Digifest Profile: Navid Nathoo

Digifest x NOW Digital Residency

As part of this month’s Digifest x NOW Digital Residency, we’re profiling speakers and prominent thinkers associated with George Brown College’s Digifest festival (April 26-28, 2018). See all of the profiles here.

What do you do in your industry? 

I’m developing young people to solve the world’s most important problems using emerging technologies like AI, quantum computing and blockchain. 

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Digifest? 

Inspiring people to reach their full potential and solve big problems in the world. Canadians are smart, but we tend to shy away from taking risks and thinking big. That needs to change. 

What does it mean to “future-proof” a city?

A future-proof city is one that is adaptable. We need to understand that the world is changing faster than ever, and we need to build flexibility and adaptability into our cities so they can embrace innovation. 

An example of this is The Boring Company, which is led by Elon Musk. They are building underground tunnels to accelerate transportation. Toronto should be first in line to pilot new ideas. We should build our infrastructure flexibly so we can take risks and try new things with minimal downside. Another example is Smart Cities using the Internet of Things (IoT 2.0). To do this, we need to have a fully connected city – this includes strong Wi-Fi/LTE networks and, eventually, 5G networks. When 5G comes out, Toronto should adopt it immediately. Internet is a fundamental infrastructure and we need to prioritize it. 

3D printing and virtual reality have captured the imagination of consumers and industry. What do you think the next big technological innovation will be? 

The next big technological innovations will happen across all industries, and they will be enabled by artificial intelligence. Health care will advance faster than ever before with the aid of AI. Financial markets will completely transform when coupled with AI. Even the government will become more efficient as it’s able to leverage all the data it has by combining it with AI. Data is at the centre of everything we do, and to understand data, we need to use artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Name one woman in the tech industry who inspires you.

Ananya Chadha. She’s 15 years old and has built blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, brain-machine interfaces and is now working on self-flying vehicles. Yep, self-FLYING. She was invited to speak at the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) Summit in New York. She’s going to change the world. 

If you had to take a break from technology for one day, how would you spend that time? 

I would spend my day mentoring and educating young people. We need to share our knowledge with the next generation. We physically can’t live forever, but our knowledge can.

Visit the Digifest x NOW Digital Residency

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