Bold Business Logo

eMerge Americas: Creating Opportunities for Startup Companies in Miami and Beyond

Since 2014, startup companies in Miami and beyond have increasingly been aware of new and exciting developments. Thanks to eMerge Americas, Miami is quickly becoming a technology hub connecting Latin America to the rest of the world. The annual event in April of each year brings global enterprises, startups and government leaders together to promote innovative solutions. As a result, the potential of startup companies in Miami and Latin America has grown.

Bold Business had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Melissa Medina, President of eMerge Americas, at the 2019 Synapse Summit. During the interview, she discusses eMerge, its history and how it is changing the start-up world not only in Miami but across the Americas.

As a global technology platform, eMerge Americas has expanded tremendously in just a few short years. The 2019 eMerge Americas event will boast over 15,000 attendees and 400 companies from over 40 nations. Startups in Miami, Latin America and elsewhere will have access to global leaders in the process. As a result, eMerge Americas is serving as a catalyst for digital solutions that will transform future industries. At the same time, it is establishing Miami as the place for technological innovation among the Americas.

The Importance of Startup Companies in Miami and Latin America

Youth in Latin America recognize the importance of startup ecosystems and entrepreneurship in relation to their success. A recent World Economic Forum survey of 15 to 29-year-olds in Latin America identified these as critical issues. In fact, this group totals 163 million individuals, which is a quarter of the Latin American population. Their potential impact on future technologies and innovative solutions is notably significant based on sheer numbers alone.

eMerge Americas appreciates the diverse and extensive resources that exist in South Florida. In addition to startup companies in Miami, the area is rich with industry leaders. Likewise, Miami is recognized as an international destination for government and business leaders throughout the world. Understanding this, eMerge Americas has leveraged Miami as a means to connect Latin America to essential resources for future success.

startups companies in Miami and beyond go to eMerge Americas
Thanks to eMerge Americas, South Florida has proven to be a tech innovation gateway to South America.

eMerge Americas Annual Event Provides a Perfect Ecosystem for Startups

In a recent conversation with Melissa Medina, President of eMerge Americas, it is clear that values drive the organization’s efforts. A native of South Florida, Melissa has a passion for the area. She also recognizes the potential for startup companies in Miami and in Latin America for the future. These visions are fueled by advances in digital technologies in Latin America specifically.

The values that eMerge Americas highlight as part of their vision are several. These include resilience, accountability, impact, soulfulness, and excellence. With this in mind, eMerge Americas connects entrepreneurs, investors, business executives and government officials in a single locale. This has allowed startups in Miami and Latin America to increasingly showcase (and gain support for) their ideas and solutions. Likewise, the eMerge Americas convention lets key players come together to potentially solve the complex challenges of the future.

The 2019 eMerge Americas Conference – Destined to Make an Impact

This year’s eMerge Americas conference will again be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. And once again, several incredible speakers will be attending, offering startup companies in Miami and beyond unique insights. This year will include industry leaders like musician-producer Imogen Heap, SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott, and Intel’s Global Director Bryce Olson. Likewise, topics will cover subjects involving artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, and cancer-related genomics.

In addition to these sessions, eMerge Americas also offers a 12-hour Hackathon. This venue allows startups the chance to collaborate in solving challenging problems through innovative solutions. Likewise, the eMerge Americas gathering boasts several “speed dating” sessions for startup companies in Miami and from Latin America. In these sessions, the chance to connect with needed resources and identify industry mentors will be enjoyed. The outcomes of these sessions will undoubtedly be impactful for all participants.

eMerge Americas is a big event that helps startup companies in Miami
Startup companies in Miami and beyond can benefit greatly from the connections made at eMerge Americas.

eMerge Americas – Continuing to Advance Its Agenda Through Collaboration

While significant connectivity occurs within the eMerge Americas conference, other non-conference activities linking others together are pursued as well. Recently, eMerge Americas partnered with George Washington University to provide research avenues for startup companies in Miami and beyond. Specifically, research in technology, cybersecurity, and policy are key areas of research that might be attractive to startups. Thus, through both its annual conference and these connections, eMerge Americas is making a significant impact. Its ability to create future paths for innovation and solutions will likely prove to be tremendous for the Americas moving forward.

How eMerge Americas is Changing the Start-Up World

Neuromorphic Computing and Brain Chips— Neuromedicine Innovation or Pandora’s Box?

Though you may not realize it, more than 40,000 computer-brain interfaces have already been employed in healthcare today. Thus, to say computer-brain interfaces are something new would be inaccurate. But compared to what the future of neuromedicine holds, these types of interfaces are quite rudimentary. The real game-changer awaits us in the form of silicon brains and computer-brain connections. From neuromorphic computing to implanted brain chips, human—and machine—intelligence is about to take a quantum leap.

a photo quote of Eugene Izhikevich in relation to neuromorphic computing and brain chips
Eugene Izhikevich weighs in on the race in the sphere of neuromorphic computing

These incredible innovations offer tremendous insights into how the brain works. And they introduce incredible opportunities for creativity, complex problem solving, robotics and healthcare.

