L. Rafael Reif (2018)
For those of us fortunate enough to come together at Davos this year, the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises gains in scientific knowledge, human health, economic growth and more. But for most people around the world, the prospect of a future in which robots and computers can perform many human jobs is a source of profound personal concern. As president of an institute with ‘technology’ in its name and ‘the betterment of humankind’ in its mission, I take these concerns seriously. Every past technology wave ultimately produced more jobs than it destroyed and delivered important gains, from higher living standards and life expectancy to productivity and economic growth. Yet many fear that this time the change may be so fast and so vast, and its impact so uneven and disruptive, that it may threaten not only individual livelihoods but the stability of society itself. This outcome is not inevitable. The future is in our hands. Indeed, deliberate, coordinated action is exactly what smoothed the way for such transitions in the past. If we want the advance of technology to benefit everyone, however, we need to take action right away. We must proactively and thoughtfully reinvent the future of work.
Publisher: World Economic Forum