Recollection on key messages from the 20th WKF

2019.11.01 13:37:02

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Global leaders across the board got together at Maekyung Media Group’s 20th World Knowledge Forum held in September 25-27 in Seoul, South Korea to share their insights and discuss various issues under the topic “Knowledge Revolution 5.0: Perspicacity Towards Prosperity for All”. Here are the top 10 messages from the forum.

1. Importance of risk diversification

Global experts and economists warned that some countries or companies could face default next year amid growing uncertainties in the global economy such as ongoing trade disputes between the world’s two biggest economies the U.S. and China. Yoon Jae-sung, chief investment officer at New York Investment Management said diversifying risks strategically would be key to the successful investment.

2. Triple scourges putting the global economy at recession risks

Nouriel Roubini, the economic professor of New York University’s Stern School of Business who is known as Dr.Doom for predicting the 2008 global financial crisis, warned that major economies playing chicken games could intensify the global economic risks to the point of a recession.

“A global recession can be triggered by either escalation of U.S. and China trade war, or possibly hot war between U.S. and Iran that spike oil prices, or a hard Brexit that will damage Europe and affect the rest of the world,” the professor said.

3. South Korea to be the biggest victim of the U.S.-China conflict

Harvard professor Niall Ferguson said South Korea is a country that should fear the most the escalating trade and technology war between the world’s two most powerful economies. He argued that the Chinese government has been restricting business activities in a debate with Justin Yifu Lin of Peking University who countered that China would overtake the U.S. in 20 years.

4. A need to strengthen security cooperation of Korea, the U.S. and Japan

Marc Knapper, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan at the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said he hoped South Korea to rethink its decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan because it could break down the tripartite security partnership framework of the three countries. Vincent Brooks, former commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said the U.S.-Korea alliance will never be broken, and nothing can shake the commitment of ‘let’s go together’, a catchphrase of the alliance.

5. Future industrial landscape to be shaped by data and AI

Samsung Electronics President Sohn Young-kwon coined a new term ‘DATA.I.’ at the forum to emphasize data and artificial intelligence (AI) are inextricable in the future industries. Nick Bostrom, director of Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, said the world should brace for the future where machines surpass humans in general intelligence and this ‘superintelligence’ becomes dominant lifeform on Earth.

6. Fierce 5G race

Hwang Chang-gyu, chairman of South Korea’s leading telecom company KT, stressed the need for “strengthening cooperation to forge better future and prosperity based on 5G network” and argued the governments around the world should ease regulations to facilitate 5G utilization and the international organizations are immediately needed to come up with related guidelines.

James Cathey, Senior Vice President and President of global business at Qualcomm, said 5G would spark new inventions and reshape industrial landscape.

7. Technology should work in harmony with humanity

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a video message that the fourth industrial revolution should usher in a new era in which science and technology build a harmonious relationship with humanity. Samsung Electronics President Sohn Young-kwon said the innovative technologies that are being under development should be wisely employed to make our lives better.

8. Transition to low-carbon economy

Masamichi Kono, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said the world needs a transition to a “low-carbon economy” by increasing power generation from renewable sources and expanding R&D in low-emission technology. Former French President Francois Hollande proposed to create a virtuous circle in which the private sector pays for emitting carbon and the money is reinvested to climate change mitigation measures.

9. K-pop to bring world together

K-pop will connect Asia to the world and this new relationship will create many “cross-border opportunities,” said Lee Soo-man, the founding chairman and executive producer of South Korea’s leading record label SM Entertainment. Steve Chen, co-founder of video sharing website YouTube, said Korea’s video streaming platform needs to expand its presence into the wider world.

10. New definition on leadership

Rajeev Bidyanand Dubey, President of Mahindra & Mahindra Group, said an organization with a mindset that its leader knows everything must work on a path towards failure. Olivier Blum, chief HR officer at Schneider Electric said a team needs to bring people with different strengths together instead of finding one perfect leader.

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