The BEYOND Virtual Opening presents world-class entrepreneurs, scientists, global investors, and tech experts to share with us the trends of technology, investments, and the impact of each industry in shaping the world we live in today and the future.
In his opening remarks, William A. Haseltine, founder, chairman, and president of ACCESS Health International, said he expects the next 20 years to become an era of enormous innovation, not just in one country but around the world.
The biological sciences are leading the way in many different fields, not just in health and agriculture and understanding the natural world, but in physics, in chemistry, in nanomaterials, he added.
The major advances that are coming are not just from the fields alone, such as chemistry and physics, and mathematics but it is a combination of all of them.
Looking ahead to the next 15 or 20 years, he said he sees many more opportunities arising.
ACCESS Health International is a nonprofit think tank, advisory group, and implementation partner aiming to improve access to high-quality and affordable healthcare for people everywhere. It works closely with governments, the private sector, development partners, and researchers to improve health financing systems and the quality of healthcare services.
Below is the full text of his speech at the BEYOND Virtual Opening. The text has been edited for clarity and brevity:
Allow me to thank the organizers of Beyond Expo for inviting me to speak today. I’m very sorry not to be able to join you in Macau. It’s a beautiful part of the world, which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many times.
Macau is a particularly fitting locale for this conference, not because of the leading role in the Asia Pacific region it plays in both scientific and technological innovation, but because Macau is in a unique position reaching the United States and China, supporting the expansion of some of the most forward-looking thinking companies in both countries.
In my opinion, there’s no more exciting time than to be working on science and technology today. Advancements over the past 15 to 20 years have allowed scientists like myself, the opportunity to explore new ideas in ways I could not even imagine when I was beginning my career.
When I look ahead to the next 15 or 20 years, I see many more opportunities arising.
First, let me say the biological sciences are leading the way in many different fields, not just in health and agriculture and understanding the natural world, but in physics, in chemistry, in nanomaterials, we are learning to manipulate the atomic world.
The same way life does, i.e. engineering new devices, new products at the molecular level, at the atomic level. That is how life is built and that is what we are learning.
In addition to that, the major advances that are coming are not just from the fields alone, such as chemistry and physics and mathematics. It is a combination of all of them.
We have never seen such a flowering of innovation from cross-cultivation, cross-pollination of the different technologies.
I expect the next 20 years to be one of enormous innovation, not just in one country but around the world.
One of the most important things about science is collaboration. Science is a universal language, spoken by every scientist no matter where they live, and critical to the progress of science.
It is that uninterrupted communication amongst our leading thinkers and it’s extremely important for young people to travel to different countries to understand that their language is the language that others speak.
I can tell you from my own experience, my early travels around the world were essential to my understanding of what science is, how it’s practice, and a source of infinite new ideas.
But science and technology alone will not get us where we need to be. These two past two years have shown us the critical importance of strong and dynamic healthcare systems that make the best use of limited pools of resources.
Studies have shown us that people living in countries with weak and overburdened healthcare systems, suffered much more dramatically than those who did not. Strengthening our healthcare systems and improving their resilience will only become more important in the months to come.
That’s why I’m so pleased to have had the success that we’ve had with Access Health International, a group that works on improving the health system, strengthening health systems worldwide.
We consult with the best thinkers everywhere in the world. We study what works the best, and then we help policymakers who have opened to innovation adapt those innovations in healthcare reform, healthcare systems, healthcare strengthening, not least of which is financial technology and information technology, fields that have formally been thought to be foreign from the idea of healthcare service and healthcare delivery.
In closing, I’d like to offer a few words of advice. One of the things that at this point in my career I’m interested in, is making sure that there are future generations that are dedicated to improving the lives of others.
In a book that I’ve written for young people, Science, as a Superpower, is intended to inspire them to realize that in science, one person, one mind, can really save the world.
My life has been saved by such super scientists, the man who invented penicillin. I was one of the first civilians ever to receive penicillin as a young child. I remember quite well the restrictions in my life that polio imposed very similar to the restrictions that young people have today, and we all have today as a result of COVID that change with two great scientists.
One is Salk and the other one is Sabin. They made a great difference. And today as we face COVID, it’s really important to have the best scientists in the world.
If children’s lives will be made better, if young people’s lives will be made better, if all of our lives will be made better in this time of COVID, it’d be because we have great health system and great scientists to help save us from what is a new scourge of humanity.
So again, I close this by thanking the organizers of BEYOND Expo for inviting me to take part in this important event. I look forward to the possibility of joining you in person in the years to come. In the meantime, I send you my best wishes for a fruitful exchange of ideas.
There will no doubt lead us to new and better opportunities and innovations for the future.
Thank you very much.