WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Employment contracts today are a reducing share of the workforce”, scientists worry in Davos that the 4th industrial revolution threatens employment globally

The Promise of Progress: Laura D'Andrea Tyson, Arne Sorenson, Andrew  McAfee

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 20JAN16 – Laura D’Andrea Tyson (L), Professor and Director, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, USA; Global Agenda Council on Gender Parity, Arne Sorenson (C), President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, USA and Andrew McAfee (R), Principal Research Scientist, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA discuss during the session ‘The Promise of Progress’ at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2016. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Buholzer

During the afternoon of the first day of the World Economic Forum 2016, a very stimulating session took place called: “The Promise of Progress”. The panel discussion was on the 4th industrial revolution, the theme of this year’s WEF, and cast light on the reasons why the technological revolution that we are living today could pose a threat to our societies.

The panel was comprised of Mr Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott International, Mr Vishal Sikka, CEO and Managing Director of Infosys, Mrs Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Professor and Director, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Mr Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Andrew McAffee, Principal Research Scientist at MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The panel was convened with the support of Al Jazeera America and hence the host moderator was the well known anchor Mr Ali Velshi. It is true that this vibrant discussion created some uniquely interesting outputs that will be segregated in this article based on the speaker who made the relevant points.

Laura D’ Andrea Tyson

Professor Tyson started by saying that the topic of this session should have rather been “sharing of progress”. That technology is creating and will keep creating remarkable gains in the world, is something she is sure of. How will it be share though, that is a different matter as she commented.

Mrs Tyson soon discussed the phenomenon where the number of jobs in the US is declining as technology takes away jobs from many people. She said that policy wise there could be a solution to that through “minimum wage”, “collective bargaining” and “tax and transfer policy”.

Moreover, she underlined that “the number of employment contracts are a reducing share of the workforce”. This presents a heavy issue that calls policy makers to make arrangements for independent workers and entrepreneurs regarding their healthcare, pension and social benefits as a whole.

Further, Mrs Tyson shared a most conservative insight regarding the 4th industrial revolution, an insight that certainly surprised the audience coming from a professor at one of the world’s best business schools. She talked about previous industrial revolution and how it created lots of benefits and wealth that were widely shared throughout the middle class as well and lead to employment and better quality of life.

The professor presented China here as a great example country to capitalise on this previous traditional industrial revolution with releasing immense production capacity and benefiting from it through vast trade channels. The alternative to that model, according to Mrs Tyson is what we have today, numerous entrepreneurs around the world, disrupting every inch of the market.

According to her, this is not a sustainable growth way. Besides, the entrepreneurial way is not what most people want. Instead, people look more for safety and benefits rather than entrepreneurial risk. In addition, capital is truly scarce for start-ups.

Vishal Sikka

The Indian CEO had distinctly different and more forward thinking views from the American Professor. He said that automation and technology are inevitable. There is no limit to creativity, according to the panelist.

“The progress of technology creates more opportunity” Mr Sikka highlighted. Entrepreneurs in India for example have better access to opportunity than ever before. The root of the issue he aspires to be whether we can educate people on entrepreneurship.

“Do we prepare people for the world how it will be?” “Why don’t we teach millions of people to be entrepreneurs?”, the Indian businessman wonders. If we take a deeper view, he is convinced that the more access people have to jobs the more the imbalances in the society will go away.

Guy Ryder

Mr Ryder commenced by making it clear that we are situated in a too sluggish global economy outlook currently and that the spiral continues in the wrong direction. About the 4th or 2nd industrial revolution – the ranking depends on which book you read he claims – he underlines that “progress is not about technology, it is about what we make out of it”.

What is more, the ILO top manager discussed the theory of “creative destruction”, which holds that after a period of turbulence, quality growth follows. However, Mr Ryder believes that ] this time it could be a different case. “This technological revolution has the capacity to transfer the way job is created and the manner in which job is undertaken”, he continued.

The International Labour Organisation Director General argued that the world has done too well before in terms of growth and employment. Currently we are experiencing a step back to full employment, while extraordinary growth inequality leads to exclusion. The big issue is that the world has had growing inequality for so many years. Mr Ryder thinks that if the 4th Industrial revolution accentuates those inequalities, we will be very worried.

The ILO Director General closed his speech by accentuating the importance of labour market institutions in working towards better employment conditions in the new digital era.

Arne Sorenson

The President of Marriott International was also invited in the panel to share his experience about the digital revolution and its impact on business and employment.  Mr Sorenson went on saying that we are still much better off today than what we were 50 years ago. People have better jobs and more wealth and thus they can spend it on travelling, which obviously makes him and his business happy.

