Mr. Marek Kamiński – a Polish Polar explorer, author, entrepreneur and philosopher with over 30 years of exploration experience. He holds the Guinness World Record for being the first person to walk to both the North Pole and the South Pole, without external support. He is actively involved in testing and promotion of innovative technologies through his engagement in global expeditions related to new technologies, ecology and sustainability.
One of Mr. Kaminski projects was his lonely journey of 30,000 km in 144 days from Europe to Japan by electrical car. The project showcased a new concept of travelling by using new technologies with no impact on the environment. Most recently he has been traveling to different countries with a robot named NOA. During these trips he tests AI-human relationships and gives lectures about his experiences with different technologies.
CEEC: Mr. Kaminski, you are a passionate explorer who travelled to more than 40 countries. But you were raised in a small town in Poland (Połczyn-Zdrój) with less than 9000 people. How did your passion for travelling first start?
Marek Kaminski: As a child, I lived in many cities, but for the longest time in Połczyn-Zdrój. This place, together with my books and the world around me, stimulated my imagination. It is the world of imagination that forms us as people. Without it, it’s hard to achieve something or do something in the world. I think the sentence Shakespeare once wrote: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space”, expresses me well. A big city can overwhelm a man. Połczyn-Zdrój may be a small town, but there is a huge park and lots of green. This combined with my world of imagination made me become a traveler and explorer. It was the silence and tranquility that was present in this small town, which helped me focus on books. That is why my motto is “less is more”.
CEEC: Many of your expeditions break the status quo and send strong messages, from showing that it is possible to travel with small children, to bringing the first person with disabilities to reach both the North and South Pole, and raising awareness on environmental issues such as the dangers of polluting water. How do you decide on your next expedition and the message you want to send? What are the causes you care about and the stigmas you want to break?
MK: In my childhood and from my books, I learned to rely on intuition and look for a deeper meaning in what I do. What man does in life should make sense. This idea was further strengthened in my philosophical studies, where I learned the mechanisms of thinking, making decisions and having a purpose. The extreme expeditions taught me how to connect with nature, read her language and be in harmony with her. I think deeply about many different projects and I always wonder about their consequences. I know that life is very short. Therefore, before I do something, I really think it through.
Through my travels, I saw the world from many different perspectives: from the North and South Poles, from the peaks of many continents, but also from the perspective of the people I meet. Through our programs, we meet people who are not privileged in life. It teaches us all sensitivity to the world’s problems. I always try to diagnose these problems in advance and take up topics which are important not only to me but to many people. Hence, causes related to nature, such as the Vistula expedition or the expedition with Jan Mela to the poles and the topic of disability.
Currently, I think the challenges humanity is facing are Singularity, Sustainability Development and Social Empowerment. And these three topics, including water pollution, I want to address in my latest project – Power4Change project, where I will cross two oceans.
CEEC: Through your expeditions, you create a new standard of travelling, consistent with the rules of nature and promoting ecological and sustainable values. Why is sustainability especially important to you?
MK: Human roots are situated in nature. If we destroy this nature through unsustainable development and we only consume and destroy – we will simply cut our own roots. We won’t be able to build this world of technology, buildings, and computers if we are not connected to nature. We would just die.
Not only for me, but for humanity, sustainable development is crucial to surviving. If global warming occurs, sea and ocean levels will rise, islands will be flooded, catastrophes and natural disasters will occur, air will be polluted, drink water will run out, and the man will simply die. Everyone has to realize, that technology will not save us. This is best seen when a cataclysm, such as a tsunami or an earthquake, occurs. No technology can help us nor protects us from this. Nature will always be stronger than man. If nature is not in balance, it will simply destroy us. That’s why we have to take care of her. Caring for sustainable development, we really care about our survival. But people, unfortunately, think short-term. Profit is the most important thing for them. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens at the expense of the future, and the future can be tragic if we continue to only look short-term. I think that for me, for many people and for many generations it is important to care for sustainable development and to live in harmony with nature.
CEEC: We are seeing examples of Poland being rich in tech innovation and tech talent. How do you think it compares to Singapore and what can both countries learn from each other when it comes to tech and tech talent development?
MK: I have to admit, I don’t know Singapore so well, as I would like to. However, I know that Singapore has developed rapidly in recent years. It has become Asia’s technological hub and Smart City hub. Poland can learn from Singapore how in a short time and with limited natural resources to make such a dynamic jump and still make such a great development. In Poland, this is also very important, because our natural resources are not so big, and we definitely can learn from Singapore things as innovation, creativity, and methods of rapid development.
And what can Singapore learn from Poland? Perhaps the ability to survive no matter what. Historically and throughout the wars, Poland had to learn how to survive. We had to have tremendous strength and will for survival. We are also a very creative nation. This is again connected to our past, where we had to be very innovative in order to survive. Moreover, the Polish culture is very rich. Recently we received the Nobel Prize in literature. Man does not live by business and technology alone. Culture is something that is our “export commodity” because, to a large extent, culture builds people. We can definitely share this with Singapore. What I’ve learned lately is that around 30% of Singapore’s territory in covered by greenery, which is the best result in the world among large cities. And that to be preserved despite the huge economic development is surely an example every city and country in the world could follow, including Poland.
CEEC: You will be visiting Singapore in November to talk about your relationship with AI. Tell us more about this project. Why did you choose Singapore and what would you like the tech, business and academia communities here to take away from your lecture?
MK: The project consists of activities in two areas that drive each other – Power4Change Expedition and Power4Change Social Campaign.
The first area is Power4Change 2020 Expedition. It is my expedition around the world starting and finishing in London, in which for 6 months I will travel with NOA – a humanoid robot, by a zero-emission car, 100% electric. During the expedition, we will show through social media the practices of reducing the amount of CO2 on the planet (“No Trace”) and will engage people through declarations to change their habits. People’s declarations will be the “fuel” for an electric car. More declarations mean more kilometers driven by car.
At the same time, we will study my co-existence with NOA and our mutual influence on the psyche and personality. We will test the robot as a therapist of civilization diseases by contacting people from different cultures around the world. The second area is Power4Change Social Action. Through social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, we will collect declarations to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by changing daily habits. We will build a community around the values presented in the project. We also want to create a Power4Change Coin that will be a fixed asset and a Power4Change Application for IOS and Android.
During the Power4Change 2020 Expedition, which starts on May 1st, I will be happy to visit also Singapore. There are many areas of partnership in which we could establish cooperation. I would love to see Singapore – the model Smart City, as a partner city for our project. I think that together with companies from Singapore we could work on topics related to fintech, blockchain, Power4Change Coin or robot software to combat civilization diseases. Singapore is an example of a Smart City. Perhaps as a city of the future, Singapore could become a partner for our global project?
What can people learn from my lecture? I’m sure they can learn a lot. They can learn how to achieve their life goals. How to achieve goals that seem unreal. They can learn the methods of my work, seeing how I work on the Power4Change project – a project truly unique on a global scale. It is important, what I emphasize in it, that the actions on sustainability or in the field of AI if not combined, are much less effective. The uniqueness of my activities and this project lies precisely in connecting these areas to have the strength to change. I teach how to combine three areas: Sustainability, Social Empowerment, Singularity and find common goals. I show how the impossible becomes possible. What can definitely be derived from my lectures is good energy for changes in life. As an example, I can quote a fragment of a letter from one of the listeners of my last lecture in Tokyo, who wrote to me: “I’m thankful for your inspirational perspective and just merely feeling your energy through the air uplifted my spirit a bit despite my recent negative mood!”.