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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.

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