growth in India.

Darwin is looking to accomplish to this goal using new technology and a good business model. He believes that if the children in India can get the education that the children in US get, they will be able to do many great things. Dr. Darwin believes that if everyone can pitch in, his goal of smart villages can be accomplished.

The next panelist who spoke was Penelope (Penny) Boston. Penny Boston is the Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. She was more focused on the medical side. She talked about microbiomes living in our body. Microbiomes are the microorganisms in a particular environment, including the body or a part of the body.

“We depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive: a microbiome that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins.” Penny stated that the world should be educated about microbes because they are the foundation of a human body; any disease or problem starts from microbes.

Boston also stressed the importance of equality between men and women. She said that women are getting held back from doing great things because they don’t get the same opportunities as men. Penny Boston believes that women all over the world should get more opportunities to become successful.

The next panelist who spoke was Kevin Surace. Surace is CEO of Appvance. He talked about making the world an eco-friendly place. According to Surace, buildings use the most energies. Surace once saved a business $450,000 every year after changing the window panels in the buildings.

Kevin stated that awareness of global warming increased at a time but now it is decreasing. Surace founded a business that uses disruptive technologies to reduce energy usage in buildings. Kevin believes that using solar panels, using electric cars, and cutting energy use in buildings can help decrease global warming.

Finally, Joseph Minafra presented his views at the Summit. Minafra is the Lead for Technical Systems of Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute in NASA.

His speech was mainly about robotics. Minafra runs a robotic program targeted at college students. He believes that robotics is a good way to express creativity without kids knowing that they are learning Math and English.

He said that kids with fewer resources are the ones who are more creative. Minafra has already seen what kids in India and other countries have been able to do with robotics. He stated that if people in India can get the resources that Silicon Valley has, they can really advance the world of technology.

There was a Q&A session at the end of the Summit. These were some of the questions that were asked:
1) Q: If you had a disease and you were taking medicines to try and cure the disease, could the microbes shrug off the medicine causing the medicine to not cure the disease?

A: There are cases were the microbes have shrugged off the medicine. It is definitely possible for the microbes to act the opposite way.

2)Q: Is it really expensive to start your own robotic competition?
A: No, it is actually very inexpensive to start a robotic competition. It will be even easier to start one if you had sponsors on board.

Meghna Nair

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