La force de la décentralisation: des attentes et des risques



On October 7 through 9, 2019, more than 3,000 of the world's top technology and business leaders will gather in Yerevan, Armenia for the 23rd World Congress on Information Technology. WCIT is the signature event of the World Information Technology & Services Alliance, the consortium of ICT associations of 83 countries, representing 90% of the industry. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious ICT events in the world. For 40 years, WCIT has brought together CEOs and investors, policy makers and government officials, academics and technologists from more than 80 countries at this annual event to discuss the state of the industry, where it is headed, and what it means for the future of the world.

This year, WCIT will address The Power of Decentralization: Promise and Peril. In an ongoing series of discussions called The Yerevan Talks, WCIT 2019 will explore how information and communications technology is transforming our lives for better and for worse, and its impact on profits and prosperity, safety and security, democracy and humanity.

WCIT 2019 will also represent a special opportunity for Armenia to show the world its talent and potential in the fields of science and technology, to present its 5,000 plus-year old tradition of creativity, culture and achievement, and truly introduce itself to the world as the original, current and future innovation nation.

The Power of Decentralization: Promise and Peril

The Yerevan Talks will explore two overarching themes: decentralization and the promise and peril of technology. Decentralization empowers the individual and offers the promise of more resilient, open and democratic networks. But in the promise of decentralization there is also peril. The peril of intentional acts by those who misuse technology to inflict harm. And the peril of unintended consequences, when technology however well-meaning disrupts conventional cultural, economic and social expectations, and creates new problems as it attempts to solve old ones.

The paired opposites of promise and peril go to one of the greatest challenges facing the technology industry today, and all of us in thinking about technology and its place in our lives and the world: its limits. For the better part of a generation we have lived in a world in which technology rules. The industry that brings us this technology understandably obsesses over the good technology can do. Promise-oriented thinking and happy talk is the industry’s default setting.

At this point in history, however, the principal challenge is no longer that of inventing a new technology or a new application of an existing technology to solve a given problem. The principal challenge now is to recognize and address the consequences of the technologies and applications that are already shaping and reshaping the world. Indeed, it is even to reconsider the fundamental assumption upon which the technology industry is predicated: the evangelical notion that every human problem can be solved with a clever app. Thus, what the industry and all of us need to do now is to confront the perils too long overlooked or evaded, and to ask the hard and even uncomfortable questions.

We the organizers of WCIT 2019 Yerevan decided to take a bold, unconventional approach to framing the agenda of WCIT and all the topics we intend to explore. We mean to examine not just the promise but the peril of technology and the technological way of life the tech industry is promoting, on the stage of a major technology conference. We mean to provoke a genuine discussion by taking ideas, even dissenting, contrarian and controversial ones, seriously, from everyone in the world today who has something relevant to say from both within the information and communications technology industry and beyond. This is what we intend to do at The Yerevan Talks.

Do we really want to create decentralized systems free from all regulatory authority?

If not, how do we regulate decentralized technologies to ensure that they are not misused by the thoughtless, the unscrupulous or the infamous? The paired opposites of promise and peril also cut far more broadly, to one of the greatest challenges facing the technology industry today, and all of us in thinking about technology and its place in the world: its limits. Promise-oriented thinking and happy talk about technology is the industry’s default setting. What the industry and all of us need is to confront the peril, too long overlooked or evaded, and to ask the hard and uncomfortable questions.
For the better part of a generation we have lived in a world in which technology rules. And the technology industry understandably obsesses over the good technology can do. But at this point in history the principal challenge is no longer that of inventing a new technology or a new application of an existing technology to solve a given problem.


WCIT 2019 will take place in the Karèn Demirjyan Sports and Concert Complex, Yerevan's indoor sport, entertainment and convention center, known as “The Hamalir.” The Hamalir is a remarkable building that houses a number of performance and event spaces in a unique architectural setting.

Substantive Sessions & Other Elements of the Program

WCIT’s program will consist of a series of substantive sessions, lightning rounds and special speaker presentations, occurring on one or both of two main stages located in two halls of The Hamalir, Galaxy Hall and Sky Hall. The program will also feature a number of networking opportunities which will take place in various locations throughout The Hamalir.

Substantive sessions will open with a 20-minute, stage-setting, special keynote speech by a notable speaker who has a significant connection to the subject matter of the session, or with a 20-minute one-onone discussion between a notable speaker and the moderator of the session. This opening will be followed immediately by a 55-minute moderated panel discussion, featuring up to 6 panelists representing a variety of perspectives, industries and areas of expertise.

