The Global Future: WDF emphasises societal impact of technology


London, UK - 18 March 2005, 00:01 GMT - The preliminary session in London on Monday, 21st March, of the Wolfsberg Digital Future (WDF) forum organised by the mi2g Intelligence Unit, seeks to highlight the impact of modern technology on present and future society, government and the global economy in the context of new opportunities and emerging threats. The event is now fully subscribed.

Unique Perspectives

The WDF forum recognises that traditional divisions between robotics, nanotech, biotech, rapid manufacturing, Internet & ICT, adaptive home automation, lasers & optic technology as well as telecommunications are withering away as one field increasingly impacts the other. The WDF forum fulfils the need amongst Chief Executives and senior decision makers because a lot of quality events look at each of these specialist areas and none embrace the holistic impact completely. WDF participants from a select set of professional backgrounds - banking, insurance, government, defence, energy, health care, applied science and general management - can gain a unique perspective and insight into future challenges and key developments in all important technologies and their combined impact on society, government and the global economy. Not only that, WDF also debates what the latest developments mean for ethics, family-life and the evolution of leadership.

Chair and Panel

The round table will be chaired by Prof Prabhu Guptara, Executive Director, Wolfsberg, Switzerland and the Guest of Honour will be His Excellency Ferej Al-Owedi, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London. The exclusive event will be attended by senior decision makers from banking, insurance and reinsurance as well as the Houses of Parliament, government agencies and centres of excellence. The panel of speakers includes:

1. Dr Patrick Dixon, Futurist, Chairman, Global Change;
2. Prof William Dutton, Director, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford;
3. Prof Jim Norton, eBusiness and eGovernment Adviser - Institute of Directors (IoD), Board Member - Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST) and Council Member of the UK Parliamentary IT Committee (PITCOM); and
4. DK Matai, Executive Chairman, mi2g & Chairman, Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA).

His Excellency Ferej Al-Owedi - Guest of Honour

"Saudi Arabia is a conservative Islamic society. Mixing between different genders is controlled by strict laws and regulations. As a result, very hot debate has broken out due to the introduction of the Internet and Mobile phones,"
said His Excellency Ferej Al-Owedi, Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, London. "Many people consider these communication resources will break into the privacy of society and it will be a bridge between the Saudi Female and Male groups. The Internet and Mobile phones are important and a necessary part of the Saudi Society irrespective of their influence on the tradition and beliefs of the people."

Educational institutes and universities have carried out a lot of research to record scientifically the effect of the Internet on the Saudi Society. In a study conducted by Dr Neven Mustafa Hafez & Elham Ferej Al-Owedi (2004) at The College of Home Economics and Art Education, Jeddah, it was found that: the effect of the internet on the personal relationship between the husband and wife is so far low and only 0.7% of husbands and 7.3% of wives in Saudi Arabia thought that the influence of the Internet is high.

Saudi Arabia based ideological hackers are already one of the rising perpetrators of politically motivated global Internet hacker attacks since 2001. They are often observed to collaborate with hacking groups based in Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia on the one hand and the Russian Federation and Central Asian Republics on the other, according to data collected by the mi2g Intelligence Unit.

Prof Prabhu Guptara - Chairman

"We have greatly appreciated mi2g's valuable and wide-ranging co-operation and advice over the last two years, specially - though not only - in relation to the Wolfsberg Digital Future (WDF) forum which is fast becoming the global meeting point for senior decision makers,"
said Prof Prabhu Guptara, Executive Director, Organisation Development, Wolfsberg. "DK Matai's speech on digital security issues last year was outstanding, and we look forward to his update at the next WDF."

The main WDF event takes place annually at the Wolfsberg centre - with the Napoleonic Castle - in Switzerland and is dedicated to looking at the impact of digital technology and networks on society in the 21st century.

Dr Patrick Dixon - Speaker

Patrick Dixon comments, "New technology continues to develop faster than most corporate boards realise, and the next phase of the e-world will produce a new set of winners and losers. Wolfsberg's Think Tanks and other events are vital opportunities for senior business leaders to debate these issues, led by Professor Prabhu Guptara."

Dr Patrick Dixon has been described as a "Global Change Guru" by the Wall Street Journal. He has been ranked as one of the world's 50 most influential business thinkers alive today, and is widely sought after as a key-note speaker at international conferences.

Prof William Dutton - Speaker

Professor William Dutton noted that the WDF event, "provides an excellent opportunity to share hopes and concerns with key leaders from business, industry and government. My thanks to the organizers for making this possible."

Prof Jim Norton - Speaker

"We have seen exponential growth in performance per unit price of all the key ICT components - processing, storage and basic communications capacity for many years now. This is set to continue for many years to come. We have reached the point were it is no longer necessary to force people into the moulds required by technology. Rather technological capability is so potentially inexpensive that it can be tailored instead to accommodate the individual demands of all the key groups in society, whether visually, hearing or mobility impaired or indeed with multiple disabilities. That should be a key goal for the ICT industry in this opening decade of the 21st Century,"
said Prof Jim Norton. "I warmly welcome the work of the Wolfsberg Digital Forum in placing the rise in our technological capability firmly within the context of how society more generally can extract the maximum benefit.

DK Matai - Lead Organiser and Speaker

"The Wolfsberg Think Tanks and Distinguished Speaker events elegantly Chaired by Prof Guptara are well recognised by Executives concerned about emerging global trends, and the WDF is becoming a landmark event in this respect,"
said DK Matai, Executive Chairman, mi2g. "This well timed event will analyse the holistic impact that technology is having on the perception of risk and reward within the global society and economy. Other WDF events are also being planned in world class cities in conjunction with Wolfsberg."

DK Matai is Executive Chairman of mi2g which won the Queen's Award for enterprise in the category of innovation and DK also Chairs the Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance (ATCA) that brings together members from the House of Lords, House of Commons, European Parliament, US Congress, Senior Government officials from G10 nations and outside, and over 500 CEOs from banking, insurance, defence and computing.


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