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January 16, 2017updated 25 Jan 2017 3:20pm

Tech at Davos – What’s on and who’s speaking at World Economic Forum 2017

With Meg Whitman billed as a co-chair at this year's World Economic Forum, tech is taking centre stage in Davos. From cyberwar to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, tech execs are joining statesman, celebrities and economists in the shared aim of improving the state of the world. CBR picks out the not-to-be-missed tech sessions and speakers at this year's forum.

By Ellie Burns

Every year the small municipality of Davos, home to just 11,000 residents, plays host to the world’s super-elite. Politicians, heads of state, celebrities and founders of billion-dollar companies descend on the snowy Swiss mountain in the shared aim of solving the world’s ills at the World Economic Forum.

This year, the main theme is centred on ‘Responsive and Responsible Leadership’, with Brexit and Trump set to command the majority of conversation in and around the conference.

However, Davos has seen a new breed of elite in recent times, with tech giants and their respective chief execs keen to be involved in the Davos rhetoric. This is, obviously, a reflection on the ever-growing role of technology in our lives; from the impact of AI on the workforce, to the fourth revolution, tech leaders demand attention at a forum designed to improve the state of the world.

The big names in tech pull out all the stops at Davos, with Salesforce, Microsoft, Accenture and Infosys just some of the big names renting pop-up shops for forum attendees. Salesforce, in fact, has become one of the hottest invites in town, with last year seeing the cloud company putting on a mini-Dreamforce with guests like Bono donning flown-in Hawaiian leis.

The parties, however, are for the evening, with the tech leaders and billionaire co-founders using the day to speak on panels and sessions. CBR has pulled out a number of key sessions, led by some of the biggest in tech, so that you can follow all the news from Davos as it happens.


davos davos world economic forum

Day 1 – Tuesday 17 January

Promise or Peril: Decoding the Future of Work

Time: 07:15 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
C. Vijayakumar, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies

Forecasts on the impact of technology on the future of work are deeply polarized, creating fear of the challenges to come and inaction on new opportunities. What do we know about the transformation underway and what short- and long-term innovations hold the greatest potential to navigate these changes? Dimensions to be addressed: – Decoding trends and blind spots – Social and political implications – Public-private partnerships.

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The future of the Digital Economy

Time: 07:30 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Bill McDermott, Chief Executive Officer, SAP SE
Inga Beale, Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd’s

What are the major drivers transforming the digital economy and how should leaders prepare for this new context? Dimensions to be addressed: – Digital transformation of industries – Cybersecurity of the industrial internet of things – Trust-based partnerships and collaboration.


Strategic Update: The Future of Innovation

Time: 08:45 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Chuck Robbins, Chief Executive Officer, Cisco

What are the major drivers transforming innovation globally and how should leaders prepare for this new context? Dimensions to be addressed: – Corporatization of research – Tightening of national borders – Impact of intellectual property regimes.


Artificial Intelligence

Time: 13:00 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation
Satya Nadella, Davos, World Economic Forum

Satya Nadella, Microsoft

Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation

As business opportunities for artificial intelligence multiply, how can industry leaders design the principles and technical standards into their products that benefit society as a whole? Dimensions to be addressed: – Data ecosystems for privacy and security – Algorithms for greater social inclusion – Institutions to build trust among stakeholders.


Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Time: 17:00 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Marc R. Benioff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce
Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys Ltd
Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company

What is needed from the public and private sectors to ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits all of humanity?


Jack Ma and Ginni Rometty are on the bill for day two at Davos – see who else is appearing on the next page.


Day 2 – Wednesday 18 January


How well are companies prepared to withstand cyberattacks?

Time: 08:00 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Mike Nefkens, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, Enterprise Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with its partners , has developed a first-of-its-kind set of principles and tools for corporate oversight boards to tackle cybersecurity and resilience.


An Insight, An Idea with Ginni Romettyginni rometty davos world economic forum

Time: 10:30 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation

A conversation with Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM, on business transformation in the era of cognitive computing.


Press Conference: Risk Transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Time: 16:00 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
David Kenny, Senior Vice-President, IBM Watson, IBM Corporation

What are the risks technological innovations pose to society? How do we protect society against the new and more complex risks of the 4th Industrial revolution? How can we enable insurers to play their pivotal role as enablers of innovation? In what way should we bring public and private stakeholders together to mitigate these risks? What are the responsibilities of governments, insurers, product designers, manufacturers and the consumer in protecting against these risks? What actions need to be taken?


An Insight, An Idea with Jack Ma

Time: 17:15 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Jack Ma, Founder and executive chairman, Alibaba Group

A conversation with Alibaba founder Jack Ma on the future of online trade and globalization.


Day three and four include appearances from Sergey Brin and Dan Shulman – see what they are set to talk about on the next page.


Day 3 – Thursday 19 January


Shaping a National Digital Strategy

Time: 09:45 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, BT Group Plc

Many countries have a national digital strategy and yet plans mostly focus on infrastructure rather than privacy, security and skills development. How can national digital strategies unlock leapfrogging opportunities for countries?


An Insight, An Idea with Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin Davos World economic forum

Sergey Brin, Alphabet

Time: 13:15 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and Alphabet President

A conversation with Google founder Sergey Brin on leadership, entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


The Global Fintech Revolution

Time: 15:30 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Dan Schulman, Chief Executive Officer, PayPal Inc.

With Asia attracting half of global fintech investment, what trends are driving this global next-generation financial system?


Day 4 – Friday 20 January


Cyber War

Time: 08:00 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Michael Gregoire,  Chief Executive Officer, CA Technologies

From attacks on critical infrastructure to attempts at sabotage of political processes, has the first cyber war already begun?


Shifting Gears to Driverless

Time: 08:15 GMT
Who’s Speaking?
Paul E. Jacobs, Executive Chairman, Qualcomm Incorporated
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Renault-Nissan Alliance

As the driverless revolution approaches, how will notions of ownership, productivity and ethics change?

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