Medals, a banquet and conversation in a festive milieu

Monday 29 October 2018

IVA’s 2018 Annual Meeting was a mix of tradition and renewal. A new President, a new Chairman and a new venue. But as called for by this almost century-old tradition, there were also speeches, a celebration of gold medallists and a festive banquet. The 99th Annual Meeting was held under the same roof from start to finish this year – in Stockholm City Hall. Reverting to how things were when this festive event first took place in the IVA building on Grev Turegatan in 1920.

In his speech as IVA Chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg painted a picture of the era of transition we find ourselves in. China is gaining a leading role in a number of areas of technology and globalisation and new technology are raising billions of people out of poverty. But the developments taking place are not benefitting everyone and are also breeding dissatisfaction and populism. Digitalisation and AI will change society fundamentally. Success in Sweden and Europe can no longer be taken for granted, according to Carl-Henric.

“Our political system and other actors in society need to step up. IVA in particular needs be part of the conversation and take on the task.”

Tuula Teeri, President of IVA, presented this year’s address on “Progress in Science and Technology,” which had an entirely new format – a visual fireworks display adapted for the Blue Hall. She expressed hope about the future of humanity, despite climate anxiety:

“It’s not too late to save the world with good knowledge and far-sighted political decisions. But it will not be possible without more research, education and business development. Policy-makers must create the necessary conditions so that Sweden can remain one of the world’s foremost knowledge and innovation nations,” she said.

“Technology can solve many of humanity’s great challenges,” she said. But she also warned about the ethical questions that rapid technological development raises.

Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan commended IVA’s Electricity Crossroads product in his speech of thanks during the banquet.

“The project and the Energy Commission were instrumental in bringing about a broad, party-neutral agreement in 2016 on Sweden’s long-term energy policy,” he said. During his speech he turned to Speaker of the Riksdag Andreas Norlén who was in attendance, and surprised him by suggesting a brand new IVA project under the heading “Government Crossroads,” as a possible solution to the Speaker’s current problems. The idea was well-received and filled the Golden Hall with applause and laughter.