GLOBSEC Future …a unique opportunity to set trends

The fourth technological revolution is quickly redefining not only today’s business environment, but also the way our economies and societies work. Leaders are faced with challenges and changes that transform where, how, and with whom they do business. Those who can stay ahead of this changing environment, and plan innovative strategies for the future, will likely become tomorrow’s winners. What approaches should these leaders use to compete in this fast shifting playing field? What are the areas investors should be seeking to invest in? GLOBSEC Future will look closer into the future trends and innovations and will thus help provide answers on how and where to seek future added values to the businesses.

To enable companies to stand out from the crowd and enhance their reputation and impact even more, GLOBSEC 2017 Bratislava Forum will introduce a new set of discussion formats covering trendsetting business and technology topics. The quest for sustainable solutions to global challenges offers a strategic opportunity for smart cities, internet of things, green business and secure cyber infrastructure to take the lead. The ambition of this format is to create even stronger bond of policy-making and business in order to introduce sustainable solutions to global challenges.

 

GLOBSEC Future 2017 Topical Framework

 

OUTSMARTING THE AI : AUGMENTING VERSUS REPLACING

With the fast-approaching world where AI will perform most of our current roles, the criteria of sustainable cognitive era have to be set now. Broad access to and equal profit from these technologies will be indispensable precondition for the AI to bring about inclusive and prosperous world. However, so-called democratization of the AI starts already with its development in order to be transparent, trustworthy and for the humans to remain in control. How to achieve enough diversity of inputs into technological development? What are the best practices of current implementation of the AI into business? What is the responsibility of the companies in accommodating skillsets of the work force in light of disappearing middle-class jobs? How is the legal framework catching up?

 

INTERNET OF THINGS: KEEPING US COMFORTABLE BUT SAFE  

It is expected that by 2020 there will be more than 50 billion connected devices which people will rely upon for even the most basic tasks. Emerging ambient intelligence all around us will make our homes, offices, vehicles and communities more or less independent from any human guidance. However, the rapid and disruptive spread of digitization is also providing devices with unprecedented access to our data. How do we balance the emerging opportunities and convenience of universal, embedded computers with ethical, privacy, and security risks? Should citizens be concerned about the further collection of personal data in what were once private areas like the home or car? How will the public and private sector secure their networks when the connection of these devices will exponentially increase security vulnerabilities?

 

 

UNFILTERED DEMOCRACY OF THE WEB

Social media are transforming the world in a much faster way than anyone could have predicted. Traditional media are being challenged by the plurality of internet news sources and social networks. More Internet users are relying on the abundance of unfiltered alternative media that often-spread fake news or propaganda. Search engines and social media work with algorithms that personalise visible content, thus preventing exposure to differing views and reinforcing the confirmation bias. Research shows that populist and extremist right-wing groups excel in abusing these algorithms that amplify their propaganda and spread it like a virus across the Internet. 

 

 

CITY OF TOMORROW: MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME

With growing proportion of urban population, current rate and character of the ongoing urbanisation is quickly becoming unsustainable mainly for its energy needs, environmental implications, economic costs as well as desired efficiency. Whole new industry of smart cities is on the rise on its quest for citizen-driven urban development. At the core, smart cities depend on smart energy systems that link producer, prosumer, and consumer into a single intelligent grid system. Moreover, in order to reduce the commute time having significant impact on the economy, smart cities will also shift the paradigm when it comes to transportation. What are the best practices in designing a smart city so far? Which smart city technologies capitalize the most on efficiencies of dense urban environment making it more resilient and sustainable? How will the data analysis provided by a smart city help it to be governed better, more economically and efficiently?

