Countdown to Davos, World Economic Forum

CMU returns to gathering of world thought-leaders

As a countdown clock on the World Economic Forum website ticks down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until its 2020 meeting in Davos, Switzerland, a number of Carnegie Mellon University representatives are gearing up for the four-day event.

This year’s theme, "Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World," recognizes that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social and technological challenges of a complex, interdependent world and encourages collective action across several priority areas.

CMU President Farnam Jahanian will again lead a university delegation to the forum, an annual gathering that brings political, industrial, artistic and educational leaders together to discuss ideas and policy while shaping global agendas. This year’s forum runs from January 21-24.

"The World Economic Forum represents a powerful opportunity for CMU to engage with partners around the world and help inform the policies and practices that will emerge from these dialogues," said Jahanian. "Our participation also allows us to showcase the ways that our ground-breaking research, innovation and creativity is leading to solutions for the world’s most pressing societal challenges."

At Davos, Jahanian will represent CMU during the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) annual meeting on January 21. Jahanian is currently serving as vice chair of the GULF community, which emphasizes the role of universities as stakeholders in shaping the global future. Carnegie Mellon is one of only 29 universities in the world, 12 in the U.S., that make up Global University Leaders Forum and has been a member since 2011.

Jahanian will also participate in several multilateral meetings, including facilitating a session on cybersecurity ecosystems called "Tackling the Cyber Capability Gap to Secure our Digital Future."

Content from this year’s forum falls under seven themes - two of which, the "the future of work" and "tech for good," are priority areas for CMU and particularly relevant for School of Computer Science (SCS) faculty member Henny Admoni’s work. Admoni was selected to represent Carnegie Mellon faculty by the World Economic Forum and will deliver a presentation entitled, "The Future of Human-Robot Interaction," in Davos. Admoni will also participate in the panel, "Caregiving in the New Economy," and in the session, "The Story Behind the Photo: Robot Caregivers."

Admoni directs the Human and Robot Partners Lab within SCS’s Robotics Institute. Her work strives to understand human behavior and improve robot collaboration and assistance.

"Every robotics challenge these days has a human-robot interaction component. When we look at autonomous vehicles or manufacturing robots, all of these systems using robotic technology are working in human environments," Admoni said. "I’m hoping to convey a message of equity and inclusion so that when we think about robotics problems, we think about all of the humans that a robot might be affecting."

For the sixth consecutive year, EarthTime , a mapping tool developed at the Robotics Institute’s CREATE Lab that uses data to visualize global trends over time, will return to Davos for multiple presentations on topics such as the risk of climate change to corporate assets, urbanization, humanitarian crises related to climate change, and mental health and its links to open, green spaces. The EarthTime team is composed of Illah Nourbakhsh , Anne Wright and Gabriel O’Donnell.

EarthTime is returning to the World Economic Forum for the sixth consecutive year.

New this year is the Situation Room, a smaller space for panel discussions. Here, EarthTime’s map visualizations will be combined with high-resolution photography from David Attenborough’s Our Planet series, focusing on the oceans, the Arctic and on agricultural products in the Amazon basin.

Follow @carnegiemellon on Twitter and @cmufarnam on Instagram for live updates throughout the World Economic Forum.

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