OECD: Fourth Industrial Revolution ‘exciting’ but has downsides

Face of the future: The humanoid robot Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, the first robot in the world to be given nationality. (Getty Images)
Updated 12 February 2019
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OECD: Fourth Industrial Revolution ‘exciting’ but has downsides

  • Challenge is how to empower half of the workforce that will be displaced
  • National leaders urged to broaden their horizons and make appropriate decisions to create a better future

DUBAI: The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will be exciting and full of promise, but carries downsides, Jose Angel Gurria, the secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said on Monday.

In a discussion with CNN’s Becky Anderson at the World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai, Gurria said: “The danger is not just about knowing the technology that is growing at breakneck speed, but how you empower half of the workforce that will be displaced.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution will carry with it many promises and challenges in employing technology and how to use it. Half of the workforce is going to be disrupted by technology, due to over- or under-qualification. How can we motivate and upskill those that will be displaced in the process?”

Gurria focused on the need for countries to realize the effects on labor forces and on generations yet to enter the world of work.

He also urged national leaders to “broaden their horizons and make appropriate decisions in order to create a better future.”

 

Intellectual property in the 4IR

Intellectual property governance policies promote innovation and creativity, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s director general, Francis Gurry.

“Effective intellectual property systems ensure that ideas are transformed into products and services that are beneficial to people,” Gurry said. “Through intellectual property, we ensure that good ideas are translated into economic products, balance of interests and competitiveness.”

In 2018 alone, 2.5 million patent applications were filed worldwide, which, Gurry said, explained the need for stricter protection laws.

China and the US lead the world in terms of patent numbers, followed by Japan.

“We have a large number of patents on artificial intelligence, so this sequence must be protected,” Gurry added. “We expect significant changes in the distribution of capacity around the world as a result of the development of artificial intelligence in robots.”

 

Mobility in the 4IR

Artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnologies are among the UAE’s key priorities during the 4IR, according to Mattar Mohamed Al-Tayer, Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) general manager.

“The importance of artificial intelligence in the transportation sector lies in three objectives: supporting the management of major events, forecasting traffic, and monitoring and dealing with accidents,” Al-Tayer said during a session at the WGS on “The Future of Mobility in the Age of 4IR.”

He highlighted the accomplishments the RTA has made over the years, turning Dubai into one of the world’s most efficient cities when it comes to mobility and transportation.

“In Dubai, we organized with international transport companies, such as Uber and others, to provide intelligent services to community members.

“The transport sector in Dubai is moving over a million people, and this figure makes us aware of the importance of establishing a solid infrastructure that enhances transportation,” he said.

 


Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

Updated 17 February 2019
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Hong Kong economy stalls amid US-China trade dispute: finance chief

  • ‘The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year’
  • Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s economy stalled last year as the ongoing China-US trade dispute and retail woes dragged down local business, the city’s financial chief said Sunday.
Beijing and Washington have already imposed duties on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, roiling global financial markets and weighing heavily on manufacturing output in both countries.
“The impact of China-US trade frictions on Hong Kong’s exports has clearly emerged at the end of last year,” said finance secretary Paul Chan.
Economic growth in the semi-autonomous Chinese city for the last quarter of 2018 was less than 1.5 percent — the weakest since the first quarter of 2016 and a “significant slowdown” from the average growth rate of 3.7 percent in the first three quarters, Chan wrote on his official blog.
The slowdown brought last year’s growth rate to an estimated three percent, down from the higher-than-forecast 3.8 percent recorded in 2017, he added.
“It was almost ‘zero-growth’ for commodities exports in the fourth quarter, which was a sharp drop compared to the average 6 percent growth in the first three quarters,” he wrote.
Chan said consumer sentiment had also dampened with retail sales rising only 2.1 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, a far cry from the more than 12 percent increase in the first half of the year.
“The external political and economic situation remains unclear ... Therefore, we repeatedly stress the need to support enterprises, safeguard employment, stabilize the economy and benefit people’s livelihoods,” he wrote, hinting at the ongoing trade negotiations between the world’s top two economies.
Chan is expected to deliver the Hong Kong budget on February 27.