For the first time, QatarDebate, in collaboration with The New York Times, will sponsor a debate on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where leading speakers will examine the pros and cons of big tech.
As global society becomes increasingly influenced by digital technology, debaters will go head-to-head at the event to discuss whether the world’s top tech firms can be trusted to self-regulate, and if governments need to set tougher guidelines and stronger principles for corporate practices.
The debate takes place tomorrow, and will be available to watch on the QatarDebate and NYTLive YouTube channels.
“Big tech firms are continuously evolving and shaping our lives,” said Dr Mahmoud Y Barraj, outreach programme specialist at QatarDebate.
“You only need to look at what Google is undertaking on an AI level, and what is being delivered across healthcare and life sciences, to witness the impact of technology on humanity. However, the lack of regulations has led the industry to become less known for its remarkable innovations.”
The main theme of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 50th Annual Meeting is, ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’. However, a key element of the forum is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, opening up discussions on technology and trade governance.
International speakers from a variety of industries will bring their perspectives and experiences to the debate, with three participants arguing for and three against the motion in front of a live audience and jury. The Oxford-style debate will also see jury members add their comments, critique arguments, and pose additional challenges to the debaters.
Debaters include Sharan Burrow, general secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; Tristan Harris, executive director, Centre for Humane Technology; Lisa Witter, co-founder and executive chairperson, Apolitical; Andrew McAfee, co-director and co-founder, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; Rebecca Masisak, chief executive officer, TechSoup; and Malcolm Frank, president, Digital Business, Cognizant.
The judges are Dr Barraj; Helen E Clark; former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Shamina Singh, president, MasterCard Centre for Inclusive Growth & Executive Vice President, Sustainability, MasterCard.