Adios Davos – Key Points From the Yearly Gathering

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The velocity, scope and systems impact of the changes currently occurring across sectors leave no question about the beginning of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s time to say goodbye to the world as we know it and according to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF We must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril.”

Davos

 The 1st Industrial Revolution mechanised production through the use of water. The 2nd enabled mass production through the use of electric power. The 3rd was led by the digitisation and allowed the automation of production through IT and electronics. What will the 4th revolution result in? One of its consequences will be the blurring of the lines between the digital, the physical and the biological spheres.

The broad scope of the theme allowed the Davos discussion to take various directions – from robots’ role in healthcare and the disappearance of the Internet as we know it (it is to become part of everyone’s ‘presence’) to Mexico being the only nation recognising its citizens’ rights to broadband internet connection and smartphone devices being the first and the only ‘computer’ many people have.

The approaching changes will likely have a positive impact on global income levels, improving the quality of the lives of many. We expect the adoption of ground-breaking innovations on the supply-side, enabling major improvements in productivity and efficiency. The resulting decrease in costs will lead to the opening of new markets and economic growth.

However, just like with any other major global-scale changes, there will likely be winners and losers. One of its possible consequences is increased inequality, especially in the labor markets – robots will take over millions of jobs, broadening the returns to capital & returns to labour gap. It was noted, that while a driverless, automated truck company for example would no longer need truck drivers, its management would likely to get high-paying jobs. US Vice President Joe Biden even wared, that the current industrial revolution might destroy the middle class, which would no longer be able to hold onto the promise of a better life achieved through hard work.

Aside from the potential growth in inequality and the fragmenting of societies Schwab’s concerns also include the inability of several organisations to adapt to change, governments’ failure to implement and take the full advantage of new technologies, as well as security issues caused by shifts in power.

What should we do in order to fully embrace the opportunities and address the challenges related to the upcoming changes? WEF’s founder appealed to leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

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Posted on : 29-01-2016 | By : Jack.Rawden | In : General News

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