Antwerp welcomes international technology festival
End of September 2018 Antwerp will welcome an international technology festival in the city centre on Het Eilandje. According to Flemish Minister of Innovation Philippe Muyters (N-VA) Supernova – as the event will be called – will be “a spectacular introduction of the digital era we live in and the effect technology has on our daily life”.
“The four-day festival (26 – 30/9) will show visitors how our life will be influenced by all kind of technology like autonomous driving cars and artificial intelligence.”
Fear of robots
With this event Minister Muyters also wants to reassure people. “People fear for their jobs, they think artificial intelligence will take away their jobs but it’s just the opposite. Robots will not snatch jobs, people will join forces with them.”
“During the festival there also will be a fair where national and international technology companies can meet and explore how they can work together in the future”, explains Pascal Cools, CEO of Flanders DC, the organizer of the festival. “We also organize a job fair where youngsters are invited to meet possible future employers.”
Invest in the future
Flanders DC provides 1 million euro for the event, the Flemish government 1,6 million euro. On top of that the young Flemish company Scale-Up, giving young start-ups financial help, will invest 600.000 euro.
Last year Flemish authorities invested 2,7 billion euro in new economy, innovation and research. “People could wonder whether this money is well spent”, Cools concludes. “Well, the answer is ‘yes’ because we invest in the future.”
Self-driving car project
The fact that the organizer has chosen Antwerp for the festival is no coincidence. “Because Antwerp is well on its way to become thé smart city of Flanders.” Antwerp is also part of the European Concorda project to test if extra infrastructure is needed for self-driving cars to participate in heavy traffic like on the congested Antwerp Ring.