The mood at the World Economic Forum 2018 was not snowed down by the record breaking snowfall, as talks surrounding global growth, surging markets, climate change, artificial intelligence, diversity and some pro-business policies saw businessmen, celebrities and world leaders come together.
While Donald Trump, Theresa May and Narendra Modi naturally captured the headlines, it was the nature of the big transitions – the implications of AI, Blockchain, tech power, global investments and the populist revolt against globalisation, which dominated the business and investor debates.
The Fourth Revolution – AI and Blockchain technologies were the buzz words for the tech elite
Bitcoin and blockchain seemed to be the buzz words, with Digital Davos being hosted at the Crypto HQ café and named Blockchain Central. It had the audience divided in half – with some being bullish about the long-term potential of Blockchain, there were other financial services who had a word of caution. But it was bitcoin which saw the biggest opinion divide with tech entrepreneurs intrigued by its success but investment gurus labelling it at a classic investing mistake. After three days the opinion still remains divided.
Another standout on the tech side were Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, with the CEO of Google Sundar Pichai calling it bigger than fire or electricity in terms of business impact. The debate around the role of humans versus machines continued in the Q&A sessions, but one think came out of it for sure, AI can’t meaningfully execute – creativity, complexity, dexterity or empathy, hinting at the importance of developing soft skills to compete with and complement AI.