Big tech, bad tech and proptech at Davos

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The last time I was in Davos, it wasn’t #Davos. Let me explain. I was lucky enough to visit this pretty, Alpine town many years ago on a holiday. I couldn’t have imagined then that the next time I’d be here would be as a proud JLL delegate, attending one of the most important and closely-watched events on the international calendar.

That thought really brought home the fact that we are living in a very different world today. The digital revolution has transformed the way we do business, and technology powers almost every aspect of our lives.

At Davos, government and tech leaders alike addressed how big tech has made an impact in the world for the better – and the worse. As visionary and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, put it: “New technology will create a lot of successful people, interesting careers but honestly every new technology will create social problems.”

 

At JLL, this is something we’re acutely aware of, as we think about the ways that technology is transforming the built environment in cities, and how we live, work and play in those places.

Before I went to Davos, I wrote a piece for the WEF Agenda blog about the ways that property and technology are converging; how Artificial Intelligence, data and drones, are reshaping real estate and physically transforming cities. This has been one of the hot topics of conversation as I speak to fellow delegates and clients about the future of real estate.

During a session on data-driven cities, at which our CEO Christian Ulbrich was a panellist, I was reminded about the responsibility we all have as we advance innovation and digitalisation in our respective industries. We discussed the rise of big data underpinning the future success of cities around the world. But perhaps what’s even more critical is governance and transparency around these technologies and how they are applied.

It’s paramount that the acceleration of technology doesn’t exacerbate our fractured world. Instead, let’s harness it to build trust, empower people and create a better shared future.