Human-Centred Revolution Has to Recognize Individual’s Worth and Dignity

29 Jun 2017

Published
29 Jun 2017
2017
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Vivian Yang, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +86 138 1056 7837; vivian.yang@weforum.org

· Winner-takes-all outcomes must give way to more inclusive models of growth

· Annual Meeting of the New Champions comes to a close today in Dalian

· For more information about the meeting, please visit: http://wef.ch/amnc17

Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 29 June 2017 – A human-centred technological revolution recognizes the dignity and worth of every individual and seeks to engage all stakeholders, especially those who will be displaced by disruptive technologies, said a panel on Leading a Human-Centred Revolution on the last day of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2017.

Recent events such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump may not necessarily signal a rejection of globalization and technology, they argued, but more of the winner-takes-all phenomenon underscored by the 99%-to-1% wealth debate.

“It is incumbent on all of us to recognize that, in a world where winners take all, that’s great for the first couple of days. As it turns out, in a world where winners take all, there are a small number of winners and a much bigger number of losers. And losers don’t stay quiet for a long time,” said Lauren Woodman, Chief Executive Officer of NetHope, USA.

She warned that there will be a rejection of the Fourth Industrial Revolution if those who are displaced by technology aren’t included in the conversation or feel that they are not deemed to be worthy of being included.

But achieving inclusive growth by ensuring the fruits of the revolution are shared with all appears to be easier said than done. Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla, Director of the Institute of Epigenetics and Stem Cells, Helmholtz Zentrum München, said that, for a start, there must be a respect for human values and diversity, and suggested that education may help to promote understanding and rebalance opportunities.

Panellists agreed on the neutrality of technology, noting that it is how it is applied that is the issue. Daan Roosegaarde, Artist and Innovator, Studio Roosegaarde, Netherlands, pointed out that technology can produce a “George Orwell or a Leonardo da Vinci,” depending on whether it is used to dominate and destroy, or liberate and inspire.

Yet, popular culture – including many Hollywood sci-fi movies – tends to promote a negative narrative about technology that can only fan more fears of technology’s impact on human beings. Hao Jingfang, Writer, China Development Research Foundation, People’s Republic of China, suggested that this may be due to the fact that “we always have fear about what we do not know.”

Jin Xing, Choreographer and Founder of Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai, brought the meeting to a close.

Separately, Lu Lin, Vice-Mayor of Dalian, said at the closing ceremony of the 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions that the meeting attracted record participation of more than 2,000 participants from around the world. Dalian also signed 25 investment projects yesterday with companies from the US and elsewhere worth $20.6 million.

Other outcomes of the meeting include:

· China’s Premier Li Keqiang used the opening plenary to underscore the country’s commitment to addressing climate change. He also stressed the importance of pursuing strategies for inclusive growth in order to limit any negative effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

· The World Economic Forum announced that it will convene a second China Business Roundtable. This year’s roundtable is on 1-2 November and will be held at the headquarters of Huawei in Shenzhen, People’s Republic of China. The event will explore China’s vision to promote artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, the internet of things and innovation for strategic industries in the region, as well as opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sectors.

· The Forum held a joint event with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, its first since signing a memorandum of understanding to develop the circular economy in China in January 2017. The meeting was focused on developing a public-private strategy to deploy the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the sharing economy and circular economy to assist China in its bid to build sustainable cities and tackle climate change.

· The Forum kicked off work on the Healthy City Partnership with the Union for International Cancer Control and other partners. The initiative is a public-private cooperation mechanism aimed at supporting cities in low- and middle-income countries to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in response to the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, stroke, diabetes and others. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the city of Guangzhou are supportive of the ongoing work to set up this new cooperation mechanism.

· With demand for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids set to double by 2020, leaders from government, business and civil society met to grow the World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance. The goal of the alliance is to secure sustainable sources of supply across the battery supply chain, including the elimination of child labour, as well as develop strategies to avoid massive dumping at that batteries’ end of life by developing secondary markets for the high-quality minerals and materials that go into their construction. The next step for the Global Battery Alliance will be to trigger public-private actions on its agenda, at the time of the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York on 18-19 September.

· A white paper, Realizing the Potential of Blockchain, published by the Forum, outlines the important role blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, could play in heralding a new era of the internet. The paper argues that, for blockchain to realize its true transformative potential, a more structured process of multistakeholder cooperation and stewardship will be necessary, similar to that which developed around the internet in the early stages of its widespread adoption.

· The Forum published its annual list of top emerging technologies in collaboration with Scientific American. The list seeks to highlight breakthrough technologies with the potential to have significant societal as well as economic impact within the next 3-5 years.

· Artificial intelligence is estimated to drive global GDP 14% higher by 2030, according to a study released at the meeting by PwC. That’s the equivalent of $15.7 trillion, more than the current output of China and India combined. Meanwhile, China’s consumption boom looks set to continue, with a separate report from BCG forecasting that the country will add $1.8 trillion in new consumption by 2021, the equivalent of Germany’s consumer economy.

· The people of China were able to engage leaders at the meeting for the first time through live video interactions with leaders. Content posted on the Forum’s Weibo account was viewed over 600,000 times; video content related to the meeting on the Forum’s English language Facebook channel was viewed over 3 million times.

· The Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, creator of the Smog Free Tower to clean up city air, which was first profiled at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2016, signed an agreement with China’s bike-sharing firm OFO and design-firm Tezign to deploy thousands of smog-free bicycles on the streets of major cities in China as part of the Smog Free Project to improve daily life in urban environments.

The World Economic Forum’s 11th Annual Meeting of the New Champions on 27-29 June took place in Dalian, People’s Republic of China. Convening under the theme Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, over 2,000 business leaders, policy-makers and experts from over 80 countries explored more than 200 sessions over the three days of the meeting.

Notes to Editors

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.