World Economy

Leaders in Davos Urged to Focus on Technology

Leaders in Davos Urged  to Focus on Technology Leaders in Davos Urged  to Focus on Technology

The 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum opened late Tuesday in Davos, Switzerland.

Inaugurating the meeting, Klaus Schwab, the founding chairman of WEF said the high-profile annual forum is a venue for "exchanging innovative ideas and networking among influential people who shape global economics."

Over 2,500 leaders from business, government, academia, international organizations, civil society and media, from more than 100 countries, are attending the four-day event in the small Alpine cities of Davos and Klosters.

 The WEF chief stated that with the average age of 27 years in most countries, young people also have to be engaged in the talks. On the subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Schwab said, “We must have a comprehensive and globally shared understanding of how technology is changing our lives and that of future generations, transforming the economic, social, ecological and cultural contexts in which we live. This is critical, in order to shape our collective future to reflect our common objectives and values.”

Fighting Cancer

The first session on day on was dedicated to the global effort to fight cancer, in which US Vice President Joe Biden led a panel of eminent scientists and technologists to discuss the priorities for the American “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer. The program was launched by President Barack Obama in his address to the US Congress last week, placing Biden in charge of the anti-cancer initiative.

In the panel it was asserted by experts that as cancer is evolving, analyzing data on cancer cell mutations is crucial, as in the computer science revolution.  Therefore, to make significant progress in fighting the disease, information sharing between the relevant stakeholders and enhancing the capacity to analyze insights from the vast amounts of information is of paramount importance.

Improving Healthcare

Furthermore, it was explained that currently healthcare in the world is based on ‘broken systems of medical records,’ so if a patient-centric view of the world is adopted, healthcare can improve substantially. The problem is how to aggregate data and make it accessible. For this, ways of dynamic ‘big-data’ collection and sharing among scientists has to be promoted. At the end of the session, it was concluded that the panel reconvene in the near future to discuss the big-data dimension of cancer research and treatment.

Industrial Revolution

This year’s main theme of “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” pertains to the fact that past industrial revolutions advanced human progress through electric power generation, mass production and information technology. Building on a ubiquitous and mobile internet, smaller, and more powerful sensors, as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is distinct in the speed, scale and force at which it transforms entire systems of production, distribution, consumption–and possibly the very essence of human nature.

The key speakers of this year’s event will be UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, British  Prime Minister David Cameron, Turkish Premier  Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Iraq Haidar Al Abadi, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, French Foreign Minister of France Laurent Fabius, German President Joachim Gauck and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Attendees also include prominent financial and business  leaders, namely the President of World Bank Jim Yong Kim, CEO of General Motors Mary Barra, CEO of Microsoft Corporation Satya Nadella, Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi, and CEO of Credit Suisse Bank Tidjane Thiam.

From Iran, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the president's chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandian, will address the forum along with academician and economic expert Mahmood Sari’olghalam.