Technology. Finance. Robots. All topics of discussion at Ivey/Scotiabank’s first speaker series event. On May 19th, in the newly-opened Scotiabank Plaza, Ray Sharma, Executive Managing Partner at Extreme Venture Partners, enlightened 400 guests on the current fast-paced trends in the FinTech industry. As a former top-ranked Bay/Wall Street analyst, Ray shared his thoughts on the growing Canadian FinTech industry, and opened minds to the realms of Crowdfunding, Block Chain, Robo Advisors and Artificial Intelligence.
Missed the event? Don’t sweat it. Here are the highlights from the event! Not enough detail? Click here to view the video.
Ray began his discussion by asking the audience, “Why is it that we admire Apple and Steve Jobs the way we do?” He answered with one universal response, “Because of his ability to see the world in a way that others couldn’t — his ability to innovate”. It is in our fundamental human nature to respect evolution…and innovation is evolution.
It was unanimous that the “Inventions Through the Ages” timeline portion of Ray’s speech was captivating from start to finish. From the beautiful Prezi slides, to the content, videos, and illustrations themselves, the audience felt as if they were seamlessly being taken on a journey through the ages.
He started by taking us back to 400,000 BCE, to the arguably one of the most significant innovations of human history — FIRE. He shared a video clip from the History Channel on the invention of fire, and how it brought communities together, and in turn, created language. He proceeded through a timeline of key innovations, from the invention of farming in 15,000 BCE, to the creation of money in 3000 BCE, the birth of electricity in 1600, the first radio in 1897, and the first PC in 1957 (made by IBM and not Apple), to 1990, when the World Wide Web was first introduced to the public. He took time to explain the birth of the Internet in Oct 29, 1969 vs Vince Cerf IP and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web. He then continued on to 2001, highlighting the “Buildup in Infrastructure” Era, followed by the 2008 “Mobile” Era, the 2012 “Social Media” Era, and the 2014 “Sharing Economy” Era, where asset utilization trends rage and companies like airbnb and WeWork thrive. He finally brought us back to present day 2016, calling it the “FinTech Revolution” Era, where companies such as Wealthsimple and Borrowell grow everyday.
Just when we thought the timeline had reached its end, Ray extended it further, predicting the 2018 “Internet of Everything” Era, which describes a networked connection of people, data, process and things (Cisco, 2016). But wait, there’s more. Jumping 22 years more years into the future, Ray brings us to 2040, the era of “Artificial Intelligence”. Let’s just say, the audience was not prepared for what they were about to learn that evening.
Through the “Inventions Through the Ages” timeline, Ray explains how each of these discoveries were made to adapt to that time period and its people’s needs, that they each became more complex and important as societies developed.
Quite simply, Ray says that “Innovation is Evolution”.
With the audience on the edge of their seats and their eyes glued to the screen, Ray began his discussion with the “FinTech Revolution”, what FinTech is, how it is growing today, and what it is driven by.
Ray followed his FinTech discussion by touching on the abundance of (hidden) talent in the GTA. He believes that through combined Canadian startup and FinTech innovation, Canada can become a key player in the FinTech industry. With our strengths in the Financial/Banking industry, this would be an opportunity we cannot miss.
The presentation also highlighted a study that Ray and his team conducted on a sample of 400 Canadians, asking them for their views on FinTech.
One of the most interesting facts he shared was that 53% of the individuals surveyed said that they trust their FinTech providers more than their own banks!
The next topic was about Crowd Funding. Again, he highlights Canada’s risks of falling behind in comparison to the US, and says that by sitting on the sidelines in FinTech, Canada risks losing its world-renowned banking reputation.
Ray then spoke about Blockchain Technology, which is defined as a distributed ledger that maintains a growing database of transactions. He explained why it is strong and reliable, and how financial institutions and other industries are planning to use the technology.
The next topic was about Robo Advisors, online wealth management services that provide automated, algorithm-based portfolio management advice without the use of human financial planners. He discussed its benefits and the growing interest in the service from both millennials as well as older generations.
The final portion before the Q&A period was dedicated to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Ray shared his interest for AI, and sparked the audience’s curiosity with his insights. He defined each of the 3 types of Artificial Intelligence stages: Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), and Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI). He also explained what we can expect to happen in the future (based off Ray Kurzweil’s predictions), and how to test for AGI. Thanks to @Candice_So for highlighting the details on Twitter!
Let’s just say, AI is evolving everyday, and that in the future, the growth of AI is predicted to be exponential. Essentially, it will come to a point where even humans themselves will not be able to stop the process. Yikes!
All in all, it’s fair to say that the event was a success. A lot of positive feedback from the audience!
Feedback, comments? Let us know!
References: “InternetOfEverything.” Internet of Everything. Cisco. Web. 24 May 2016.