Technology will change the way the world operates says WEF

The COVID pandemic has heightened the impact of the new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with technology set to play an ever increasing role in the future development of the global economy and the world’s way of life.

Artificial intelligence (AI), the cloud and robotics, are changing the way we live, learn and do business at a rate unprecedented in human history, according to the Technology Futures report from the World Economic Forum.

The report was released to coincide with the opening of the World Economic Forum’s inaugural Global Technology Governance Summit today.

The summit will see leaders from more than 125 governments and more than 360 member companies worldwide share perspectives on the ability to harness and disseminate the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s new technologies.

According to the report “This seismic shift” driven by technology is playing out in a world characterized by unreliable political landscapes and increasing environmental instability.

“Scenario planning in this environment can be very difficult for businesses, affecting their ability to plan for the future, and properly assess the risks and opportunities that may present themselves,” the report added.

“The rapid pace of technological change, alongside the global crisis caused by COVID-19, means that leaders today need new tools to understand challenges and develop strategies in the face of an increasingly uncertain future. This report provides three new analytical tools for business leaders to think about the future in a dynamic environment,” said Ruth Hickin, Strategy and Impact Lead, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum.

The report breaks down future trends into four categories for business leaders and provides some examples of what is likely to remain constant in the years ahead.

  • Information: With the volume of accessible data exploding and more of our personal lives lived online, the report projects the probable implications for remote learning, remote working and healthcare.
  • Locality: Since the onset of COVID-19, even more of our interpersonal interaction is virtual and physical experiences have dwindled. The report projects more niche, readily available virtual experiences available to consumers.
  • Economy: The report forecasts a growing likelihood that flexible and clean energy production will continue rising.
  • Education: Personalised education will likely grow, along with the availability of digitised and virtualised content.

In addition to strategic modelling, the report has identified a baseline history of how the Fourth Industrial Revolution has progressed. It charts just how fast technology is evolving and outlines one way risk management could evolve to better address and adapt to it.