A pause. Business leaders and world politicians have accustomed us in Davos (Switzerland) to great transformative visions of the future on postcard snow. But this time the meeting of the World Economic Forum has sounded differently. The central concept is the Globalization 4.0, more inclusive, a call to reflection on the social impact of the technological revolution, its impact on people's lives, singularly on employment, and on the environment.
"What has changed is the focus on social change," says Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, a phenomenon that is linked to the "crisis of confidence and skills." The fact is that "we have put too much focus on technology and it is a real problem that there is not enough focus on the other part". One of the manifestations of this gap is that today's workforce "does not have the necessary skills for the future".
Given the evidence that the government "can not solve this problem alone", Rommety promotes the idea of the New Collar, an alliance with companies to change the educational model and help the conversion of many jobs. "New collar is the idea of a job, which is neither white nor blue, so it does not have a negative connotation."
The CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott, also talks about associating with the public sector. "We have done a survey with the WEF to 10,000 people from 29 countries, we have found a division of opinions: half said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was going to benefit them and the other half that was going to harm them." His vision is that managers of companies, in which workers believe more than public leaders, promote "an economy of experiences" about what "people really feel".
For David Taylor, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, "the concept of shareholder has changed, today CEOs pay much attention to a larger group". That's why he talks about "the personality of the brand", they must have "a point of view, today more than ever, if their behavior is not consistent with the values they exhibit, they have a real problem".
"There has been a lot of talk about the future of employment. "People must be back in the center of policies," says Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). In his opinion, it is necessary to "reinforce" equality of opportunities, rather than equality in salary matters, and for this the training of workers is essential. In fact, this is one of the points addressed in the report presented a few days ago by the ILO "Work for a brighter future: the right to lifelong training of the worker". The director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, emphasizes the gender gap in the workplace: "Automation will affect women more," because most of them perform "more routine and repetitive" jobs.
The approach of Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, focuses on the person as a consumer. "The consumer goods industry has operated with the same model in the last 100 years: massive groups of consumers offered with mass products sold through massive channels and mass media. Today is the revolution. I do not think we have to deal with audiences of only one person, but more smaller and homogeneous groups". In that task, according to Jope, "we have to use AI and machine learning to understand the relationship between online and offline, and that implies developing new skills, not a change in the channel, but the whole system."
Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, agrees that online and offline stores are "complementary at all levels, including staff, customers want comfort, we are working on creating more digital relationships to improve experiences". Physical store allows you to "smell coffee and talk to another customer" and McMillon vindicates the "importance of staying local".
Taking Globalization 4.0 to the individual level, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, also defends privacy, data and artificial intelligence, and not only in Europe, whose model believes that it is exportable to the United States and the rest of the world. In this regard, he praises the European Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), because privacy must be considered "a fundamental human right". The starting point must be that people are "the owners of their own data". Nadella also points to the technology that allows facial recognition, which will soon be widespread.
For Google's CFO, Ruth Porat, "the data is more like sunlight than oil." His contribution is to put the accent on the "new data" with many applications at the same time. "What we are learning from our work in AI is that we need all the latest data available to get the disruption." In fact, reversing the natural trend, "Uber, Airbnb, Spotify are adding data because they are able to create a better user experience."
Stephen A. Schwarzman, president of Blackstone, defends online with Nadella that "you must have an ethical approach about when to deploy artificial intelligence, there is a boiling of venture capital companies, it is the beginning of a revolution that will change a huge amount of things, jobs, jobs or the development of knowledge ".
Downtime also in environmental matters. Fatih Birol, director of the International Energy Agency, recalls that "1 billion people do not have access to electricity, two out of 20 in Africa." You have to think "in what sources we are going to use and it is very important to use that electricity efficiently and not build unnecessary power plants". One of the keys is to improve the efficiency of electrical devices. In India, air conditioners use three times more electricity than Japan's, due to the energy efficiency standards of their devices.
Jean Pascal Tricoire, president and CEO of Schneider Electric, argues, in that sense, that improving energy efficiency means promoting digitalization. "The digital world has to be integrated into the life cycles of the electrical installations".
And two notes from S & P Global president, Douglas Peterson: "Will technology push manufacturing to become increasingly global or local?" Technologies such as 3D printing, design on demand, advances in artificial intelligence, will change the trade of many forms, "but remains a key issue: can you reach scale on a local basis? "; and "for any country that wants to participate in the global supply chain and the global service chain, including tourism, infrastructures should be the center of the discussion, and financial markets should support the deployment of these infrastructures."
In Davos, the role of technological giants has been raised as a problem. Raghuram G. Rajan of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business states that Google "provides free services and it seems that consumers benefit from the dynamics of 'lower prices, better products.' But this raises questions. Really free, who is paying and how?, we have to give more transparency. " Is a process of continuous innovation and competition possible when there are such giants? And who receives the return of these big corporations, what about small countries and SMEs?