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Web3: hype or reality? Tech leaders weigh in at EIT Hub Silicon Valley’s summit

Web3: hype or reality? Tech leaders weigh in at EIT Hub Silicon Valley’s summit

By: Samira G-Curtis & Aida Khalilova

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Web3: hype or reality? This new model based on blockchain and decentralization, keeps polarizing opinions, being hailed as the future of the internet or, conversely, condemned as a delusion. During its INNOVEIT Open Day on 8 November 2022, the EIT Hub Silicon Valley set itself to clear up what’s myth and what’s legit with some of the most prominent tech leaders and entrepreneurs from both sides of the Atlantic.

Despite the recent failure of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Web3 (itself heavily relying on blockchain and decentralized fintech) is still gathering record-high interest from investors and entrepreneurs. Axios reports that top early-stage investors, during the third quarter of 2022, were still more excited about DeFi and Web3 than about all other industries, putting the most capital into Web3-related ventures for the fifth consecutive quarters.

This spike in interest into Web3 opportunities, combined with questions about its challenges and legitimacy, set the scene for the launch of the new Web3 Series Summit, organized by the EIT Hub Silicon Valley as part of the successful INNOVEIT series.

The event brought together representatives from the European Commission, World Economic Forum, Harvard University, Stanford University, startups and venture capital, and sought to build community and connection among participants, creating visibility and leadership for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in this nascent area.

The first panel exposed the fear, uncertainty and doubt that currently plagues many elements of Web3, but also highlighted opportunities and a potential roadmap to gain trust. Thomas Hardjono, Technical Director at the MIT Internet Trust Consortium, stressed that there is a genuine desire for better control of personal data among web users, which blockchain can enable. Web3 has also enabled countless people in Southeast Asia to increase their income in a way that was not possible before, as pointed out by Joni Karras, co-founder of Kleoverse.

Creation of real-world value and latest developments were the focus of the second panel discussion, with Jan Liphardt, professor of bioengineering at Stanford, remarking how Web3 is enabling anyone anywhere to come together and build an economic system solely on the basis of their common interests or common goals. One clear area of value is the possibility of offering banking services to people who couldn’t otherwise access them, said Filipe Macedo, co-founder of TalentProtocol.

However, it was also clear that many challenges still need to be addressed regarding who owns what, and how ownership will be managed and recognized in the decentralized world.

The third panel reflected upon the achievements and opportunity for Web3 to impact society in a positive, lasting way, through the lens of sustainability, governance and social justice. Many concrete instance of positive impact from Web3 initiatives were pointed out, from ocean conservation to carbon-free energy certificates to transparent and traceable supply chains.

In closing the discussions, the fourth panel focused much on imagining the way forward, looking at hope and possibility while wondering what impact regulatory uncertainty may have, whether art will look the same with these new technologies available and how we can continue to innovate without stifling creators.

Overall, the Summit’s key message was optimism, commitment, and belief in the opportunities ahead. Building on the success of this event, the EIT Hub Silicon Valley will continue to develop its plans for Web3 community engagement and for a robust approach to ecosystem, innovation, education and financial development across EU and US efforts in this area.

A series of deep-dive panels and sessions, working groups online and live events is expected to continue to create momentum and to support development goals across EIT activities.

EIT Hub Silicon Valley INNOVEIT Web3 Summit: see the full event agenda and speaker list here, and sign up for the EIT Hub Silicon Valley newsletter to receive our latest updates.

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Access to Healthcare

The Health not The Death is a fundamental human right. A healthy population is not to be seen as human and social capital, an input, or by-product, towards economic growth. Alongside a healthy and sustainable environment, a solidarity, a healthy population must be the ultimate goal especially nowadays in helping Ukrainian migrants with cancer and their families.

Solidarity in health is a cornerstone of EU health policy. There are wide disparities in many health outcomes across the region and those outcomes. The access rules dramatically affect healthcare systems which are at the forefront of the migrant way, the people who are searching for help and the way how we could enhance and support their healthier and wellbeing status.

In order to ensure their access to care and continued cure in need, the probability of receiving a timely diagnosis and of surviving differs greatly from country to country where they are now. There is lack of information, help and inequalities in access. People need help in navigating cancer knowledge, diagnostics, secondary monitoring and prevention, way of treatments, and care.

