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WEF meeting 2016: Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution 

 Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution – the acute challenges of geo-economics, global security, public health, education, gender parity and climate change – will be discussed at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016

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Topics examined will include the ongoing transformation of our society and economy, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of science (123rf)

More than 2,500 participants from more than 100 countries, representing business, government, academia, civil society, media and arts will take part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2016 on January 20 – 23 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Nearly 300 public figures will take part, including Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Alexis Tsipras of Greece, Joe Biden of the United States, David Cameron of the United Kingdom and Johann Schneider-Ammann of host country Switzerland.

Critical current challenges, such as security, climate change and ‘new normal’ global growth and commodity prices, are among the other issues on the agenda.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds, which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems. The speed, scale and systemic nature of this transformation have the potential to disrupt all sectors and call into question the essence of human nature and identity.

“The purpose of our Meeting this year is to build a shared understanding of this change, which is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the centre,” says Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF.

Several themes will be addressed, the first being – as mentioned above – the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This will examine the ongoing transformation of our society and economy, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of science.

The WEF says that the innovation at the intersections of these disciplines promises to change life in new and unforeseen ways and will affect every industry and society. Learning how humankind can benefit from this revolution, while addressing its challenges, is the central aim of this year’s meeting.

Also on the agenda is the ‘New Normal’ Global Growth and Commodity Prices. The world faces another year with lower than four per cent global GDP growth. This year, experts will discuss ways of attaining inclusive, sustainable growth in an environment marked by continued low inflation, subdued oil and commodity prices and widespread currency weakness.

The Paris Agreement and the Global Commons will be considered by participants, with the WEF saying: “Success at the COP21 climate talks in Paris offers great hope that challenges facing other global commons can be tackled through new models of public-private co-operation,” as well as the application of breakthrough science and technology solutions.

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Sustainable global economic growth, along with the COP21 Climate Talks, will also be discussed (123rf/lightwise)

Global Security Issues

The unfolding refugee crisis and recent terrorist acts around the world are reminders of how growth in competition among strong states, coupled with the failure of weak states, is eroding global security. How can societies prepare for a rapidly changing security landscape in which emerging technologies also play a key role? This will be covered in ‘Addressing Global Security Issues’.

Finally, the WEF’s 22nd Annual Crystal Awards will celebrate the achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world. This year’s awardees are: actress Yao Chen; actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio; artist Olafur Eliasson; and musician and entrepreneur will.i.am. More than 40 cultural leaders are participating in the Annual Meeting alongside other global leaders to contribute to shaping the cultural and global agendas.

Participants include more than 1,500 business leaders from the Forum’s 1,000 Member companies; nearly 300 public figures and Members of the Forum communities, including Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Technology Pioneers. Representatives from international organisations and civil society (NGOs, labour leaders, religious leaders), cultural leaders, academia and the media will also participate.

The full programme consists of over 300 sessions out of which over 100 sessions will be webcast live. 

For more on the Annual Meeting 2016, click here.

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