davos 2014

10 Davos 2014 Talks We Wish We Were Attending

It’s that time of year again. The annual conference of the World Economic Forum, affectionately known as Davos 2014, is descending for the 44th time on a ridiculously picturesque village in Switzerland. And with it will descend movers and shakers from all over the world – including more than 30 heads of state, 1,500 captains of industry and academic leaders, and Enternships CEO Rajeeb Dey (we’re not jealous. Nope, not us *seethe*).

 

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So what’s hot and tasty at Davos 2014, other than the canapes? The theme of this year’s conference is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business”. Whew. No pressure, then. While we wait to hear more of Rajeeb’s thoughts on how to address the melange of issues surrounding education and youth unemployment in the conference’s upcoming panel debate on education, we had a look at the rest of the programme and fed our inner green-eyed monsters.

Read on for our pick of 10 Davos talks, some of the choicest offerings in the smorgasbord of this year’s event. Let feeding time begin.

davos 2014

10. ‘The Big Brother Problem’

Description

What are the consequences of growing public alarm over personal privacy, data security and the lack of transparency in the gathering of data by public and private organizations?

Why we want to go

Whether you see Julian Assange and Edward Snowden as heroes or villains, it’s clear that we’re on the cusp of something undeniably Orwellian here. Something that needs a whole new set of rules, and fast. So far, the uproar about digital snooping – to which it seems essentially no-one, from Great Aunt Ethel to the German chancellor, is immune – has been largely unaddressed. Who’s got the answers? Davos, we’re rooting for ya.

davos 2014

9. ‘From Atoms To Bits: 3D Scanning Workshop’

Description

Learn how to turn a physical object into a computer model.

Why we want to go

Because 3D printing basically gets us as excited as Lego did back when we were still in nappies, and because it sounds like there’s more to this session than just 3D-printing a mini-me of yourself to give your parents next Christmas.

davos 2014

8. ‘Embracing Hyperconnectivity’

Description

How is hyperconnectivity affecting individual and societal norms and behaviours?

Why we want to go:

Like us, you’ve probably got 53 tabs open on your browser, your phone is buzzing on your desk, you’re worrying about the deteriorating charge capacity of your tablet PC, and the echoey wash of Whatsapp notifications is the soundtrack to your dreams. Slash nightmares. The session’s objectives are to explain the impact of hyperconnectivity on the brain and decision-making; to map the evolution of networks and organizational norms; and to re-imagine the relationship between citizens and institutions. 

davos 2014

7. ‘Forum Debate: Are Markets Safer Now?’

Description

Is the international financial system safer now than it was five years ago?

Why We Want To Go

With the global financial crisis is still fresh in our minds (2008? What?) and Leo DiCaprio dancing across cinema screens in hot-off-the-press blockbuster Wolf Of Wall Street, tossing midgets left right and centre, invoking renewed vexation among pretty much everyone who isn’t a banker, we want answers. And what about the freaky new kid on the block, Bitcoin? If the topic of cryptocurrency doesn’t crop up somewhere in there when contemplating the international financial system of the future, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

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6. ‘Faith and Gender Equality’

Description

Women represent more than half of the world’s population. Yet, with enduring patriarchal traditions, women still do not have the same rights as men. Issues of reproductive rights and socially mandated roles in the family remain controversial. Considering the important role of faith in social and economic development, can religious bodies help rethink the role of women in society?

Why we want to go

The general view is that religion tends to repress women. We’re curious to hear the counter-argument.

davos 2014

5. ‘Open Forum: Higher Education – Investment or Waste?’

Description

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

Yet today, the US has a trillion dollar student loan bubble and the graduate unemployment rate has reached 14%. With over 285,000 university graduates working at minimum wage in the US, many students are faced with buyer’s remorse. Is it time to reconsider whether a college degree is worth the investment?

Why we want to go

In these days of dismal statistics (88 applications for every one graduate job in the UK, etc etc), Generation Y is in the process of scratching its collective head over the question of whether all that debt is really worth it. Add to that the topic of MOOCs, which make it possible for us to access university education for free and on our own schedules, and the question really starts to bulge. The future of education depends on the answers. SIGN US UP.

davos 2014

4. ‘Exploring Our Limits’

Description

“I will go anywhere, provided it be forward.” – David Livingstone

What creates a sense of adventure, and what are the experiences of those who take them on?

Why we want to go

Fodder for those times when deciding to take a bus instead of the tube fails to scratch the itch. Seriously though, a sense of adventure can be a driving force behind everything in life – career included. Not that we’re saying you should ask your facilities manager if your office car park can be replaced with a crocodile-filled moat, mind.

davos 2014

3. ‘Disruptive Innovation Ahead!’

Description

What technology-driven innovations will disrupt the global marketplace in the year ahead?

Why we want to go

We’re sick and tired of hearing about Google Glass. Please, let there be more to it than that.

davos 2014

2. ‘CEO Series: Tackling Talent Scarcity’

Description

How are employers rethinking their responsibility to invest in talent for the long term?

Why we want to go

With a jaw of the yawning skills gap dropping ever lower, it’s clear that the current education system cannot keep up with the needs and demands of industry. It’s obvious that universities, government and businesses are going to have to work closer together in future if a solution is to be found, whether they like it or not. Part of that solution will involve being prescient and active, rather than retrospective and reactive, when it comes to assessing present and future skills mismatches. On the flipside, businesses need to accept – at least in the interim period, until the gap starts to close – that they need to provide opportunities for reskilling if they want to attract the best raw talent.

We care about this stuff. This is what gets us out of bed in the morning.

davos 2014

1. ‘The Universe Unveiled’

Description

Nobel Laureate in physics Brian Schmidt and astrophysicist Chris Lintott reveal the hidden truths of our galaxies, stars and planets, and the history and fate of our universe.

Why we want to go

Because when one starts to groan under the weight of all this mental heavy-lifting on matters social, political and economic, one wants to know that there’s hope Out There. And maybe Brian Cox will make a surprise appearance? In a pair of Speedos? Fingers crossed.

Want to learn more about Davos 2014? Visit the official site here, and follow Enternship’s very own Rajeeb Dey (@rajdey) as he embarks on his Davos adventure from Tuesday. He’s on the panel for a debate on education – so we’ll be sure to keep you posted!

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