 

 

DIGITAL SUBVERSION, DIGITAL RESTRICTION

In 2007, Estonia suffered, what could be considered, the first cyberattack on critical information infrastructure. Now, nearly a decade later, the world is reeling from conclusions by the U.S. intelligence community that Russia-affiliated hackers deliberately penetrated and exfiltrated internal documents from Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign servers, in an attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 elections. Despite public and private efforts to secure our national infrastructure, foreign cyberattacks and their damage to national security and political interests seem to have only worsened. How can governments get proactive against attacks to their national interests? What can they do to balance security interests with privacy concerns? What is the responsibility of private sector operators? How can we secure the digital domain without restricting the economic promise of our increasingly digital economies?

 

 

FUTURE OF GLOBAL FREE TRADE

Recent developments in the world politics put a big question mark over the future of the free trade agreements. While after the end of the Cold War leaders of states called for closer economic cooperation and showed great support for free trade agreements, nowadays calls for greater protectionism are rising. At the beginning of this year, UK announced its aim to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements with the EU member states and a few days later the United States withdrew from the TPP. On the other hand, negotiations on RCEP, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, continue and China seems to be aiming to took over the position of a leader of globalisation. What is the future of free trade? Is it lying in bilateral or multilateral agreements? Are we on a path to the protectionism? Can such development endanger already fragile world stability? If the focus is on bilateral agreements, what impact will this change have on national economies?

 

 

NAVIGATING THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, due to its unprecedented speed of system-wide transformation, requires us to quickly understand the changing environment, challenge the assumptions about possible impacts and continuously innovate. This logic applies to businesses as much as to the governments which seem unable to cope with rapid pace and broad impact of the innovation. Moreover, technologies will redistribute and decentralise power forcing governments to rethink the approach to policymaking as traditional top-down model is no longer applicable. How are public authorities adapting to the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution? Are they switching to “agile” governance involving close cooperation with the business and civil society? Are they doing enough to re-engage sceptical citizens to earn their trust and support for innovations? Do they think strategically about the innovative forces to avoid risks such as growing social inequality? How to make sure the Fourth Industrial Revolution works for all of us and truly improves the state of the world?  

 

 

DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES SHAPING THE FUTURE OF WAR 

The war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has proved that the battles of modern warfare are fought in the large urban areas such as Mosul, Raqqa or Aleppo. Are militaries of the world prepared to fight this war? How are the strategies, tactics and tools adapting to the changing character of warfare? Are the technologies the enablers of this development or is this a reaction to more broader developments of demographics? Autonomous weapons and technologies enhancing the human performance are just a few of new disruptive tools being developed and even already tested in ongoing conflicts. Will the tactics and strategies evolve around these new technologies or will they rather be implemented in strategies that worked before? Is this debate happening in Europe as much as in US, Russia or China? Will Europe be able to keep the pace?

 

 

NEW CLIMATE ECONOMY

Unprecedented Paris agreement has entered into force just recently. The ambitious and admirable commitments outlined therein aim at complete defossilising of the global economy. However, with likely deficit of US leadership, harnessing the EU´s driving force within global climate agenda proved during COP21 negotiations seems to be more crucial than ever. At the same time, Europe must aim far beyond its internal climate goals. It is imperative that the emerging economies, especially China, are on board. How can we make economy thrive while protecting the environment? Where are European green economy investment opportunities? Can V4 seek out and better attract targetedChinese RES and smart grid investment? How are companies dealing with the transition and innovating to renewable energy?

 

 

CARING ABOUT SHARING

In less than 10 years, sharing economy has become one of the distinct demonstrations of the internet´s value for the consumers. At first, traditional companies as well as regulators have found themselves at odds with emerging model of providing goods and services and are now forced to catch up. Such a peer-to-peer economy based on collaborative consumption is characterised mainly by intensive customers´ engagement and unique way of building trust between the parties of the transaction. However, unregulated environment of sharing economy or different regulatory standards in various countries poses threat to the safety of the consumers and forces companies to navigate their business through significant uncertainty. Will the governments work with or against the sharing services? How should these providers convince the authorities of their value for the economy? What kind of opportunities does the collision between traditional and innovative business models offer? With current uncertainty about the future of free trade, what kind of perspective does the sharing economy have?