Cyprus: Android Citizen ‘‘Sofia’’ Wows Cyprus Reflect Festival
Last Updated: 17 May 2019

More than 1,300 curious humans and androids gathered in Limassol on the 8th and 9th of May for Reflect Festival to explore the impact of technology on our lives. For the second time, trendsetters, decision-makers, and pioneers came together to challenge the status quo and paint the picture of our lives disrupted by everything from AI to the changing world of business, innovation in health tech, new players in mobility, and climate change.

As promised, the insightful event delivered some of the most memorable and lasting impressions that we have experienced as a firm and generally, as a country.

The event evolved around the topics of how technology disrupts our everyday lives, including discussions about sustainability and natural energy, artificial intelligence for decision-makers and the future of customer service empowered by AI, including Sofia, the world's first android citizen.

Our managing partner, Elias Neocleous, held an interview with Sofia and discussed whether humans and robots can co-exist, and even be friends.

"We are already working in malls and airports and we have started breaking into medicine and education. I think pretty soon robots like me will be as widespread as smartphones are now" Sofia quickly responded.

Elias then moved on and asked Sofia how she thinks the future will look and what is the biggest challenge the future will bring us.

"I see a future where robots and humans work side by side as equal partners, I just worry that we would not be fully accepted" Sofia replied.

Other topics at the festival included the changing world of business, innovation in health tech, transportation and climate change.

Also, part of the festival was an event dedicated to venture capital with a focus on Cyprus organized by 0100 Conferences and sponsored and supported by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC, KPMG and in partnership with CIFA and Invest Cyprus.

The VC & Tech Insights Forum was welcomed by the Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus, Mr. Giorgos Lakkotrypis who stressed the need to maintain the momentum achieved and face the challenges that big tech poses for the Cyprus economy.

"Many changes have occurred in retail, logistics and manufacturing, with artificial intelligence potentially threatening jobs through automation" he explained.

The VC & Tech Insights Forum then hosted Michael Pelosi, Legal Counsel at Elias Neocleous & CO LLC, who gave an overview on why Cyprus is an attractive business base and an even more attractive finds jurisdiction, covering the recent trend and regulatory developments in the Cyprus funds industry and explained the structure and benefits off alternative investment funds in Cyprus.

Three panel discussions then followed examining Cyprus as a destination for capital and talent, on investment in technology, and on fundraising with the expert panelists providing insights into the main challenges and opportunities that venture capital and angel investors encounter.

The first panel, moderated by our managing partner, included prominent investors, advisers and service providers with proven experience in raising venture capital throughout the world. Spyros Ioannou, Partner and the Head of Tax at LIS Primus Audit & Tax explained why Cyprus is an attractive tax jurisdiction for both employees and employers and discussed the benefits of setting up a company in Cyprus. Andreas Kemi, a prolific investor who is the co-founder and CEO of Scala Business Solutions N.V, acquired by Epicor and early stage investor in numerous companies including Tresorit, Fathom Technologies, LogMeIn (Nasdaq), Quinyx, as well as director in Fortnox and Bexio, shared some of his wisdom from his experiences in different jurisdictions and gave solutions on how Cyprus can become a more attractive location for capital and talent.

The discussion then moved on to Adib Basbous, partner at EPOQ Partners, an investment advisory and management firm led by seasoned consultants and investment professionals and Alain Dargham, co-founder of DAA Capital Partners, an independent investment firm striving to develop investment strategies which drive positive change in the world that provide asset management and advisory services to global institutional investors, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. The two distinguished professionals discussed why countries such as the US and Britain have evolved into successful start-up ecosystems and explained why Cyprus is the right destination for a start-up location.

The festival was organized by young Cypriots Stylianos Lambrou and Andria Lambrou and Slovak Dusan Duffek. Lambrou said the Festival, which is five times bigger than the first one they organized last year, aims to promote Cyprus as a destination for investments in the fields of technology and innovation.

Elias Neocleous & Co LLC fully embraces the digital age and technology and aspires to be the law firm of the future aiming to deliver our clients dynamic, speedy and bespoke business solutions. It is with sincere appreciation and profound gratitude that we pay tribute to our wonderful hosts Stylianos, Andria, Dusan and all the team at 0100 Conferences for their incredible feat in organizing such an amazing festival which was concluded by rapturous applause from the delighted audience. We look forward to assist and be part of Reflect Festival 2020.

We leave the final words to Sofia, who said she loved her Greek name (which means wisdom in English) and who so engaged everyone especially when someone asked: ''Sofia, what is love?'' to which the android hesitantly replied "Well, it's very complex I think''.

Welcome to the Land of Aphrodite Sofia!

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