Big Data and Hyperconnectivity Trends by World Economic Forum


The World Economic Forum is the organisation committed to improve the state of the world. Through its Annual Meeting programme, it engages leaders in  collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas. Since, today we face the exceptional challenges in human history, we are confronted with profound transformational opportunities as well what in turn requires to masker strategic agility and to build risk resilience.

World Economic Forum

WEF published the Global Agenda Outlook 2013 which combines expertise of 1,500 world leaders from the Global Agenda Councils. The report is organised according to six themes: globalization, economics, geopolitics, science and technology, international development and leadership values. The contributors are Noble laureates, heads of international organizations, academics and civil society leaders.

The main goal of the Global Agenda Outlook 2013 are the predictions for 2013 highlighting the main issues and promises for the year ahead.

Below is the chart that indicates the most urgent issues to address in 2013.

Global Issues 2013, World Economic Forum

Global Issues 2013, World Economic Forum

As you can see the top issues cover the economic and financial instability. In comparison to Eurozone Fragility (11%), Fiscal Instability(10%) and Unstable Global Economy (14%) Hyperconnectivity (2%) and Internet Governance (1%) might seem not so important. However, these issues are growing at an unprecedented pace, represent the areas of interest that were not addressed so extensively and are still quite new are.  Moreover, not every state/multinational corporation realise yet their strong power and importance due to its transparency and influence towards societies.

“Not giving sufficient attention to the possibilities and potential risks of new technology is another emerging risk. if new technology is the best hope for sustained global economic growth, it also needs to be pursued and exploited with care both for people and the planet.”…

“Meanwhile, the benefits of an increasingly hyperconnected world for individuals and society are alternately doubted and championed, thereby underlining the complexity of an issue landscape that ranges from cybershocks to smart cities”.

The importance and inability to tackle the ‘world-wide-web” issue is reflected in comment by Ian Bremmer.

Ian Bremmer: “And we haven’t even talked about cyber. What’s the likelihood that a major cyberattack could really disrupt a small economy or medium-sized economy? I think we are all worried that that’s out there – and we don’t know how to assess it”.

The interesting aspect of the issue entails the following concerns that I mentioned earlier:

(1) we don’t realize fully the power of world-wide-web/social media influence

(2) we don’t realize fully the size of damage it can entail

(3) we don’t realize how interconnected are becoming every single industry/person to the ‘world-wide-web’ and social media today.

The rising importance of Big Data and interdependency between individuals and systems, as well as other issues and opportunities were discussed with Robert Madelin, Director-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission, Marc Davis, Partner Architect, Microsoft Online Services division and Rod Beckstrom, President, Rod Beckstrom Group, and CEO and President of ICANN (2009-2012).

The growing size of Big Data and intimate information about people are features that do not fit into the technical or technological issues any more. As underlined by M. Davis, ” it’s a question of the structure of the digital society and digital economy, what it means to be a person, who has what rights to see and use what information, and for what purposes might they use it”. The vision for tackling this newly-emerged issue is more about controlling the flow and exposure of information using positive approach reflecting that we are still in control, and good things are going on as a result of hyperconnectivity. (R. Madelin).

Data Commons Risks 2013, World Economic Forum

Data Commons Risks 2013, World Economic Forum

Big Data: Main concerns in 2013

Below are the main issues covered by discussion regarding the Hyperconnectivity. For more details, the Global Outlook Agenda 2013 provides more information.

Lost Cyber Resilience: or Big Data breach that might cause a lost of public trust in the ability of the data actors and public authorities to manage data in the future.

Lack of Leadership skills: Leaders today have been trained in a world that no longer exists, as human beings are very bad at understanding the phenomena that are transforming our world. (Marc Davis)

Privacy: question of how we reconcile the accumulation of knowledge with the preservation of our control of our personal profile. However, hyperconnectivity contains the solutions from within. The permission control to your personal location data is one of the examples. In the US, for ex. the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace has a concept of a trust framework where multi-level parties together establish codes of conduct and standards around how they are going to be using data.

Regulation: lack of the legal, technical, economic or regulatory structures to determine how various parties share and control the flow of data of joint rights and joint stakeholders.

Internet regulation vs. innovation 2013, World Economic Forum, Global Outlook Agenda 2013

Internet regulation vs. innovation 2013, World Economic Forum, Global Outlook Agenda 2013

Interconnectivity and value of the issue: Hyperconnectivity cannot be resolved separately in each world region. There are no Jurisdictional borders, there should be global jurisdictional coverage, for ex., like in Europe where framework has interoperable global jurisdiction coverage.

Trust: It is a cornerstone for an effective society and economy. However, it needs to be earned and that comes when there is transparency, individuals understand the operation and data actors become accountable.

In conjunction with the above discussion, there were insights on hypperconnectivity  revealed during the Summit on Global Agenda in November 2012, that reflect the the main concerns and future trends:

– Hyperconnectivity challenges incumbent power structures in unprecedented ways, exposing vulnerabilities of power

– Although the digital era has vastly increased the number of connections (human and virtual), this has not necessarily been couples with increased cohesion – divisions and fragmentations remain.

– Acknowledging that the world is now a socio-technical system requires integrating the digital code of technical systems into the legal code of social systems.