Robots, jobs and revolution: Why you should pay attention to the World Economic Forum

It’s the “best conversation platform in the world,” says Bloomberg’s Tom Keene, and he’s not talking about Facebook. It’s the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Keene will be for a twelfth time, and it entices economists, policy makers, academics, celebrities and journalists alike. Here’s why the discussions in Davos matter to you.

imagephotographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Prepare for a revolution. A key theme at the forum (better known as Davos, the name of the Swiss ski resort where the annual event takes place) is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We’re moving out of the age of electronics and computing and into an age of automation: what WEF’s founder Klaus Schwab describes as the “fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between physical, digital, and biological sphere.” You can also expect plenty of smart conversations around vital topics such as “oil, migrants and refugees, oil, China, Brexit, and more oil,” according to Bloomberg’s Keene.

A robot could take your job. How will we survive the rise of the robots? While technological change will create 2 million jobs, it will also cause the loss of over 5 million jobs by 2020. The conference will look at the impact of this kind of automation, from jobs to skills to inequality.

Prepare for the unexpected. We’re living in an era defined by “unexpected consequences,” WEF’s Schwab told Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal. The speed of change and fluctuations in our interconnected global economy could have an impact across business, geopolitics, and social movement.