“The world could use a little bit of your brilliance right now”

Maeve Harris's avatar
Maeve Harris
Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher and Trevor Noah against a background that appears to be a Web Summit Qatar stage.

Making the right contact at the right time might make all the difference. According to Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher, the time is now. 

With Web Summit Qatar bringing in 15,000-plus attendees, hundreds of major tech companies and more than 1,000 startups from all over the world, the potential for making key connections at the event is immense. 

And it is this swell of possibility that Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher was quick to highlight to an enthusiastic crowd at the Doha event. 

“That is the point of Web Summit,” said Katherine. “To connect people and ideas. Because you never know if the person standing in line next to you for coffee is going to be your next co-founder. You don’t know if you are going to sit down for dinner and meet the investor that writes you your first cheque.

“You don’t yet know how what happens tonight, tomorrow, at dinner, at coffee, might be the thing that sets you off in a different direction – a transformation of your company, your career, your purpose, your country, or the world.”

The last point was a focal point, with Katherine stating that “the world could use a little bit of your brilliance right now”.

“I said that Web Summit is here to inspire positive change, and we are. We face so many challenges about how we are going to govern the future of AI; how we are going to protect our societies from the worst of climate change; how we are going to create economic opportunity for all; and how we are going to resolve our most devastating conflicts.

“Someday, what I hope to hear is that the connections that people made in this room, out on the floor, over dinner or at Night Summit are ultimately going to lead to some of the greatest collaborations and innovation for humanity’s future.”

Trevor Noah: Seeing is no longer believing in an AI world

As GenAI tools such as ChatGPT continue to gain popularity, author and presenter Trevor Noah urged caution about overestimating their capabilities.

“As human beings, we’re oftentimes prone to viewing these technologies as being human, when in fact, sometimes, they are just giving us an output that matches our interpretation of what a human being would or wouldn’t do,” said Trevor.

The tech savvy presenter spends time interrogating ChatGPT to understand its limitations. “I don’t see myself getting married to ChatGPT anytime soon,” joked Trevor. “I spend a lot of time asking ChatGPT about how it’s processing information, or how it’s thinking. And then it gives me an insight into it.”

“When you see something with your own eyes, can you believe it?”

Trevor Noah, author and presenter

While applauding technology’s ability to connect people across divides, Trevor warned of unintended consequences: “I think the biggest thing we always have to acknowledge is this: if you bridge the gap between people very quickly, it’s good for good. It’s also [good] for bad.”

Trevor concluded: “I think one of the most difficult things in dealing with technology is understanding that we do not always know the effect of that technology that we’re implementing.”

The author and comedian warned that, as AI advances, the AI generation of images, videos and text will create a situation where – between deep fakes and misinformation – no-one knows what to believe.

“We’ve lived in a world where people have said don’t believe it until you see it, right? But now, when you see something with your own eyes, can you believe it?”

Don’t miss out on Web Summit Qatar 2025. Get your tickets now.

Image of Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher, and author and presenter Trevor Noah: Web Summit


Here’s what you missed at Collision 2024

Take a look at some of the highlights from our last event in Toronto as we begin our new journey: Web Su...

June 20
Web Summit Rio attendee leaps in front of a Web Summit Rio sign, on a bright day. There are palm trees visible in the background.

Here’s what you missed at Web Summit Rio 2024

Take a look at some of the highlights from Web Summit Rio 2024, ...

April 19