Cher Wang (pictured) outlined a vision of a more equal and empathic world, where the power of rapidly advancing technologies is combined with humanity to spark new solutions to many of the world’s most protracted problems.

In her keynote yesterday, the HTC CEO said as the new wave of technology advances quickly the impact of VR and AR will be even greater than that of smartphones. It will require a few years to take off, just as smartphones, she said, “but it will become all embracive, creating a far larger virtual economy and a broader range of experiences, and far more meaningful social interactions, which bring people closer together fostering greater empathy for each other”.

Combining technologies like VR and AR, AI, blockchain and 5G creates the potential for a better world, she said. “It is only through the convergence of technology and humanity that we can unleash our imaginations.”

Today the world faces many global challenges, such as poverty, climate change and taking care of an ageing population, she said. Through technologies such as Vive, “we are finding new ways to complete complex tasks to better lives.”

Instead of being bound by the four walks of a classroom, she said children in poor areas can now take part in virtual lessons across a range of subjects and have the same learning opportunity as those in richer areas.

Wang noted that over the last 50 years, as computing moved from mainframe to desktops to laptops to smartphones, it has become not only become more convenient but more personal.

She believes 5G will be like the air we breathe. “It will be all around us. AR and VR will be like the senses: our eyes and ears, and even our sense of touch. AI will be the brain and nervous system, and blockchain will be the DNA of our digital empowerment,” Wang added.