Shifting our mindset, supporting healthcare connectivity, removing inequalities overall across Europe is our mission and even more now in a time of crisis, helping the Ukrainian people dealing with cancer is a good place to begin this transformative revolution.

1) Whether we have a chance to foster more holistic and integrated approaches to receive information and care, by supporting coordination and maximising an enabling and health-enhancing effect of care across services from different countries?

2) Whether actions should address the social determinants of health, the countries where they are now, the health need which they have, the social and language barriers are the conditions which have to be taken into consideration in a coordinated manner?

How might we improve patients and /or people who seek healthcare support, access to healthcare services at an EU & the Member States Healthcare systems level? Especially in a time of crisis in Europe.

How might we support refugees fleeing from their countries by navigating them to medical centres to receive best available care?  

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Predictive Treatment

Precision medicine aims to personalise care for every individual. Nongenomic and genomic determinants, combined with information from patient symptoms, clinical history, and lifestyle (nutrition, physical activity, stress etc.), can facilitate personalised diagnosis and prognostics. Yet this goal requires access to massive amounts of data which may come from different structured and unstructured sources; these can be our medical records, laboratory testing, a range of medical devices as well as from the patient himself. AI & ML can combine input from these multiple sources, analyse them and identify biomarkers that can support health professionals make more informed decisions. The convergence of precision medicine with the advanced AI capabilities will improve the ability to personalise care – improve diagnosis, risk prediction as well as therapy planning.  

HCPs want to better predict treatment response, given uncertainty around which treatment to prescribe to which patient and when to prescribe. How do we risk assess the patients, match them with the right treatment (personalised). How can we transform the wealth of data and link it to the predictive nature of how the patient will respond?

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Patient Journey Navigation

Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming and comes as a blow. Patients may feel on a roller coaster of emotions—they are scared, lost & confused not knowing what to expect, who to refer to, what to do and how to tell their loved ones.  They directly refer to “Dr. Google” to look for information about their disease, possible treatments, QoL strategies with the aim to have better understanding of their disease and learn how to better cope with their disease & treatment, yet information is not always valid, accessible, nor personalised or tailored to the patient’s status and needs therefore left with huge amounts of non-relevant information. Coming to the doctor, the physician’s time is limited and mostly focusing on the physical aspects of the disease & treatment, not leaving much time to ask questions nor discuss more holistic aspects of the disease such as emotional, psychological, social aspects. The patient (& caregiver in many cases) leaves the room with unanswered questions, doesn’t remember much of what has been said, and feels he is not heard, nor seen as a whole.

The need for navigating this journey along the emotional psychological stress is overwhelming & patients and their caregivers look for support (case manager/companion/partner) to help manage their disease holistically – starting from having clarity around their disease and treatment by having access to reliable and personalised information during their journey as well as having an integrated holistic care system , supporting them and their loved ones to navigate through the different aspects of their disease – medical, emotional, logistical, psychological, social, rights.

How can we support patients to navigate through the complexity of their disease and treatment ensuring they have validated holistic information about their disease journey & treatment and be empowered to  effectively manage their care 

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Peer-to-Peer Medical Exchange

As medical events pivoted from conference centres and meeting rooms to the virtual settings, learning opportunities continue. Lectures and presentations are translated to the new digital world, yet the ability to connect and network is relatively lost. Peer interaction is essential not only for information exchange but to share practical insights, allows consultation & in-person experience cross country and across borders leading to better disease management.

This peer-based learning/ consultation is highly valued amongst practising clinicians and was generally achieved when HCPs and KOLs met their peers in national & Intl conferences, group debates, advisory boards and even during quick corridor conversations. Attempting to replicate these in-person experiences into the digital space creates challenges and are not effective nor impactful as face-to-face engagements. 

How might we improve HCP medical exchange enabling physicians to easily communicate, consult, exchange opinions leveraging individual experts & centres of excellence knowledge, experiences, and practices?

How can we leverage the technological expertise to allow HCPs to connect with leading experts across countries to get advice / counselling for their cases?

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