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Official visit to USA: Technology, AI, Venture and Innovation Summit for a Sustainable Future

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the opening of the business festival "Technology, AI, Venture and Innovation Summit for a Sustainable Future” at Shack15 in San Francisco, USA.

Distinguished guests,
Good morning, everyone!

Finally we are here and we are opening this business - not conference - but business festival. So I hope you are all ready for that.

I have been looking a lot forward to this for many reasons. I always look forward to coming back to San Francisco and the Bay Area. 28 years ago I landed at the airport here and went over the bay bridge that you can see out the window - over to UC Berkeley where I was to study political science. I was excited and very eager to get going. And it is elating to be back in this very vibrant city. 

One of the tings that might put it in perspective a little bit, is that in '96 when I arrived I actually put in my first modem and got an email in my dorm room over at the International House. It was fantastic, it was a new age. I could actually email my friends no matter what the time was. It was amazing.

The internet access was painfully slow at the time, but it meant that a new world was opening up. 

Digitalisation has brought us greater freedom and new possibilities in so many ways. But it has also brought us new dilemmas – ethical, political, legal and health related ones – that I know many of you are concerned with. We need knowledge, leadership, smartness and reflection encountering new technological possibilities.

I look forward to meeting some of the brightest, most knowledgeable minds on these complex issues in the days ahead.

We must never lose sight of the ultimate question that has to follow every technological development:

Will this innovation improve people’s lives?
We must all work very hard to make that answer "Yes" - "Yes it will improve people's lives".   

There is something very special about the Bay Area. The combination of world-class universities and research institutions with the spirit of entrepreneurship, hope and great potential have resulted in a unique ecosystem that makes this area a global hub for innovation.

I am happy that so many Norwegian companies have joined me on this visit, and I look forward to seeing new Californian-Norwegian partnerships emerge as a result.

The overall challenge we are gathered here to address, is how to transition our economies to a greener future. We have an excellent starting point for this cooperation. We are both coastal regions with a deep connection to the ocean. Our populations share a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit.

We have both set bold climate targets. Which we know cannot be achieved without technological innovation.

Today’s seminar will focus on key elements in bringing new ideas to market: venture capital and AI, startups and scaleups. We will look at the latest developments in emerging technologies and how these relate to sustainable solutions. 

International cooperation is essential if we are to succeed.

Norway is one of the world’s most digitalised countries, and Norwegians are quick to integrate new technologies into society. From digital government services to electrification of transport on land as well as at sea, Norway has been an early mover and adopter.

For many years, I used to think that my grandmother was living through the time in history with the biggest and fastest changes: She was born in 1898, and she passed away in 1994. So she saw it happen. From almost no phones to telephones everywhere. From almost no cars to driving all over the place. From almost no planes to being able to fly everywhere in the world within 24 hours. That is a huge shift in one lifetime.

But now with artificial intelligence I may have to reconsider…
I am starting to believe AI will revolutionize our way of life to an extent that many of us still cannot quite imagine. Today’s technology revolutions are likely to create large scale shifts in the very skills we need and the way that we collaborate.

It’s inspiring to see that so many of the conversations here today are rooted in a commitment to work across disciplines and borders to develop responsible, trustworthy solutions that will benefit society as a whole.

These are also key components for Norway’s bid to host the Internet Governance Forum in 2025, in addition to promoting diversity, inclusiveness and transparency.

The US is Norway’s largest and most important partner for international Research and Development cooperation outside Europe. Last year, Norwegian institutions had more than 400 active joint projects in collaboration with US counterparts, on topics ranging from climate and polar research, to space, security, health, and artifical intelligence.

Looking at all the exciting topics for discussion today and the number of unknowns that lie ahead, there is clearly a large potential for collaboration.

I am confident that this seminar will help to broaden our networks, bring innovative ideas and investment opportunities to life, and further strengthen transatlantic cooperation.

I would like to thank everone that has worked really hard to put all this together, making it the success I am sure that it is going to be. I am very excited to be here with you today, I wish you fruitful discussions and look forward to hearing your views and insights, and to seing all the good results in the time to come.

Thank you.





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