The Netexplo Forum celebrated its 10th edition


On 26 and 27 April 2017, the 10th edition of Netexplo Forum organized by the Netexplo Observatory in partnership with UNESCO, announced in Paris the winner of its Grand Prix among thousands of innovative digital projects spotted during 2016.

After two days of meetings and debates among entrepreneurs, leaders, start-ups, researchers, philosophers, and sociologists, and a vote by the public in UNESCO’s prestigious Room I, the Grand Prix of 2017 was awarded to “BitNation Refugee Emergency Response (BRER)”. This Swedish project aims at restoring an official identity to people via the blockchain, a technology that allows authentication and security of virtual transactions. The project allows undocumented migrants to obtain an official and unfalsifiable identity. Moreover, migrants are given a Bitcoin payment card, without the need for a bank account.

The other 2017 Netexplo Awards innovations were:

  • 3D Printed Dog Nose (USA): an explosive detector inspired by dog truffle, developed by scientists from the American Institute of Standards and Technology;
  • Abalobi (South Africa): a free application for small-scale fishermen developed within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Objectives;
  • Dexmo (China): bionic gloves with haptic feedback to feel the objects (textures and forces) in virtual reality;
  • The Next Rembrandt (Netherlands) an Artificial intelligence based software that paints in Rembrandt's style using a 3D printer, based on the analysis of more than 300 works of the painter;
  • Qure.AI (India): a solution capable through Artificial Intelligence of diagnosing diseases from scans, MRI and X-ray images and identifying possible tumors;
  • Premonition (USA): Intelligent robotic traps to counter mosquito-linked epidemic outbreaks. Equipped with machine learning systems to capture specific species, the trap realizes the necessary DNA analysis;
  • Sixgill (Israel): A cybersecurity state-of-the-art technology capable of browsing Dark Web sites;
  • Your MD (USA): validated by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, this app provides the patient with a diagnosis based on declared symptoms and can guide the patient to the most appropriate healthcare professional in the surrounding area.
  • India stack (India): further to the Aadhaar project, Netexplo award 2011, giving a digital identity to 1.1 billion Indian citizens, IndiaStack allows to develop concrete applications and services to citizens, businesses, education, and administration; in this respect, in front of the Forum’s audience, Member of India Parliament Dr Shashi Tharoor, stressed the importance of data security in the digital age.

Once again, the Netexplo Forum has provided an opportunity for discovering the current trends of digital innovation, from a year-long discovery process through a network of partner Universities all around the world.

The 2017 report was presented by Prof. Julien Levy (HEC), who delineated three major trends: - human focus, meaningful technological progress that enables individuals and communities to thrive under control; - nature made human, quantified, corrected and protected nature; post-human, machines that interact with us, augment us, replace us and challenge us.

Artificial Intelligence was undoubtedly the main and recurring theme during this edition of the Netexplo Forum, and was the object of a live debate by Alex Lebrun (Facebook A.I.) and Luc Julia (Samsung).

However, this 10th anniversary of the Netexplo Forum, organized since 2011 in partnership with UNESCO, was also the occasion to look back at all the innovations awarded in the previous editions, such as Twitter, Spotify, Waze, or even Airbnb. “Every year, the forum has helped us discover key digital trends”, said France Senator Catherine Morin-Desailly.

In his opening speech, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, Getachew Engida recalled that innovation is an inherent part of human nature, a human adventure where women and men continuously push the limits of the possible. Innovation, he said, is above all about people and their spirit and willingness to change the world for the better.

Freedom of expression; universal access to information and knowledge; respect for cultural and linguistic diversity; and quality education for all; these are the pillars of UNESCO’s vision of today’s knowledge societies. Through this partnership with the Netexplo Observatory, UNESCO contributes to sharing global digital innovation with decision-makers, governments, economists, academia and the media.

The two-day Forum was concluded by a live concert of Ballaké Sissoko and Vincent Segal, an exceptional conversation of cultures through traditional music instruments.