The world needs better leadership by both politicians and business leaders in order to combat worsening global inequality and fears of robotic incursion on the human workforce, the CEO of salesforce.com warned on Saturday.
“We are in a leadership crisis. We are not in a technology crisis; we are in a technology revolution. We are going to see technology shifts and changes on a scale that we have never seen on this planet,” Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of the cloud-computing company, said at a CNBC panel debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
His comments came after a high-profile report by Oxfam out on Tuesday said that the combined wealth of the richest 1 percent of people was set to overtake that of the other 99 percent next year.
“Extreme inequality isn’t just a moral wrong. We know that it hampers economic growth and it threatens the private sector’s bottom line,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said in the report.
Some say that the biggest technological innovations of the last 40 years, like the Internet, have largely benefited the wealthy. In a report on Monday, the World Economic Forum estimated that up to 5.1 million jobs could be lost over the next five years in 15 leading economies due to labor market disruption from the use of robots and artificial intelligence.
However, Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the U.S.’s MIT Sloan School of Management, said on Saturday that these technologies could complement existing workforces rather than replace them.
“The biggest misconception I have heard at Davos and recently is this idea that technology is going to come for all of our jobs and there is nothing we can do about. The reality is that it is a tool… One way you can use that technology is to automate jobs and eliminate existing tasks and technology in many cases is a good substitute for humans. But the bigger opportunity is using technology as a complement that is, to enhance human capabilities,” he said at CNBC’s panel discussion.
By Katy Barnato
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