Sir John: Bermuda can help world evolve

  • Global view: Sir John Swan, left, speaks at yesterday’s Liquidity Summit, watched by moderator Stan Stalnaker (Photograph by Jonathan Kent)

    Global view: Sir John Swan, left, speaks at yesterday’s Liquidity Summit, watched by moderator Stan Stalnaker (Photograph by Jonathan Kent)


Technology-driven change is moving so fast that people’s minds are struggling to keep up and that is leading to geopolitical conflict.

That’s the view of Sir John Swan, former Premier of Bermuda, who was speaking at the Liquidity Summit, a Bermuda Tech Week event, yesterday.

Asked by moderator Stan Stalnaker, founder of Hub Culture, to make some sense of global events, Sir John said the world needed more friendship.

“The problem with the world now is that people define their position not as friends or as people who want to support each other, but as adversaries,” he said.

“You see it on the news, you hear it in conversations. The end result is that there is always a defined position of ‘you belong here and I belong there’.”

He compared these tensions to the Second World War years. Then the clashes were around philosophical and political differences, whereas now it was the clash of technological advance with traditional ways of thinking.

In the time of the war, he said, information moved at the speed of sound — now it moved at the speed of light.

Humanity needed to adapt to this fast-moving world to restore order, he said, as technological developments were outpacing our minds’ abilities to keep up. People did not want change, but change was coming fast.

Fintech and blockchain were redefining the language we speak, the language of technology and the future.

Accountants had traditionally done things in boxes, he said, but blockchain meant all that could be joined as one process, allowing the bigger picture to be seen more easily.

“It allows you to integrate your whole system and because things are moving so fast, you need to integrate your whole system,” he said.

Sir John added that the United States was no longer all powerful.

“We’re used to the power of the bullet and the bomb and now we have to get used to the power of technology that will interdict into any system and change the order of it. Because we can’t see it or hear it, we assume it doesn’t exist.

“The question we have to answer is: how do we redefine our new paradigm?

“Bermuda has always played a role in the evolution of these new paradigms as they have emerged. Today we are at that stage, waiting to help the world redefine itself.”

He added: “We are at the Bill Gates stage. People take it for granted now, but we didn’t have a language for computers at that stage.

“Now we’re at the next stage. Think of the new paradigm. You can’t think ‘I’ll come back to the conference next year and deliver that message’. Things are moving so fast now across the world.

“In China there are 1.4 billion people and in India the same. Out of that, you only need 100 people to redefine the future.”

Addressing the audience of technology experts, entrepreneurs and investors, he said: “Join us, be a part of this dynamic thinking, we’re so glad you’re here, because we believe you’re onto a fantastic thing.”

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Published Oct 16, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 15, 2019 at 9:08 pm)

Sir John: Bermuda can help world evolve

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