Saturday 30th January 2010 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Weak signals are defined as incipient and invisible changes of activity in a given area that are bound to have broader consequences in years to come.
This highly interactive workshop explored the weak signals in the areas of society, business, economics and science, which are harbingers of sweeping changes
• Weak signals are simply something that is beginning to happen and could one day become important
• Although weak signals tend to be negative, many may lead to opportunity and positive trends
Weak signals are something that is beginning to happen and could lead to trends, and could have either a negative or positive impact.
Whether one is a scientist, economist, politician or business leader, there are a number of weak signals to consider and think about:
• Waves of immigration to the US have contributed to the US becoming a major powerhouse in research capacity; yet, new and restricting immigration policies may change that status
• It is important to keep an eye on demographic changes: in the 1950s, five Western countries were among the 10 most populous countries; today, only the US remains on that list
• Innovation is growing faster than most people can handle; it is not sustainable
• There are implications for lawlessness in cyber space
• There is an increasing alignment of corporations to cooperate with national security agencies
• China’s economic rise may be more prickly than peaceful, leading to trade wars with the West and a Cold War with India
• Although the communications revolution has been perceived by society as good, continued connectedness and interdependence could lead to serious negative implications
• Do countries have the capabilities to respond to disasters as the world becomes more urbanized, such as the current situation in Haiti?
• Concerns should be raised about children growing up in cyber space and how they communicate
Weak signals are generally negative. But, once negative weak signals reach a crucial crisis point, they may create opportunities and take us as individuals or as a society to a better place.
Tim Berners-Lee, Director, World Wide Web Consortium, and Professor of Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA; Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Internet
Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University, USA
Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group, USA; Young Global Leader; Global Agenda Council on Global Institutional Governance
Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform, United Kingdom; Global Agenda Council on the Future of the European Union
Pablos Holman, Hacker, Intellectual Ventures Lab, USA
Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post, USA
David Kirkpatrick, Senior Editor, Internet and Technology, Fortune Magazine, USA; Global Agenda Council on Innovation
Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor of International Political Economy, Institute for Management Development International (IMD), Switzerland; Global Agenda Council on the Future of China
John D. Negroponte, Vice-Chairman, McLarty Associates, USA
Paul M. Romer, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), USA; Global Agenda Council on Economic Growth & Development
Nouriel Roubini, Chairman, Roubini Global Economics Monitor, USA; Global Agenda Council on the International Monetary System
Ingrid Maryann Srinath Narasimhan, Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer, Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa
Lynn St Amour, President and Chief Executive Officer, Internet Society (ISOC), Switzerland
Geoffrey B. West, President and Distinguished Professor, Santa Fe Institute, USA
Robert Zimmer, President, University of Chicago, USA
Moisés Naím, Editor-in-Chief, Foreign Policy Magazine, USA; Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade
This summary was prepared by Mark Schulman. The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.
Copyright 2010 World Economic Forum
No part of this material may be copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of the World Economic Forum.
Saturday 30 January
Keywords: signals, trends, change
Recommended reading for: Thought Leaders, Young Global Leaders
Distinguished Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA
MSc and PhD, MIT. Former: Minister of Trade and Industry of Venezuela; Director, Venezuela Central B...
President, Eurasia Group, USA
1994, PhD in Political Science, Stanford University. Founder, Eurasia Group, analysis focuses on glo...
- Lynn St Amour
Professor of Economics and International Business, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University, USA
Undergraduate degree, Bocconi Univ.; PhD in Economics, Harvard. 1998-2000, Senior Economist for Inte...
Geoffrey B. West
Distinguished Professor, Santa Fe Institute, USA
1961, BA, Cambridge University; 1966, PhD, Stanford University. Theoretical physicist on elementary ...
Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, USA
Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanf...
Director, Centre for European Reform, United Kingdom
Studies in Modern History, Cambridge University. Formerly, with Euromoney, London. 1986-98, with The...
President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group, USA
MA in Economics, Cambridge University. Nationally syndicated columnist and author; frequent broadcas...
Lee C. Bollinger
President, Columbia University, USA
Leading First Amendment scholar; has taught and written on freedom of speech and press for over 30 y...
Professor of Engineering, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), USA
1976, degree in Physics, Queen's College, University of Oxford. 1989, invented World Wide Web. Profe...
Paul M. Romer
Director, NYU Marron Institute, USA
1983, PhD in Economics, University of Chicago. 1982-88, Assistant Professor, University of Rochester...
President, University of Chicago, USA
Currently, President and Professor of Mathematics, University of Chicago. Chairman of the Board: Arg...
Vice-Chairman, McLarty Associates, USA
BA, Yale. 1960-97, Member, US Foreign Service, Asia, Europe and Latin America; 1981-85, Amb. to Hond...
Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Techonomist, Techonomy Media, USA
BA in English, Amherst College. Tech author and media entrepreneur. 1978, exhibited video art at MoM...
Hacker, Intellectual Ventures Lab, USA
Futurist, hacker and inventor. Formerly, helped build: world's smallest PC, OQO; spaceships, Blue Or...
Professor Emeritus of International Political Economy, Institute for Management Development International (IMD), Switzerland
1966, BSc in Int'l Affairs, Georgetown; 1970, PhD in Japanese Economic History, Oxford. Formerly, re...
Ingrid Srinath Narasimhan
Executive Director, Childline India Foundation, India
BA, Elphinstone College; Mumbai; postgraduate degree in Management, IIM, Calcutta. Former: Manager a...