Authors: Sanjay Kumar Kar and Ms. Harsha*

C
oal has been an integral component of the global fuel mix for a long, long time now. To provide the reader with some numerical perspective, the world depends on coal for a total of around 30% of its energy needs. For India, this figure is around 55%, with sectors like power generation, steel, cement industry, paper and textile industries being the major consumers.

Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, Singapore, the Netherlands and the United States are leading the world when it comes to generating economic impact from investments in information and communications technologies (ICT), according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016.

Experts at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions tackled the issue of artificial intelligence and what it means for humans, concluding that they can and should coexist. The pertinent issue is how humans can leverage artificial intelligence to enhance the outcome of new technologies and improve quality of life, and not focus on the narrative of human vs machine. However, rapid technological advances underline the urgency for policy-makers to redesign educational systems so that younger generations are adequately prepared for a workplace that will see more automated processes.

Many of the world’s most innovative start-ups come from the US and blend innovations like 3D printing, the Internet of Things and drones to create new ones in health, agriculture, finance and other industries. That is the insight from the World Economic Forum’s 2016 class of Technology Pioneers, announced today in China.

Blockchain, an online data ledger, is set to make a big impact in financial services, and has applications in a range of other industries from e-commerce to insurance and voting. Unlocking blockchain will be a game-changer for the future of financial transactions.

A diverse range of breakthrough technologies, including batteries capable of providing power to whole villages, “socially aware” artificial intelligence and new generation solar panels, could soon be playing a role in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges.

Efforts to extend the reach of the internet to the 4 billion people worldwide that are not yet connected will only succeed if a digital ecosystem approach is adopted where access, affordability, skills and content are given equal attention, according to a new World Economic Forum-led initiative, Internet For All, whose key learning and best practices are published today.

Today, 54% of our global population lives in cities and by 2050 it is estimated to reach 66%, which is an increase of 2.5 billion in the urban population. While our cities face many challenges, such as climate change, social segregation, economic development and resource constraints, new business models and emerging technologies have disrupted the way urban services are being delivered and resulted in excess capacity within cities being efficiently utilized.

Ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing. Intelligent robots. Self-driving cars. Neuro-technological brain enhancements. Genetic editing. The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed.

According to the recent survey, which was conducted by Pew Research Center, significant information towards the clarification of the influence of social media in political information has been provided.

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