Davos 2023: The MIT Media Lab's contributions to shaping a more inclusive and sustainable future


World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

Dava Newman and Minoo Rathnasabapathy

The World Economic Forum recently concluded the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, centered around the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World” with a prominent focus on global health, work of the future, digitization, and deepening climate crisis calls for urgent action on climate adaption and climate mitigation. Committed to fostering multi-stakeholder cooperation, the Davos meeting brought together top decision makers from government, business, academia, and civil society to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions in an increasingly interconnected, but equally divergent world. 

The topic of “resilience” featured extensively during the week, with leaders stressing the need to adapt and recover from global disruptions. The need for building new capacities to deal with unexpected challenges was emphasized, with a particular focus on sustained collective action by the public and private sectors. The importance of developing a comprehensive strategy that involves both short-term and long-term measures was identified as crucial. Included in the topic of resilience were discussions on the need to unlock equitable healthcare for all and the steps needed to place global health at the heart of climate action for the protection of all individuals globally. Aligned with the Media Lab’s mission, it was emphasized that resilience is not just about dealing with crises, but also about creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all. Representatives from the Media Lab participated in discussions on the Earth Data Revolution, Space Economy, Future of Exploration, Digital Currencies, and Digital Cities.

Sustainability, climate action, and transitioning to net-zero were among the main topics of conversation, with delegates coming together to launch initiatives, build new partnerships, and explore approaches to climate action, mitigation, and decarbonization. This year, the agenda included a particular acknowledgment about the complexity of these challenges and the need for a holistic approach to address them, particularly in terms of inclusive and equitable provision of essential resources such as food and energy.

The voice of research and academia was integrated into many of the Davos sessions, offering a crucial perspective on strategic opportunities for technology, transdisciplinary approaches, and decision-making as tools to accelerate progress and support the transition to a cleaner, safer, and more inclusive world.  

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