All substantive sessions and other events on the program will be open to all attendees (with the sole exception of a single closed ministerial session, explained below).

Distinguished Speakers Series

WCIT’s Distinguished Speakers Series will be a special series of speeches and intimate conversations with consequential figures from inside and outside in the ICT industry, including founders of some of the most recognized and respected names in tech whose vision, imagination and grit have made the information revolution possible, and special guests whose voices ought to be heard. There will be three such sessions, one on each day of WCIT. In addition, there will be other special speaker presentations as well.

Meet Our Speakers

Lightning Rounds

This year, for first time in its 40-year history, WCIT 2019 will host a series of "Lightning Rounds" which will provide entrepreneurs and innovators a unique opportunity to showcase their startup ideas and new technologies before a global ICT audience.

Fifteen presenters have been selected by an international jury of technologists, venture capitalists and ICT experts and practitioners, from a pool of applicants including individuals, institutions and established companies from around the world. Each presenter will have 3 minutes to make their presentation in one of three sessions, one on each day of WCIT.

The six most promising presenters will be awarded the inaugural Armenian Technology Communities Prize (three first place winners and three second place winners) and share a $105,000 purse given on behalf of the entire high-tech community of Armenia.

Application submission took place from July 15, 2019 - September 15th 2019 and startups from more than 13 countries applied.

Networking Opportunities

WCIT will furnish ample opportunities for attendees to network. Among these will be special areas for networking designated by topic during lunch, and an app that permits attendees to connect with one another.

ICT Ministerial Sessions

WCIT Yerevan will present two ministerial sessions for the ICT ministers of participating nations: a plenary open to all attendees and a closed workshop for ministers to share ideas about their national blueprints for digital transformation.


Sunday, October 6 - Pre-Opening Celebration

World’s First AI Concert and Armin Van Buuren at Republic Square

On the evening of October 6, WCIT 2019 Yerevan will present an opening concert performed by the WCIT Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Sergy Smbatyan. Symphony musicians from the 15 countries that have hosted WCIT during its 40-year history will play music composed in real time by AI technology, derived from the "musical DNA" of those countries. The concert, which will take place in Yerevan’s iconic Republic Square, will be an international first: the first time that symphonic music composed in real time by AI technology will be performed live, by an orchestra of live musicians.
The concert will also feature a first-time collaboration between Maestro Smbatyan and international superstar D.J. Armin van Buuren who will perform together before Armin van Buuren closes the show with an hour-long performance of his own. The concert will be open to all, free of charge.

The deadline is September 10, 2019

Topic Lunch & Network Opportunities WCIT will furnish ample opportunities for attendees to network. Among these opportunities will be Topic Lunches. On each day of WCIT attendees may choose to attend lunches dedicated to particular topics, such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, AI and augmented reality and virtual reality hosted by experts in those fields.

Monday, October 7 – Substantive Sessions
WCIT 2019 Keynote Address

Rise of the Machines Big Data, AI and robotics are increasingly delivering us new efficiencies, economies and conveniences in ways never before imaginable. But at what cost to current workforce and social structures, human decision-making, economic security and other dynamics? We explore…

Tuesday, October 8 – Substantive Sessions Ministerial Session

National digital transformations successfully managed offer the promise of more open and responsive government, more efficient delivery of public services and greater private sector innovation and economic growth. Our panel of distinguished ICT ministers from around the world shares the lessons they…

Where Art We Going?

Since the dawn of man when the first artist dared to paint figures on the walls of a cave, the capacity to make art has helped define what it means to be human. Now machines are about to upend that understanding. We explore what it means to be creative and thus human in the dawning age of intelligent machines.
Disruption Delusion “Disruption” is the mantra and governing ethos of the tech industry. Its imagination and audacity have changed the world, but not without upending the lives, livelihoods and expectations of millions.
How can we mitigate the negative externalities of the next “killer app,“ and ensure that disruption gets done right by minding the human factor? We explore.

Wednesday, October 9 – Substantive Sessions Genomics

AI and genomics will soon fundamentally transform healthcare, agriculture and even, most controversially, human reproduction. The prospect of designer babies and mad scientists tinkering with gene-editing technologies is no longer the stuff of science fiction. For practical purposes, that future is already here. And so is the time…

Detailed Program