Talking tech, business and lifestyle at the Digital Freedom Festival in Latvia

Riga became a technology hotspot for a day during the fifth Digital Freedom Festival conference, gathering tech speakers and attendees from around the world at Hanzas Perons on November 15.

The conference's four stages featured speakers covering topics from education and healthcare to blockchain and digital media, while centering around the main topic of the role of humans in the digital era. The Digital Freedom Festival also committed to following the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 by reducing, reusing and recycling as many festival organizational components as possible in an attempt to reach zero-waste operations.

“I'm not a huge tech person, so was pleasantly surprised to find that the conference even had topics relevant for me,” said DFF attendee and SSE Riga Podcast Coordinator Egita Karlsone.

“I work with a podcast project, so the digital media talks were very insightful, and as a parent, Linda Liukas's talk about the importance of getting involved in our children's education about technology really hit home. I now realise that technology doesn't have to be a “black mirror” situation, that we should be fearless and get involved,” said Karlsone.

The conference also included Investor Day events, specially designed to help investors meet startups for potential investment. The day's events also included two startup pitch competitions held by the 500 Startups and Rockstart accelerators, and a competition held by Latvia's State Forests GEO and EIT Climate KIC. Winners included virtual reality emergency medicine training simulator Exonicus and wildfire detection and monitoring system Amplicam from Latvia, as well as Alzheimer’s drug discovery company iLof.

“I have a day job as an engineer in California, but I am also interested in what Latvian startups have to offer in the field of medical technology,” said second-time DFF attendee and Latvian-American Kārlis Bikša.

“The festival has been a great opportunity to get to know the Latvian tech ecosystem. The speakers have been fun to listen to, and I also like that there is the opportunity to network with everyone and get to know different perspectives,” said Bikša.

The Digital Freedom Festival is held once a year in Riga, and the main conference topics centering around the future economy, technology in healthcare, green technologies, smart mobility and lifestyle.

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