Lisbon Web Summit: AI to destroy millions of jobs | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 10.11.2016
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Lisbon Web Summit: AI to destroy millions of jobs

Investors believe it is "inevitable" that artificial intelligence will destroy millions of jobs and that governments are unprepared for it, a new survey revealed, pointing to the technology's negative side-effects.

Artificial intelligence (AI), or the process by which computers or robots perform tasks that need human intelligence, was one of the key themes of this week's Web Summit in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

The poll, conducted among 224 venture capitalists attending the conference showed 53 percent believed AI would destroy millions of jobs and 93 percent saw governments as unprepared for this.

The survey also found that 83 percent of the investors canvassed expected Britain's exit from the European Union to damage Europe's economy and 77 percent believed it would damage British startups.

London is widely seen as the main tech startup hub in Europe, thanks to its large pool of talent and a much bigger pool of funding than in rival centers. Cities like Berlin, Amsterdam and Lisbon are eager to attract more tech startups.

The Web Summit, one of Europe's biggest tech conferences, was held in Lisbon for the first time, with 53,000 attendees, after moving from Dublin where it was first launched in 2010.

It's now billed as the world's largest IT event.

As a result of the summit, the Portuguese capital was awash with posters heralding the beginning of a new IT era. Media reports had compared Lisbon to Silicon Valley, while the government kept praising the advantages of hosting the summit for the crisis-ridden eurozone nation.

The venture capitalists taking part had more than $100 billion of capital in total to invest.

Women, who are under-represented in the IT industry, had also made their voices heard at the summit. Organizers said that nearly half of the 53,000 attendees were women, helped by their offer of free tickets for female entrepreneurs in a drive to try to rectify a large gender imbalance in tech.

sri/hg (Reuters, AFP)


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