World Insights: New technologies, future of work in focus at Davos Agenda meeting

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-29 11:22:14|Editor: huaxia

GENEVA, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) virtual event of the Davos Agenda has laid special emphasis on new technologies and the future of work as the participants on Thursday discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its influence on the global workforce.

"New technology is always disruptive. It kills jobs, creates new ones, and ushers in profound social change," the WEF said on its website.


The Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies driven by artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to fundamentally change the world, and how to unlock the potential of these technologies for the benefit of all is a hot topic of the meeting.

The WEF announced on Thursday the launch of the Global AI Action Alliance, a new initiative to accelerate the adoption of inclusive, transparent and trusted AI around the world.

The alliance brings together leading companies, governments, international organizations, non-profits and academics.

According to the WEF, AI could contribute over 14 trillion U.S. dollars to the global economy by 2035 while dramatically improving the lives of billions, but it will achieve its potential only if it is used responsibly.

"We are launching the Global AI Action Alliance along with our partners to shape a positive, human-centred future for AI at this decisive moment in its development," the WEF's Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said.

Henrietta Fore, executive director of the United Nations Children's Fund, stressed that technologies like AI are fundamentally changing the ways in which children learn, play and relate to each other.

"Children and young people are major users of AI. More needs to be done to help them benefit from the opportunity it offers while protecting them from the risks it poses," she said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing stressed China's wish to promote the Fourth Industrial Revolution and follow the trends of informatization and digitalization.

"We are working to integrate new technologies and manufacturing sectors. We are leveraging the benefits of the digital infrastructure and develop manufacturing based on services. We are also promoting 5G Internet and Big Data and their integration with other sectors," he said.

Noting "data is a key asset in this revolution," Huawei's Deputy Chairman Ken Hu said "we have to maximize its value by making sure that more data is shared" and called for more international cooperation on AI.


The new technologies that have offered fresh opportunities to human society have also generated some challenges to humans' future, especially to the ways in which people work.

"The technologies that are disrupting our economic and social lives are also helping us to adapt," the WEF said.

During the "Skilling the Global Workforce" session, Josephine Teo, Singapore's minister for manpower and second minister for home affairs, said that employers have a big responsibility in closing the skills gap and promoting lifelong learning.

Learning new things "can make their work easier, less tedious or more meaningful and enjoyable," Teo said.

"The key is learning how to involve employers a lot more and encourage them to think about what it takes to succeed in the future," Teo said.

However, she also warned of job losses due to digital transformation.

"It won't be possible to save every job. The transformations will continue. But we must all try our level best to save every worker," she said.

Meanwhile, Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labor Organization, told the forum that reskilling the global workforce is a top priority.

"We have choices about where we go, and those choices will fundamentally affect the skilling requirements of the future," Ryder said.

The Davos Agenda week will end on Friday when several sessions will focus on foreign policy, fixing the international trade system, and accelerating digital trade. Enditem