Shaping the future Conference:
2048 marks the 50th anniversary of iCANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) as well as the 50th anniversary of the publication of Lawrence Lessig’s Laws of Cyberspace. It is also just a few days short of the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Age of Spiritual Machines, in which Ray Kurzweil predicted that by 2029 a computer would pass the Turing Test and humans would be indistinguishable from the robots they created.
Having identified the organisation and the two publications as being prescient in setting out how the digital world might develop, the conference organisers decided there must be something special about the time of 1998. So, they invited three people who were born in 1998 and who are celebrating their 50th birthdays this month, to open a conference on the future by relating how things have played out in Africa over the past 30 years or so.
My name is Helina. Many of you know me for having been outed a couple of years ago as the first robo-human to pass that Turing test; and somewhat fittingly, I’ve been asked to introduce the 50-year-olds who will share their experiences of growing up in three different African countries during the period that so prominently shaped the continent’s digital age.