- Jonathan Ledgard
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The potential for an 'emerging economy' to leapfrog typical growing pains has long been discussed in development circles. Mobile phones are proof of this and now the emergence of renewable energy system, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and robotics make new leaps possible. Many of these new technologies offer advantages over their predecessors in that they allow a nation or region to bypass investment in infrastructure such as fossil fuel power stations, road and communication networks. In addition, these decentralised technologies become entrepreneurial opportunities.
Our guest in this live studio event is no stranger to these arguments. Jonathan Ledgard was a foreign correspondent for The Economist for two decades, with an expertise in politics, war, business and technology in emerging economies. He was a longtime director at the avant-garde Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Jonathan now works to help pioneer new advanced technologies in poorer communities. With Norman Forster, he invented the 'Droneport' which showcased at the Venice Biennale and will be built in Rwanda in 2017. Jonathan argues that cheap droneports are needed for large cargo drones to connect towns where there are not enough roads. In a parallel life, Jonathan is a novelist. His latest novel, Submergence, has just been adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.
Jonathan Ledgard is founder of the new Rossums studio and director of a future Africa initiative at EPFL in Switzerland. He was a long-time Africa correspondent of The Economist. He leads the Redline group which seeks to build droneports and cargo drone lines in Africa. His second novel, Submergence, a New York Times book of the year, is presently being adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.
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