Davos: Creating a shared future in a fractured world
As I head into the World Economic Forum 2018, I’m reflecting on how technology is reshaping our world on every level.
This week I will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, along with our CEO Mike Gregoire. The theme is: “Creating a shared future in a fractured world.” A tall order for sure.
Whatever your view of the challenges of building worthwhile global initiatives, there’s something remarkable about getting this many world and corporate leaders together in one place to discuss and set a course on what the world is facing in the years to come.
At the end of the day, shared understandings and dialogue are the foundation of a world that works together vs. apart. It is indeed only one of the many streams of people that must come together to drive change, but it is one that has an astounding inventory of resources available to take on that work.
As I head into this three-day global knowledge-sharing and networking event, it’s difficult not to reflect on how technology is reshaping our world on every level. In the context of WEF’s theme this year, the overriding question on my mind is: How can we use technology not to just drive business, but to strengthen our role as stewards of the planet and to enhance the dignity, creative power, and compassion of our fellow human beings? Another tall order with dialogue as a productive starting point.
As for technological change and what I see ahead, these are a few topics that are top of mind for me:
Democratization and distribution of technical capability: When everyone can assemble code
No-code/low-code platforms will enable deeper democratization of technology as a value creation tool. Technology is becoming more complex on the one hand, but machine learning and AI are actually simplifying certain key aspects of technology on the other hand: specifically, software. We are moving toward a world where software development itself and the functionality it offers is presented as user-friendly blocks of code that can be assembled by anyone, regardless of their level of technical expertise.
The brave new world of the “cobot” – AI-human collaboration
When it comes to our technology, we need to move from a “division of labor” model in work to a more collaborative model. Today, human and robot workflows tend to be segregated because of dangers of a lack of coordination and a gap in understanding of how people and technology can work together. This approach is not cost-effective and does not realize the potential of human-AI/robot synergies. What will the world look like when humans and robots actually collaborate.
Blockchain has the potential to change our world completely, but will it?
Distributed ledger technologies, to say nothing of their expressions in crypto-currencies, have the power to disrupt every value creation on Earth. The potential impact of blockchain must be understood on a global level as the not just a disruptor of the traditional supply chain, but a disruptor of the way value has been created in economies and societies for centuries.
Open standards reboot – how do we monetize cooperation?
When technologies like Linux first appeared, they were revolutionary – the idea that software could be open and collaborative instead of closed and proprietary. We need to revisit our approach to open standards to ensure that the right economic and other incentives are in place to foster collaborative development of breakthrough technologies such as IoT, Blockchain, and Quantum Computing.
Quantum computing: The ultimate disruptor
Quantum Computing has the ability to “disrupt the disruption” of blockchain itself along with other early foundational technologies that drive our businesses and our societies. As we look ahead to the potential advantages (accelerated AI, more sophisticated drug development, mapping climate change, and human flows of all sorts etc.) as well as threats (quantum hacking, unintended consequences of holistic computing at quantum speed etc.) it’s critical that we develop a realistic point of view on this new technology.