Davos, Switzerland

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One of my greatest joys as an educator is to hear how my students have gone out to create and build. At the Hub Culture Pavilion, our venue partner for Davos, I ran into former student Nathalie Kazzi, now working in the blockchain space. COVID removed a number of those accidental collisions so it was nice to have an unscripted encounter.

The first of our three Imperial College Business School sessions was on “Delivering AI Ethics”, presented in collaboration with SwissCognitive. We had a vibrant salon-style discussion and ended up reaching some common conclusions about the need for elements such as transparency, universality, ethical AI literacy, and inclusiveness. 

The day rolled on with several chance encounters, which is always the joy of this particular event. You never know who you’re going to run into while walking down the promenade. My impression this year is, particularly given the odd timing of a summer Davos, the traditional industrial crowd were many fewer in number. So the balance of the crowd weighed much more heavily towards Web3, tech startups, governmental delegations, and a sprinkling of the IBMs and Mastercards of the world (perhaps not accidentally, incumbents who are leaning more heavily into technology innovation).

I had a delightful chat with my annual discussion partner, Edie Lush; a light and spirited conversation spanning ethical AI, “ethics washing”, and identity security in Metaverse.

After having a Wienerschnitzel at the beer garden set up across the street from the Blockchain Hub, I migrated back to Imperial College Business School headquarters at Promenade 93 for our dinner event. Of course, the skies opened up just before we were supposed to start and everyone was delayed, but eventually we got underway with a raucous and spirited salon-style discussion about what digital assets are actually worth, and what kind of regulatory intervention should take place. Several notables made an appearance, including some high-level governmental and non-governmental types. 

Consensus appeared to be that better industry advocacy was needed along with greater Web3 literacy - within large financial institutions as well as the broader retail market. I ran into one of our participants the next day and she mentioned she had picked up the conversation started at dinner and was continuing to press ideas forward – exactly the kind of momentum we were looking for.

We tied off the evening with the migration of a Davos institution, the Chivas whisky bar, from its old home at the Aberdeen Standard site over to our base at the Hub Culture Pavilion

For me, that wrapped up most of my focus on the Web3 and AI. The rest of the week, I will be delving into the Metaverse.

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David Shrier

About David Shrier

Professor of Practice, AI & Innovation
David Shrier is a Professor of Practice, AI & Innovation at Imperial College Business School. His latest book, Augmenting Your Career: How to Win at Work in the Age of AI was recently published by Little Brown.

David is a member of Imperial's Centre for Digital Transformation, and leads both the Translational AI Lab (TRAIL), applying trusted AI solutions to problems of business, government, and society, and the Institutional Digital Assets Project, helping organisations understand and adopt digital assets such as crypto.
You can find the author's full profile, including publications, at Imperial Professional Web Page