2019 WEF: How emerging technology is shaping the next wave of transformation

From AI, 5G to blockchain, 2019 WEF focus was on shaping new architecture for the next wave of globalisation

It’s that time of year again. The 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, just ended. The world’s most influential leaders descended on the Swiss town of Davos to discuss some of the most pertinent issues facing our civilization today.

2019 WEF: How emerging technology is shaping the next wave of transformation

Emerging technologies shaping a new architecture for the next wave of transformation

This year’s focus was on 'Shaping a New Architecture' for the 'Next Wave of Globalisation' – and the conversations covered political, economic and technological changes that are shaping the world. Over 3,000 business and political leaders, social activists, and futurists congregated to discuss topics ranging from free trade versus protectionism, trust in technology, to the impact of innovation and the future of work.

What was especially interesting for me was that conversations on technology have started featuring in every dialogue, not just as a future trend but as a real-world imperative. Here are some of the key takeaways from this year’s WEF, which I think will continue to be the topic of discussion this year and beyond:

Globalisation

Globalisation has enabled tremendous growth and transformation around the world. The world is now in the throes of the fourth wave of globalisation – one that is digital-driven. Blurring the lines between the physical and digital, globalisation 4.0 is based on the integration of new and emerging technologies. If all previous waves were about the trade in goods, then the next one is about digitally-enabled services. This has a huge potential to bring about a positive disruption in the way businesses function. Companies need to look at how they will re-align their style of working in this new world order and work towards enhancing their offerings for customers.

Artificial Intelligence

Any discussion on the present and future state of the world is incomplete without Artificial Intelligence. This technology has taken the world by storm with its ground-breaking implications. It has gone from being sci-fi to showcasing real-world application. Innovation in artificial intelligence is giving rise to computing systems that can see, hear, learn and reason, creating new opportunities to improve sectors like education and healthcare, address poverty and achieve more sustainable businesses in the future. Making it natural that many governments, companies and individuals would want it and be able to leverage it, to build solutions to drive productivity, economic growth and solve societal problems. But, this also raises complex questions about the impact this will have on various aspects of our society: jobs, privacy, safety, inclusiveness and fairness. We are entering a realm when computers make more and more decisions that affect human lives.

Innovation in artificial intelligence is giving rise to computing systems that can see, hear, learn and reason, creating new opportunities to improve sectors like education and healthcare. Image: Pixabay

Innovation in artificial intelligence is giving rise to computing systems that can see, hear, learn and reason, creating new opportunities to improve sectors like education and healthcare. Image: Pixabay

5G wireless network

Shifting to 5G from 4G will be a boost to the economy-defining industries. Business models that are powered by 5G are already changing globally. It is also interesting to note that 5G possesses unique characteristics, making it socially as well as economically transformative. These include low latency, fast speeds, connection capability and reliability. To reap the benefits of 5G, governments and enterprises need to act quickly to leverage its immense benefits. Here it is also important for policy to get updated in tandem with innovation, to build a conducive business environment for the future.

Emerging Technologies

Though within financial institutions, digitization is making dramatic changes, there is still a long way to go to adopt the scale and depth of these changes. Emerging technologies, in particular, will drive significant growth in the financial sector. Taking the example of artificial intelligence again, financial services organizations will benefit greatly when it comes to better predicting customer needs and enabling more personalized offerings.

Blockchain has also emerged as a promising technology, especially in the financial sector. Cloud and edge computing have evolved extensively to become more sophisticated than ever before, with companies and governments the world over reaping benefits.

blockchain-pixabay-850

Blockchain has emerged as a promising technology in the financial sector. Image: Pixabay

Importance of reskilling

Finally, I want to stress the importance of reskilling. As newer and emerging technologies transform business models worldwide, there is an urgent need to get the workforce equipped with a new set of skills. The next wave of globalization will provide a platform to fast track this reskilling process.

While there were several other issues, challenges and opportunities discussed at WEF, these were some that deeply resonated as we continue on our journey to collaborate with our ecosystem and deliver real-world impact from technology innovation.

Editor's note: This article was originally published by Prakash Mallya on LinkedIn on 5 February. The article has been republished here with the permission of the author.

Prakash Mallya is the Vice President, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India.

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