A typical day for most people at Davos lasts 18 hours. It sounds gruelling but the hours fly by, as there’s never a dull moment thanks to the fascinating content presented around the clock.
This year’s theme is “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. True to theme, topics like AI and blockchain are taking centre-stage this year. Not surprising then that the potential of new technologies – for good and for ill – dominates nearly every conversation that I have.
I was particularly impressed by one session, where they talked about how blockchain could make professional sports fairer. The easiest way to think of blockchain is that the technology works like a shared file in Google Docs, whereby several people have access at once and any changes or additions are securely recorded.
In terms of sports, blockchain would provide a secure system to help detect doping in athletes by logging prescriptions and test results, thus minimising human error.
Blockchain could transform sports, and it could do the same for the real estate industry. In real estate, a large portion of data is hosted on disparate systems – both offline and online. With blockchain, we could move to a digitised ledger that tracks and stores information. This would improve transparency, efficiency, and prevent inaccuracies and fraud. Exciting times indeed.
When I attended the WEF last year, people were talking about the responsibilities involved in adopting new technologies. I observed a similar train of thought this year, with discussions revolving around social responsibility, and potential gender and racial biases that need to be considered before we employ any new technology.
Thinking about tech on a more personal level, according to my fitness tracker, I ended day one having completed 19,000 steps. As I made my way around the Forum, I had the privilege of hearing from some of the world’s best known public figures, including the Duke of Cambridge’s interview with Sir David Attenborough on climate change. In a riveting session to a crowded auditorium, the 92-year-old broadcaster and naturalist cautioned that “the Garden of Eden is no more”, a jolting moment for all of us present.
Tomorrow promises to be just as thought-provoking with sessions on the economic outlook for China, India and Japan – all key markets for JLL.
Susheel Koul is JLL’s Managing Director, IFM Asia Pacific.
For more on our presence at the World Economic Forum, please visit JLL’s Davos 2019 page.