The 14th edition of Cyprus' biggest current affairs conference, the Limassol Economic Forum, successfully took place on 6 October 2023, at the City of Dreams Mediterranean Limassol. This year's event brought together industry leaders, experts, and innovators from around the world to engage in insightful discussions on critical issues shaping the international economic landscape.

Keynote speeches were made by Declan Costello, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, Belgium; and Constantinos Herodotou, Governor, Central Bank of Cyprus. Forum discussions addressed popular topics like energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean; innovation in business and the next generation of game changers; and foreign policy and international relations redefined.

One of the highlights of the event was the animated panel discussion on "Innovating for the Future: Technology, Entrepreneurship, and the Future of Work". Participating as a panelist was Elias Neocleous & Co LLC's Managing Partner Elias Neocleous alongside other esteemed experts and thought leaders in the field like Roman Biller, Vice President, Technology EMEA-East at Oracle; and Apostolos Leonidhopoulos, Managing Director at Kyndryl Greece & Cyprus. The discussion was moderated by Kyriakos Kokkinos, Former Deputy Minister to the President for Research, Innovation, and Digital Policy, Cyprus.

The panel delved into the profound impact of rapidly advancing technology on our lives and workplaces. Mr Kokkinos kicked off the discussion with comments on technology as a shaper and evolution of the world. He touched on the role that these technologies play in not only increasing efficiency, but also innovating new business models, and changing the way we transact and interact with each other, socially and commercially. He also addressed the widening gap between high-income and low-income workers, despite new job opportunities being created through technology.

The panel delved into the profound impact of rapidly advancing technology on our lives and workplaces. Mr Kokkinos kicked off the discussion with comments on technology as a shaper and evolution of the world. He touched on the role that these technologies play in not only increasing efficiency, but also innovating new business models, and changing the way we transact and interact with each other, socially and commercially. He also addressed the widening gap between high-income and low-income workers, despite new job opportunities being created through technology.

Mr Neocleous spoke about the firm's AI and tech journey several years back in anticipation of the upcoming developments raised by Mr Kokkinos. He talked about how this led to the creation of the neolaw.ai tool that while groundbreaking, was impacted by ChatGPT and generative AI to the extent that it had to be redesigned. Mr Neocleous highlighted that programming has been democratized, making it accessible to all; that the digital and technical divide is being eliminated; and that the speed at which machine learning is advancing knowledge and intelligence is opening the race to what is being referred to as artificial general intelligence; presenting a substantial challenge that had to make the firm rethink its own product. He concluded that the ability to predict the impact of disruption is critical, and that both the public and private sectors must be involved in creating a regulatory environment that ensures these challenges do not create a rupture in the fabric of our society.

Mr Biller of Oracle discussed the opportunities that AI presents, despite the challenges that it also imposes. He used as an example the 50k software developers employed by Oracle despite the company no longer writing code, which resulted in shifting those 50k people from operationally producing something to becoming more outcome focused, instead of laying them all off. Mr Biller touched on other major advancements like the embedding of 30 AI development companies into Oracle's cloud infrastructure as well as the Oracle's collaboration with Nvidia to build the biggest supercomputer, something that would not have been possible without big data or this technology.

Kyndryl's Mr Leonidhopoulos added that technology has always been inherently transformative, and that instead, what we are seeing today, is the exponential growth in the speed at which we create, invent, adopt, and even discard new technologies globally. He emphasized that while these are exciting times, with limitless opportunities on how we can change our lives, our work, and even the planet, the speed and breadth of adoption must be handled carefully and in a unform way, across borders and continents. Mr Leonidhopoulos added that at the base of this is people, and it is through their ingenuity that technology continues to advance. However, upskilling and reskilling is key across enterprises to mitigate the challenges of this rapidly changing world.

An interesting Q&A session touched on topics like whether AI is just another hype cycle of a tech evolution or if we are really at the point of a new world order; if the democratization of data is possible; and the vital need for data literacy in the education system and professional academic programs.

The full discussion and Q&A session can be viewed

Our firm is immensely proud to have been a Platinum sponsor of this innovative event, and we extend our thanks to all participants, speakers and attendees who contributed to making the forum an exceptional success for yet another year. We eagerly anticipate future editions of this conference where we will continue to explore dynamic forces shaping our globalized world.

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For more information, please refer to your usual contact at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC.