World Economic Forum ditches Greta Thunberg for Sam Altman in push toward AI: sources

Goodbye, Greta – and hello, Sam.

Those flying into next week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland are quietly rejoicing that climate activist Greta Thunberg –  a notable fixture at the conference in recent years – isn’t expected to make an appearance this time around, sources told On The Money.

Instead, OpenAI boss Sam Altman will headline a panel discussion titled “Technology in a Turbulent World” on how artificial intelligence can be used as a driving force for the economy and society.

The AI-centered talk will be one of an estimated 80% of the formal and informal gatherings that will focus on the disruptive technology at the 54th annual WEF, entitled “Rebuilding Trust,” which runs from Jan. 15 to 19. 

That’s a radical shift from the twin left-leaning initiatives of DEI and ESG that have been at the forefront of the annual gathering in recent years.

In the past, the conference has unveiled ESG Metrics, released a manifesto that pushes stakeholder capitalism, and of course trotted out Thunberg as ofteh as possible.

“There’s a huge DEI and  ESG backlash,” one longtime attendee told On The Money. “And people want to make money so they are focused on where the puck is going… and that is AI.”

While this year’s agenda still includes chats about economics of gender parity and the impact of climate change on health, the vast majority of conversations are centered around foreign policy, privacy, security and technology. 

“AI seems to be the new DEI this year,” another expected attendee said. “I think this may be the first year I’m not beaten over the head with DEI.”

Of course, Davos has always been rich with irony given that so many of the CEOs and world leaders who are hand-wringing over global emissions arrive in private jets.

Likewise, ethically questionable attendees – like opioid sellers and cigarette company executives – show up to discuss how to make the world a better place.

The forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab, shrugs off the hypocrisy by saying, “If you were a priest in a church, you would want to make the sinners come visit you on a Sunday,”  Schwab said.

The AI panel with Altman also will include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Accenture’s Julie Sweet, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria, and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *