The Power of Decentralization: Promise and Peril



Opening Ceremonies – October 6, 2019

Welcome to Yerevan! Enjoy a spectacle of music, lights, architecture, cuisine, and spirituality, highlighting Armenia’s 5,000-year old rich tradition of creativity, culture, and achievement!

Opening Keynote – October 7, 2019

Following opening keynote remarks, Co-Founder of Reddit and Initialized Capital Alexis Ohanian will interview the Keynoter to gain further insights into current and past events confronting the information and communications technology industry and humanity today.


Conference Overview

For four decades, WITSA’s World Congresses have explored the ever-changing opportunities and challenges of “Fulfilling the Promise of the Digital Age.” WITSA Secretary General Jim Poisant opens The Yerevan Talks with an overview of how decentralization offers the promise of more resilient, open and democratic networks leading to more prosperous economies, social systems, and international security. But decentralization also empowers malefactors bent on sowing chaos or catastrophe and perpetuates the problem of stove-piped development. What to do?


Each plenary session and breakout session described below is comprised of a 20-min address by a luminary from the world of information and communications technology (ICT) who set the stage for a moderated panel discussion with 4-5 panelists from a variety of perspectives, industries, and areas of expertise.

All 2-3,000 attendees are welcomed to all plenary sessions. Breakout sessions are interspersed within the three days of programming. Attendees choose one session from each of three pairs of concurrent breakout sessions.

Lightning Rounds

Open to all, showcasing flash-forward technologies from start-ups, big companies, univer sities, and more! Click here for more.


Rise of the Machines

Big Data, AI and robotics are increasingly delivering us new freedoms, efficiencies, safety, and conveniences in ways never before imagined. But at what cost to current economic, security, workforce, and social structures—and how do we address or rectify these costs?

Black Swan

How can cybersecurity solutions help manage risk in the age of vulnerability and unforeseeable threats—where cities and nations, critical infrastructure and companies rely on complex, open technological systems?

Innovation Meets Capital

A major Silicon Valley investor sets the stage for an exploration of blockchain, crypto-currencies, and IoT and their role in our lives, our wallets, and global finance.


Marketplace of Ideas

We explore how decentralized technology has disintermediated the entertainment, media, and journalism worlds—from disseminating art and information to creating new stars. What do these developments mean for personal privacy, trust in institutions, and new business models?

CIOs’ Message to the Industry

In our increasingly complex and complicated world, the unsung heroes of ICT have a message to their ICT suppliers. Join us in understanding the critical challenges CIOs face and how best to meet their needs as they address and anticipate the needs of their customers.

R/Evolution when AI Crosses Genomics

AI and genomics will fundamentally and quickly transform our healthcare, our crops, the way we make babies, and the nature of babies we make. How can we best facilitate innovation that hastens cures for disease, enhances health, and optimizes value-driven decisions which maximize benefits and minimize potential harm of these Promethean technologies?

Law and Regulation of ICT

We consider how IP protection, privacy, balkanization of the worldwide digital space, and other issues legal and regulatory set a framework for operating while often playing catch-up. How do we set the frameworks for new developments on the horizon?


How Green is Silicon?

A major celebrity introduces how his foundation is raising awareness about the planet’s condition while discussing how ICT can help shape environmental decisions for a healthier world. We explore ICT’s measures to contain its own use of energy.

Ministerial Roundtable

From ubiquitous broadband connection, AI, IoT to critical infrastructure grid management, Ministers of ICT Ministers from across the globe (Singapore, Korea, Estonia, Bangladesh, and Malaysia) will showcase their nations’ best practices and challenges in moving toward greater delivery of and distribution of enhanced public services. Following this plenary session, all ICT ministers are invited to participate in an interactive closed ministerial session facilitated by the Head of Government Digital Transformation of one of the world’s preeminent consultancies.


Attendees choose one session from each of three pairs of concurrent breakout sessions.

Smart Cities

Mayors, urban planners, and infrastructure builders from a diverse group of municipalities will discuss challenges and leading practices in leveraging ICT to increase their ability to provide residents with such comprehensive public services as transportation, security, education, and voter engagement.


Whether better patient experience and outcomes at a lower cost for people in the developed world or access to healthcare for those in the developing world, ICT promises meaningful and broad-reaching impact. So, how do we maintain privacy, improve efficiency, dependability and provide compassionate healthcare around the globe?


Disruption Delusion?

In discussions with executives from consumer services, tourism, hospitality and retail, we explore how to balance each new “killer app’s“ ability to increase our efficiency, convenience or wealth while minimizing the attendant negative externalities.

Defense, Military, and Aerospace

We explore what intelligence and IT/cyber-warfare are needed in an age of increasing strategic and tactical disinformation and potential dangers.

Financial Services

How do we keep our financial systems and services safe, trustworthy, and efficient—whether your own wallet or billion-dollar cross-border money transfers—in a world where money laundering can finance terrorist organizations or where other rogue players regularly findways to abuse the system?

Digital Inclusion

We explore how advancements in accessible and assistive technologies cover a wider and wider set of individuals with disabilities and how those advancements can lead to increased employment opportunities, independence, and personal fulfilment for marginalized individuals around the globe.


What Have
We Learned?

Our journalist and futurist pair will discuss highlights of the conference, contextualize the feedback, and provide a call to action for attendees in moving forward to further our goal toward optimizing ICT for a better world.


Enjoy the company of fellow ICT luminaries, experts, and practitioners from industry, academia, government for a special receptionunder the stars in Yerevan!

The WCIT is based on four main pillars: speeches, exhibitions, B2B meetings, and social events. These afford a unique opportunity.