President Shimon Peres hosted about 100 young world leaders on Thursday at a
Digital Life Design Global conference.
Held internationally and dealing
with digital media, science and culture, the conference was brought to Israel at
the initiative of hitech guru Yossi Vardi, and convened here for the second
“Let’s recognize that this is a new world to which we have to adapt
ourselves,” Peres told a rapt audience.
The president spoke for over half
an hour about the end of the agricultural era and the advent of the scientific
era and the way in which global companies with capital can, through goodwill, do
the work of governments without funds; about how land used to be a reason for
war because of the need to grow food.
Peres also expressed his support of
social media and text messaging, since it forces people to come straight to the
point instead of waffling, he said.
Peres worked his way through a series
of subjects until he got to a favorite of his, brain research, neurons and the
use of artificial intelligence. It is a matter of endless fascination to him
that while the human brain, which he called “a brilliant instrument,” can create
an artificial brain, human beings are thus far incapable of penetrating all the
secrets of their own brain.
But, he said, he was confident that soon
these mysteries would no longer be part of science fiction, just as robots were
Peres said he believed that in the long-term, the elimination of
many jobs and professions as an outcome of technological and scientific progress
would not result in vast unemployment, but would open the door to new industries
which are not yet on the radar.
“The coming decade will be the most
revolutionary in human history,” Peres predicted.
He foresaw discoveries
resulting from brain research changing the entire world, especially in
connection to prevention, cure and alleviation of disease, including genetic
The president was also convinced that brain research will lead
to new fields of education, and that education in the final analysis would lead
to greater world stability.
Looking back at what has changed since the
dawn of the Arab Spring, Peres said: “I wouldn’t recommend anyone become a
dictator in the Middle East. It’s over.”
He also talked about the new
horizons that challenge the imaginations of today’s younger generation,
reminding his audience that before most of them were born, the world watched
with bated breath as a man landed on the moon. But there was nothing there, said
Peres. It was like a desert and they came back to once again look at the stars
though a telescope.
But in the scientific era he said, the telescope has
been replaced by the microscope.