Katapult Future Fest is a three-day festival in Oslo with the aim of bringing people together to discuss some of the biggest sustainability challenges in humanity, while focusing on exponential technologies and how to use these to create a more sustainable future for us all. The festival is driven by the 15 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, where several speakers and workshops are hosted to create discussion, inspire, and help us take action owards those goals.
The first day of the festival is reserved for investors in a tailored program that discusses all the opportunities inside impact investing. The other two days are the actual “conference days”, with a very varied program and colorful scenery, promising enough for attendees to take home the best impression from Oslo and other entrepreneurs around the world.
The venue does matter as it goes in hand with the experience you want the attendees to have and Katapult nails it — the event is hosted in a venue called SALT, with a fantastic overview to the ocean and Oslo’s iconic Opera house. The coziness of the venue together with the different stages, one main hanging out area, and a few eating spots, helps people come together and have a chat in a relaxed manner— which is clearly one of the goals, to create discussion in the “hallways” and help the attendees feel like they are part of a badass family on a journey to change the world.
This being the second year Katapult is hosted, it had an outstanding diversity of speakers and attendees in all the techy areas, just a quick look into the program and you will find out it was very well balanced. Clear trends this year that will rather cause disruption sooner or later, artificial intelligence, cellular agriculture, blockchain & cryptocurrencies. However, the eminent trend in Katapult were the minds in sync with a common mission “how do we use technology to create a better future for us all?”.
To me, some of the eye opening speeches, in first place, was the Cellular Agriculture keynote from Seth Bannon — one of the founding partners at Fifty Years, where he teaches us how you can tackle several problems at once. For example, one of their portfolio companies, Memphis Meats which produces meat from animal cells in a more sustainable way: no slaughter, less land and water use. This company just by using Cellular Agriculture to produce food, is helping us reach several of the SDGs simultaneously, such as Zero Hunger, Climate Change, and Responsible Consumption and Production.
The second discussion I personally enjoyed, came in the form of a panel discussion with Beena Ammanath, Ali Shah ,Jake Metcalf, and touched AI & Ethics, a topic that for long had been in my radar — “who has the power?”, “what should be built or not built with AI”. In the panel, a very unique perspective was given about how the ethics in AI will be determined by the needs of our society, assuring that technology will not eliminate our very own human values. The power of AI will rest in those that understand it the most, such as to why the panel emphasized the importance of educating people and teaching all the possibilites and responsibilites that lay with this technology and understand what goes behind building these super smart systems. Otherwise, the power will lay in just a few.
The fest this year, was fortunate to happen in the midst of what seemed to be some of the most sunny and warm days Oslo had seen since last winter. The joy could be spotted in the lines while people were waiting to buy their lunches, also,while they were noticeably sweating their asses off while observing some of the discussions inside the sauna venues or even while they were standing inside the Sirkus stage listening to the keynotes in a packed setting— all in all people seemed to have fun in this “impact-led beach village”
For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you. — UN
While the UN has set the SDGs to transform our world by 2030, and Katapult continues to play a key role in the “impact” field on a global scale, what will you do, how will you help?