Armen Sarkissian: Innovation will become the locomotive of future development, and on this Armenia is in a very favorable position
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Paris on a working visit, participated today to the conference on entrepreneurship, innovation and critical thinking held in the framework of the 90th General Meeting of the Armenian General Benevolent Union.
The President of Armenia and member of the AGBU Central Board of Directors Armen Sarkissian in his statement noted in particular that the AGBU is a global and at the same time is a clearly Armenian institution which serves the interests not only of our nation but of the entire humanity.
“We are entering the era of a rapid evolution,” President Sarkissian said. “It is based on the research made in the 20th century, scientific discoveries in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, discovery of the laws of the new world which are the quantum laws, quantum mechanics up to the theory of relativity, gravitation, etc. In the 20th century, we were conducting research as an academic work. However, the time has come when the results of these researches become industrial.”
Mentioning among new technologies and discovering artificial intelligence, President Sarkissian noted that it would have a great and critical role and would introduce great and dramatic changes in our lives. “It will influence our life, starting from the management of big cities up to making the life in these cities easier,” President Armen Sarkissian said. “Yerevan has the same problems as Paris. In the end of the day, artificial intelligence will solve these problems.”
According to the President, artificial intelligence will make changes also in the area of healthcare and because of it, the results of medical exams can be received in minutes. It will have a huge impact on the efficiency of that area. The same is true for the legal area. “With the help of artificial intelligence, we can do magic,” President Sarkissian said, “We can improve our immune system, fight cancer, and live longer. Thus, all this can radically change our life.”
The next thing that the President of Armenia highlighted were startups.” Those are wonderful ideas, a new version to start business in the 21st century which gives freedom to the innovative power of the people,” Armen Sarkissian said. “In the 21st century young people have enough tools – IT, innovations, and information to become creative. Look at the largest companies of the world, are they old, big, industrial companies, natural resources? No, those are Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. All of them were founded by few individuals who possessed the innovative power.”
The next topic of the President was titled the reality and virtual world. “We are living in a world in which the boundaries between the reality and virtuality are destroyed,” he said. “Just think, how many ours you spend in virtual world – with your phone, your computer, or TV. Virtual and real are merging, the boundaries between them are destroyed. Eventually, the virtual is starting to prevail, however, the in the globalized, interconnected world, the virtual is not only about our life, bank accounts, or our personal data. Everything we do become virtual. For instance, take sports as the great achievement of the 20th century: Sport competitions, international tournaments are watched by millions all over the world. But the young people of our days are watching largely their friends who are competing in computer games. The number of people, who are watching virtual competitions today is equal to the number of people who watch the real ones. Thus, the reality and virtuality merge.”
President Sarkissian in his statement said that in the 21st century classical institutions and organizations would gradually become less and less relevant versus direct approaches, ideas, movement, inspiration, and energy. “The small can be very powerful,” he noted. “From now on, the small is important.”
Addressing young people, the President of Armenia said in particular, “If I was someone, who was asked as a professor to give a piece of advice on what to do to achieve success in life, is it necessary to be a teacher, lawyer, doctor, or someone else, my answer would be the following – don’t think of becoming someone. First of all, explore yourself, understand who you are, what qualities you have because every child is born with a talent. One is talented in music, the other in mathematics, the third in crafts, the other one has a talent to listen or to talk. Thus, discover yourself and when you have done it, you will understand how important education is. Armenia can produce new ideas in the area of education. Education matters but it too will change. The first tool which appears in the hands of a two-year boy or girl is phone, or iPad. They are so talented that are able to find very fast whatever they are looking for. When they turn 3, they are given books. And how do they react to books? They think, book is broken iPad, it doesn’t work. Of course, eventually they will read the book but education will be different.”
In the end of his speech, the President spoke about morality. “We may have artificial intelligence, huge success in technologies, but if we don’t morality, we are doomed,” the President of Armenia said. “Humankind discovered fired which was for good, it allowed to cook food, to warmed them up and became the engine of development. However, that same fire was used by people for destruction. Or the hammer that was create to build to build a house, other useful things but another kind of hammer was used to kill.
Nuclear energy was created to be useful but at the same time it became great danger. Hence, the problem is not with technology or a tool, the problem is with us and our values. If those are right values, human values, lead towards future, God is with us. But if those are destructive values, God save us.
Where does Armenia stand here? In Armenia too, the evolution in technologies, science, politics, political structure has started. In all these areas, we can be one of the leaders in the world because globalization is the moving force behind this rapid evolution, global interconnectivity. We are a unique nation, a small state, but a global nation which interconnected and interactive. So, we are in a very good position in this world. We spoke about artificial intelligence. There are friends who are engineers, scientists who know how developed the mathematics and physics in Armenia and outside. Many of you were born not in Armenia but visited there and created many valuable things. The new world will not be dominated by natural resources or huge industrial line. I foresee that 10 may be even 5 years later we will replace Ford’s invention because the next generation of automobiles will be assembled in shopping mall with 3D tools. Car making will become a know-how, and there will be no need for big structures. Armenia and Armenians have a small advantage on this. Take startups: All over the world, in this area Armenians are coming up with brilliant ideas. I have a list of nearly 50 companies who are very successful all over the world. The startup culture is very common in Armenia. There is the Seaside Startup project in our country which every year brings together startups in different venues – Dubai, Australia, this year –near Lake Sevan. I was there this year - it was just fantastic. The new culture of production, innovation is important, and we can be successful there. Even big companies understand that to be successful, they need to push innovations and startups. Innovation is going to be the locomotive of the future advancement, and on this we are very well positioned there.
Young people should be able to adapt. Let’s remember who we are: We are children, grandchildren and grand grandchildren of those who suffered as a result of the Genocide of 1915. It was perpetrated to eliminate us but we have a powerful ability to resurrect and of rebirth. Thus, April 24 is not just the day to remember: On that day we prove to the world that Armenians cannot be destroyed. We proved that we have the ability to rise from the ashes. We have that fantastic quality of surviving, which is important in the new world of the 21st century. You need to be the one who is able to adapt very quickly, and make the right decision. We can do that. The new world is also our world. Hence, I would like to the tell young people – you are the children of the new world. And when I say a new Armenia or new Armenians, I mean that in the new world, we have a strong place. We need to govern our country as a advanced and strong country of the 21st century.”