In Davos, an enchanting resort town in Switzerland, since 1971 the world's leaders have been getting together for the World Economic Forum.
This past January, for three days some of the world's most powerful people shared what their countries are doing and worrying about. What was shared undoubtedly affects global trends as well as decisions. Last year, at the January 2015 meeting, the theme was "New Global Context." The theme of the 2016 meeting which was the 46th annual conference, was "Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
At the 2016 conference were 288 government officials, 196 academics, 48 representatives from international organizations, and 2101 people from the private sector. Skim my blog, Powerful People Pondering, about last year's meeting, and see what Al Gore, and Facebook's Sheryl Sternberg said. Previous attendees have included Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Lloyd Webber, and Yasser Arafat. This year, the attendees includedAl Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill and Melinda Gates, U2's lead singer Bono, Tony Blair and Joe Biden, who played an important role throughout the conference.
Meetings and lectures reflected how technological innovations -- artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, nano technology, 3d-printing, genetics, and biotechnology -- are profoundly affecting business as well as plain ordinary people. With the expanding "Internet of Things," there's a mounting concern about unemployment, and predictions that millions of jobs could be lost in the next few years,
Aside from many countries bracing for what might be another global recession in 2016, and last year's emphasis on gender equality, racial, and religious differences, in the spur of the moment get-togethers in hallways (also on the ski slope, and in stores on Davos' main street), there was a lot of talk about technology changing every aspect of our lives -- from how individuals earn a paycheck to how states fight wars.
Hey, I am not one of the powerful people. The Davos Powerful People seem like the parents of the world of today, watching over us ordinary kids.
Golly, I'm glad the parents are searching for ways to handle fascinating new technology. I'm just hoping the 4th Industrial Revolution -- like electricity, autos, planes, motors, and factories made a better life for us -- will truly make us a much, much better life.
Guys, it scares me, but it comforts me that they're talking and pondering.