File image: IOL

DAVOS - A panel of five world speakers at the World Economic Forum annual meeting sat on Tuesday to unpack and delve on how will industries, institutions and innovation shape the future of the digital economy?

Dimensions that were addressed during the discussions included:

  • Promoting digital skills and lifelong learning 
  • Adapting cross-border data flows to new data localization policies 
  • Strengthening trust in technology through algorithmic transparency

The session was led by Derek O'Halloran who's the head of digital economy and society system initiative and member of the executive committee of the World Economic Forum.

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The out-going chairman of IT governors steering committee and a member of business council at the Economic World Forum, feels that the business community and organisations have the responsibility to optimise access to the benefit of digital economy through extension of broadband, education and healthcare into the remote areas of the world.

He added that it is key for institutions to enhance new sets of partnerships to help bring benefit of technology to society.

Michael Gregoire is the incoming chairperson of IT governors steering committee at the World Economic Forum. Gregoire said the forum will help tech providers to change the tech narrative by bringing more people who are disassociated with tech into the industry.

According to Gavin Patterson, the chairman of telecommunications governors community said the telecommunications industry around the world requires huge investment.  

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Patterson points out that cyber attacks are a threat to the tech industry. Many CEOs and board of directors that he's met are saying the tech space is becoming more sophisticated as they often experience attempted cyber attacks.

He added that the only way forward is through partnership, collaborations and sharing of data and best practice.

The shortage of skills in the technology sector is the global challenge. Patterson said that the industry is not producing enough students, apprentices and graduates who want to be in tech.

"We need to make sure that technology is part of the curriculum just like reading and writing; and arithmetic." This will assist people realise opportunities the technology industry holds.

The former European Union Commissioner, Neelie Kroes said there's still gap between the technology policy makers, the industry and the people. In this regard she said people have the responsibility and also have the challenge to influence and work with the policy makers.

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Among the discussions, the speakers had a common ground that there's a need to broaden technology skills around the world. The speakers deemed tech skills as a vital tool that everyone will need to survive in the business sector and at work.

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