The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 is an annual meeting with political leaders, business executives, cultural trendsetters, and international organization chiefs to discuss and tackle pressing global issues. This is the first conference that has happened in person since January 2020. The rest have been happening virtually due to the covid-19 pandemic.
The main agenda of WEF 2023 is the cost of living, a tight labor market, natural disasters, extreme weather events, how to prevent a global recession in 2023, and the resurgence of COVID-19 infections. The general theme is to discuss the future of the planet.
According to the WEF founder Klaus Schwab, the conference’s main goal is “cooperation in a fragmented world.” He believes that world leaders, who are WEF stakeholders, can seize the opportunity and turn the crisis into an opportunity.
Although the organizers had set key themes, the conference ended up covering different aspects of key themes. This includes metaverse control, online censorship, and financial centralization.
There is no doubt that the metaverse is considered a global virtual village. In the conference, the discussion was between Microsoft and Accenture, both WEF members who have devoted interest in the metaverse. According to Klaus, the metaverse is a dream come true for WEF as it allows WEF to focus on bottom-up instead of top-down influence. The panel got a lot of engagement from young global leaders and Global Shapers. According to Klaus, there’s already a Consortium of more than 80 so-called Village Partners.
Accenture believes the value of the metaverse will grow to more than one trillion dollars by 2025. This is primarily because of the adoption by Enterprise and Industrial focused firms that will use the metaverse to train employees. Accenture also hopes that the metaverse will become a key component in children’s education. Klaus said that the WEF would ensure that the metaverse is governed to maximize the safety of its inhabitants.
It works with over 100 companies to ensure WEF is accessible to all. The metaverse initiative, “governance of the metaverse and the metaverse economy,” was officially launched in May 2022.
The main theme for this was the danger of disinformation. The panel moderators were parties from CNN and New York Times. According to Arthur, the New York Times chairman, disinformation is the core of every problem WEF tries to solve. Distrust in institutions is the most dangerous threat. Arthur also stressed that the only way to fix the issues of disinformation and distrust is for governments to partner with mainstream media.
Vera Jova, the vice president of the European Commission, advocated for “pre-bunking.” This is where you prevent or discourage people from posting anything against the official narrative. Vera added that the EU’s Digital Services act would make it impossible for fake news outlets to receive funding. The only short-term solution is to promote information from trusted sources and suppress everything else. This is what the EU’s Digital Services act does in the event of a crisis.
Bloomberg moderated the crypto discussion, and the conversation was so anti-crypto. There were discussions that financial centralization is required to protect against unwanted volatility. ESG investing has been hard because most environmentally conscious companies are Grassroots startups that need more funding.
There were discussions about why crypto criminals presumably escape to the UAE.
Centralizing crypto will help WEF to have control over the industry, but the crypto industry will actively resist regulation. There was a revelation that the EU’s upcoming Mica regulations will not stifle Innovation but prevent crypto from becoming a wild west class.
As much as WEF covered many things, it is clear that the crypto industry will be affected. There is clarity that we are moving towards online censorship and centralization. In conclusion, the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos was a wake-up call for leaders and stakeholders to take action on pressing global issues. The discussions on metaverse control, online censorship, and financial centralization should be of utmost concern as they have the potential to shape our future in ways we cannot yet imagine. The outcome of the conference serves as a warning to all that we must act quickly and act now.
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