But at the same time, serious concerns exist. In addition to privacy and security risks, new problems could also arise from superintelligence. The question is how these advances in technology and science will be managed when it comes to being socially responsible.

Understanding Neuromorphic Computing and Brain Chips

At the current time, the two technologies of neuromorphic computing and brain chips are somewhat separated in terms of industries. Neuromorphic computing refers more to the pursuit of creating brain-like structures using silicon as a base. In these systems, individual silicon chips seek to function like individual brain neurons. Thus, ultimately, an actual silicon brain using neuromorphic computing would mimic a human’s brain functionally.

Brain chips, on the other hand, are being used to harness the power of the neuron in a single chip. But these pursuits are looking to use brain chips to foster connections to computing systems to improve human function. In doing so, human consciousness would have access to all the vast information and processing power available. Therefore, to say it in simple words, neuromorphic computing strives to give machines and robotics the power of the human brain. Meanwhile, brain chips seek to enhance human intelligence through connections to computing and information technologies.

cartoon of a doctor challenging a life-size brain with neuromorphic computing
Can neuromorphic computing strive to give machines and robotics the power of the human brain?

Brain Chips in Neuromedicine Today and Future Opportunities

The use of brain chips in neuromedicine is not new. The original work in this area was pursued by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in military veterans. Today, thousands of brain chips have been implanted as part of brain-computer interfaces to enhance function. These are commonly used in patients with stroke and epilepsy to activate or deactivate areas of the brain. They are also used with robotic prosthetics in amputees to promote movement and mobility.

The use of computer chips has not been limited to brain chips, however. The computing power of these tiny pieces of technology has also been attractive to pharmaceutical companies. In fact, more than 40 different pills that have chips inside are currently in use. These chips provide data concerning medication adherence, the body’s chemistry and more in advancing care. But these are the early uses of these technologies that will likely advance rapidly in the near future.

Notably, one of these future opportunities relates to accessing data via a brain chip. Dr. Moran Cerf, a business professor, and neuroscientist at Northwestern University predicts major changes in as little as 5 years. Specifically, he anticipates people will soon have implanted brain chips that will enable advanced intelligence through web and computing technology access. Instead of you having to look at your smartphone, your brain chips would provide the information instantaneously. This case has notable applications in neuromedicine and everyday life.

The Promise of Neuromorphic Computing for the Future

While brain chips enhance human functioning and intelligence, neuromorphic computing gives machines a potential advantage.

a photo quote of Kwabena Boahen in relation to neuromorphic computing and brain chips
Kwabena Boahen shares a picture of what is envisioned for autonomous robots in relation to the field of neuromorphic computing and brain chips

Numerous companies are pursuing neuromorphic computing including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Applied Brain Research, Intel and more. Advances in neuromorphic computing include creating chips that can handle all the computing power needed for most activities. And it enables machine learning at a chip level rather than at a processor level.

The notable benefit of neuromorphic computing is eliminating data transfers to servers while also allowing on-demand activity only. As a result, the need for cloud computing and server processing would be dramatically reduced. In addition, processing speed would be tremendously enhanced with significantly less energy required. This fact would enable machines and robots to completely function autonomously while having greater learning capacity. While the use of robotics with neuromorphic computing has clear neuromedicine advantages, many others can be anticipated as well.

a photo quote of Elon Musk in relation to neuromorphic computing and brain chips
Co-Founder and CEO at Tesla, Elon Musk comments on the capability of the brain amid discussions on innovations in the field of neuromorphic computing and brain chips

Breakthrough Innovations for Society or Pandora’s Box?

With implanted brain chips that provide information and function to individuals, privacy and cybersecurity issues become notable concerns. But the real issues facing society—and even humanity itself—may be those that are still undiscovered. Elon Musk in pursuing his company’s brain-machine interfaces at Neuralink has expressed a need for government oversight in these areas. Likewise, Dr. Moran Cerf has noted that granting superintelligence to some could create social gaps and new discriminations. If the wealthy alone could afford such technologies, the potential repercussion these may have on social fabrics are noteworthy.

Other concerns regarding neuromorphic computing relate to how these advances will influence artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The field of neuromorphic computing is still in its infancy. But unleashing the power of the brain, or the neuron specifically, onto a computer chip still has unknown effects on singularity and machine autonomy. Indeed, these advances offer great opportunities for neuromedicine and other sectors. But with these developments come tremendous responsibility and caution. Balancing these issues will likely be critical as we move into this brave new world.

‘Brain Chips: Innovations for Society or Pandora’s Box?’ Cartoon

cartoon of a doctor challenging a life-size brain with neuromorphic computing
Can neuromorphic computing strive to give machines and robotics the power of the human brain?