Further, the American CEO said that since 2000 Marriott has had an increase of approximately 200.000 employees more in their employment system. Certainly, as he supports, it is possible that the compensation or benefits could be the same or slightly less.

Overall, Marriott’s boss thinks that people should not be mislead by the advertised hypes of Mark Zuckerberg alike role model but rather have a more steady career growth plan.

Andrew McAfee

The MIT scientist began by recognising that it is the middle class globally that has been demolished. The Job incomes are under threat globally.

Technology can be one important reason for that. In the past technology was used only for the routine parts of the production line in big factories. Nowadays, they are used to perform complex jobs like thinking, understanding human speech, responding to it and so many more. Hence, Mr McAfee believes that these jobs are lost for ever to the machine evolution.

Another interesting element of his speech is the comment that entrepreneurship and startups will not be able to bring back the lost jobs to technology revolution. The reason is because startups will always use automated systems to cut costs and time.

Mr McAfee believes that policy makers need to accommodate this rapid digital advancement of our time, coordinate and try to diminish possible consequent social inequalities with better inclusive policies like tax and transfer systems, better education etc.

During the Q&A of the panel one question was distinguished and that was made by Mr Carlos Represas, Corporate Director of Bombardier, who asked a thoughtful question on how to abolish global poverty and marginalisation through coordinated policy-making. The answer of the panelists was not found adequate.

Stay tuned from 20 to 23 January as the Sting will be once more producing top class critical LIVE media coverage from the Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland. 

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Japanese have a word to help them be less wasteful – ‘mottainai’

Commission adopts €70 million package for early access to EU COVID-19 vaccines in the Western Balkans

Who holds the key to the future of biotechnology? You do

UN rights chief bemoans unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, fearing ‘far-reaching implications’

Aid used for trade is helping developing countries diversify

OECD leading multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from digitalisation of the economy

UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

Trump wants to implicate China in US attacks against global order

Is “Sustainable Development” a concept that integrates Health Literacy and Health Policy as a global health action?

With science ‘held back by a gender gap’, Guterres calls for more empowerment for women and girls

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

Eurozone plans return to growth

Climate change update: consistent global actions urgently needed as we are running out of time

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

Eurozone very close to a sustainable growth path

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

Coronavirus: Commission receives first preliminary application for support from the EU Solidarity Fund for health emergency from Italy

On Human Rights Day European Youth Forum calls for end to discrimination of young people

With Gaza violence ‘escalating as we speak,’ UN envoy calls for ‘immediate stop’

Suffering of thousands of war-affected Syrian children ‘unprecedented and unacceptable’

#TwitterisblockedinTurkey and so is Erdogan

Ukraine: €8 million in humanitarian aid to withstand winter

‘Agile’, multilateral response vital to combat terrorism – UN chief Guterres

5 facts you might not know about why forest biodiversity matters

Recovery and Resilience Facility: Belgium, Italy, Austria, and Slovenia submit official recovery and resilience plans

Australia wants to build a giant underground ‘battery’ to help power the nation

Commission proposes to top up support for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Four things workers want implemented by their bosses post-pandemic

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

5 creative alternatives to plastic packaging

FROM THE FIELD: Malawi farmers diversify to fight climate change

The JADE Spring Meeting is about to begin

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

6 ways to ensure AI and new tech works for – not against – humanity

Pushing for tax fairness in a digital world

‘Global clarion call’ for youth to shape efforts to forge peace in the most dangerous combat zones

Global health challenges require global medical students

Safer products: EP and Council close deal to beef up checks and inspections

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

Investing in nature gives industry and business a competitive advantage. Here’s why

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

UNICEF warns of ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya youth, one year after Myanmar exodus

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

EU allocates over €43 million in humanitarian aid to South Sudan

The 5 lessons from New York Climate Week to help us combat deforestation

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

1 in 13 young British people have PTSD. Here’s why

The blackened white coat of the doctors

The clothes of the future could be made from pineapples and bananas

COVID-19: Team Europe supports African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to access finance through digital technology

Christine Lagarde: the three priorities for the global economy

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

Healthcare guidance apps to professional’s continued education?

End fossil fuel subsidies, and stop using taxpayers’ money to destroy the world: Guterres

Youth not prioritised in new Commission

State aid: Commission approves €286 million Finnish measure to recapitalise Finnair

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

Coronavirus Global Response: Commission joins the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX)

Eurozone’s sovereign debt not a problem anymore?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s