(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Over 1,000 school and university students, entrepreneurs, experts in various fields and ministers curious to hear about innovation from an internationally renowned Jordanian professor on Monday gathered at the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF), as part of the conference 'Future and Innovation' given by Omar Hatamleh, CEO of Innovation at NASA and CEO of Space Studies at the International Space University.
Hatamleh, who obtained his first degree in engineering from the University of Jordan, has over 20 years of experience in space studies and speaks four languages, lectured the audience about future technologies which are expected to replace 60 per cent of the jobs in the labour market.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Robotics, 3D manufacturing, Drones, Synthetic Biology, Quantum Computing and Augmented and Virtual Reality are some of the technologies that will play a great role in humanity's future, Hatamleh said, noting that innovation can happen in any field: Culture, management, governance and technology, citing driverless car and robots as two examples to be featured in the near future.
He discussed the pros and cons of such technologies in a world that is expected to witness an increase of population with an average life expectancy rising to 100 years old.
"A technology like driverless cars would decrease the losses in lives caused by road accidents, while saving time, energy and the environment," the professor explained, noting however that lower brain activity and high unemployment rates are seen as serious concerns for scientists and researchers.
Answering a question by The Jordan Times about when such technologies would reach developing countries like Jordan, he said 'the challenge is not only the technology, but also the infrastructure, the ethics and the cyber security. It is a puzzle, as long as we put the little pieces together, It is going to happen whether we like it or not, it is just a matter it is a of time.'
Innovation is a long-term process that requires a mature ecosystem and collective intellectual efforts to face cultural challenges, Hatamleh told The Jordan Times in an interview after the lecture, noting "the environment has to be fertile to enable people to get out of their shell, and to be able to contribute to do these kinds of things and get academic dissertations."
The professor also met youth individually, answering their questions in various science and technology matters, before expressing his optimism over their future.
'I am not more special than anyone else here; if I was able to do it, anyone can do it. This new generation is even smarter, they have a market well deserved [ideas that will be] able to reach, they substantially hired much better things that us. Every time I talk to these young people, I get really impressed I definitely think the future is very promising,' he said.
He commended the efforts of institutions like AHSF in supporting the future of innovation in Jordan.
'This foundation is doing an outstanding work in trying to inspire the next generation and planting the seeds that are actually going be the future generation of scientists and engineers and innovators,' Hatamleh said.
"Culture sometimes stops something from progressing and innovating. [However], little by little, I think we are making progress and people are understanding what needs to be changed and emphasised. We actually have a lot of brilliant people and, by putting the collective intellects together, we will be able to have better environment and better innovation sites," he concluded.