Amid lockdowns, closures and restrictions, 2020 has given us plenty of time for reflection. Most of us have questioned the purpose of what we’re doing; we’re not just looking to solve problems, we want to drive change, improve lives and feel the positive impact of our work. Engineers and developers are not immune to this kind of introspection, which is why I’m so fantastically excited about the Tech for Global Goals track at this year’s inaugural Arm DevSummit (October 6-8 2020).
The United Nations’ Global Goals aim to create a better world for everyone by 2030—ending poverty, fighting inequality and urgently addressing climate change. Technology has long been seen as an enabler to unlocking innovation and achieving that aim.
With that in mind, we wanted our track at Arm DevSummit to illuminate problems that need to be solved in the context of a greater social purpose. For example, we know engineers can solve drinking-water purity problems, but doing so for remote, energy-constrained, low-resource settings has more technical challenges, but also a larger purpose, making a positive contribution to health and life expectancy, economic resilience and social stability.
Sustainability is in Arm’s DNA: our high-performance, low-power technology—historically driven by the desire for improved battery life in mobile devices—is now applied across 180 billion chips, in devices from tiny sensors to large data centers. Reducing the power used by each individual chip means huge savings at a global level.
Our partnership business model also naturally extends to collaborative partnerships and innovative projects, to support the delivery of the Goals. 2030Vision, founded and funded by Arm, aims to mobilize companies, governments, international organizations, investors and civil society at the highest level to fast-track 4IR technology innovations in pursuit of the Goals.
Co-chaired by Arm CEO Simon Segars and Achim Steiner, who leads the UN Development program, 2030Vision is positioned to harness responsible deployment of tech and the innovation needed to achieve the Goals and ensure that the gap that we have seen through COVID-19 isn’t further exacerbated.
Crucially, doing good isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s the smart thing to do. Commercial opportunity linked to delivery of the Goals is estimated at a cool $12 trillion. Doing good is good business.
The technology that will help us build back smarter in a post-COVID world
Whether your area of interest is environmental, developmental or hypothetical, this track has plenty of inspiration, innovation and food for thought. Inevitably, mitigating the effects of COVID-19 is a key theme.
We’ll kick off with Arm CEO Simon Segars’ keynote “A Blueprint for Tomorrow,” which looks at leveraging technology to ‘build back smarter’ in a post-COVID world (Tuesday, Oct. 6, 8 a.m. PDT). Greg Bowman, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Washington University and Director of Folding@home, will then describe how volunteers are sharing unused computing power to help find cures for COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other diseases. (Tuesday, 9 a.m.)
A technical session, hosted by Arm colleagues Wei Xiao and Karl Fezer, joined by Alexander Wong from DarwinAI, will give attendees the chance to train ML models for X-ray image classification that can help spot COVID-19 using data pattern prediction, then make decisions using Arm NN with these models. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m.)
If wildlife conservation is your thing, don’t miss the technical session with Shah Selbe from Conservify and Alasdair Davies from Arribada Initiative whose goal is to design, develop and produce open hardware to be used in conservation (Tuesday, 10:10 a.m.). We’ll talk about how Arm-enabled technologies are being used in the field for tasks like monitoring human-wildlife conflict.
On Wednesday (10:10 a.m.), we’ll hear from Christine Kim, head of strategic partnerships at Simprints, who will talk about the company’s innovative contactless identification solution that’s revolutionizing the delivery of healthcare in low-resource settings.
Young innovators share their ambitions for the future
It’s no surprise that sustainability innovation is high on the agenda for next-generation developers. A session with ambassadors from the Arm Gen 2Z young innovator program will look at their ambitions for the future of tech under their control, the problems they imagine it can solve and their expectations for a world where technology is embedded in society. (Thursday, 9 a.m.) There’s also a presentation from the winners of the Teens in AI Global Hackathon, All-In (Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.).
I’m also excited to participate in a panel with Marie-Claudine Villacorta and Naroa Zurutuza from Arm social innovation partner, UNICEF, along with Arm COO Graham Budd. We’ll discuss great examples of connecting young people to the benefits of technology, such as leveraging 21st-century digital skills at the African Drone and Data Academy, capturing and using life-saving flood modelling data in Malawi and connecting every school to the internet through GIGA. (Thursday, 9:30 a.m.)