Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Monday. Image Credit: VIrendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, on Monday urged leaders attending the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024 in Dubai to harness technology to create what he termed a ‘humanocracy’ and prepare for an ‘intelligent age’ merging our physical, biological, digital dimensions.

Delivering the keynote address on “Civilisations of Tomorrow: Built to Fail or Rise,” Schwab reflected on the impact of technological advancements and emphasised the need for a transition into an era where humanity flourishes alongside technological progress.

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Highlighting the transformative potential of technology, Schwab envisioned a future where human values and aspirations are deeply intertwined with technological innovations. He underscored the importance of leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing and 3D printing to propel society towards a more sustainable, equitable, and human-centric future.

“If we look forward, we don’t want to move into using the Fourth Industrial Revolution into a cold bureaucracy. We don’t want to move into a technocracy. What we want to do…. we want to move for what I would call a “humanocracy,” a world where we use technology to use all our human potential and to create even a better world,” said Schwab.

He said leaders in the new age must blend as technicians, philosophers and humanists to achieve this “humanocracy”.

Schwab outlined key aspects of this envisioned intelligent age, including personalised education systems, predictive healthcare, and a redefined economy driven by creative entrepreneurship and digital platforms. Emphasising the role of technology in enhancing human wellbeing, he envisioned workspaces that prioritise creativity and interpersonal connections, enabled by automation and AI.

Schwab called upon government leaders to proactively embrace this technological evolution and engage their populations in the process.

“We have to be prepared for a world where we see a fusion of our physical, our digital, and our biological dimensions,” he said during a conversation with Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the WGS, following his speech.

Schwab urged leaders to remain optimistic and adaptive in the face of these transformative shifts.

Reflecting on the rapid pace of technological advancement, Schwab highlighted the exponential speed of change and the convergence of various technologies shaping the future. He predicted that the world will see this new era in the next 10 to 15 years.

Schwab pointed out the need for ethical frameworks to guide the responsible deployment of technology, ensuring that its benefits are equitably shared and that societal values remain paramount.

Responding to a question from Al Gergawi, Schwab addressed concerns about the sustainability of current economic models and advocated for a shift towards policies that prioritise individual empowerment and long-term resilience.

He stressed the importance of inclusivity in future civilizations, emphasising affordability and functionality in the design of infrastructures to ensure that no one is left behind.

“We really have to make sure that we invest into the infrastructure and skills which we need to move on,” he said.