Highlights from the WEF annual meeting 2016

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The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2016 has drawn to a close after four days of debates and discussions on some of the most interesting issues affecting the economic world today.

The yearly event, which took place in Davos, Switzerland, saw some of the world’s leading figures in politics, the economy, and the arts discuss and dissect topics regarding science, finance, and much, much more. Leonardo DiCaprio, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and Prime Minister David Cameron all attended the event. This year’s theme was “mastering the fourth industrial revolution”.

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Former vice president of the United States, Al Gore, kicked things off by discussing breakthroughs in clean fuel technology, followed by a day of debating the Chinese economy, the evolution of technology, and the future of financial services. Debates related to “mastering the fourth industrial revolution” explored the threat of how the majority of jobs are being taken over by robots, and how to maintain our humanity as technology evolves at a terrifyingly quick pace. Many believe that we are on the brink of a Fourth Industrial Revolution; one which sees the lines between man and machine blurred significantly. A talk lead by World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab, provided food for thought- “We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them.”

Another major talking point included the future of the world’s economy. The sudden worrying shift in the world’s stock markets lead to an influx of debates on the matter. An unstable stock market, fluctuating lending rates, and a multitude of factors make for uncharted territory when it comes to finance. Members of many of the world’s leading financing companies gathered to discuss how to handle such volatility, and how to reboot the global economy as a whole. Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, stated that “The biggest impediment to a company’s future success is its past success.”

Despite the uncertainty, the talks on finance had a fairly positive feel, with Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund stating that “A Degree of volatility is OK. The market sorts things out, eventually.” The weekend ended on a high with a performance from cellist and composer Zoe Keating.

Overall, many of the weekend’s talks had a hopeful tone, despite focusing on rather challenging topics.

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