Experts See Dawn of Environmental Sustainability in Technology-Driven “Age of Optimization”

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Tan Sri Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid is Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Joint Chairman of MIGHT, and a member of the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board

The Hon. Deborah Wince-Smith is President of the GFCC and CEO of the US Council on Competitiveness

Charles O. Holliday, Jr. is Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell plc. and Chairman, Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils

The world is entering “a technology-driven Age of Optimization” bringing about more sustainable production, consumption and work at every scale, experts say

Innovative technologies hold the promise of a path to environmental sustainability. Their introduction is also expected to transform the world's workplaces, creating and eliminating countless jobs”

— Zakri Abdul Hamid

KUALA LUMPUR, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, November 29, 2017 — The world is entering “a technology-driven Age of Optimization” bringing about more sustainable production, consumption and work in many manifestations and at every scale.

That's the message from international experts meeting in Malaysia at the Global Innovation Summit 2017, the 8th in a series focussed this year on environmental sustainability. The event is organized by the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) and the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT).

Says the Hon. Deborah Wince-Smith, President of the GFCC and CEO of the US Council on Competitiveness: “The digital, biotechnological, nanotechnology, and cognitive revolutions are colliding and converging to re-write the rules of production, consumption and work in ways we could only imagine a decade ago.”

“These technologies could also answer the grand global challenges of adequate food, clean water, energy, the environment, and global health.”

Digitization, sensorization, and big data will help optimize all aspects of manufacturing production, Ms. Wince-Smith says.

“We will have the ability to illuminate the operation of every machine and device, the cut of every blade, every movement of material, and the consumption of energy minute by minute — providing insight for greater efficiency, waste reduction and lower energy consumption.”

Systems designed for optimal efficiency of buildings, meanwhile, make 60% to 80% energy savings possible without sacrificing comfort or cost effectiveness.

Other early examples of high-tech driven resource optimization include sensor-based, smart farming focussed to the square meter level, with irrigation water delivered precisely when and where needed while saving energy.

Information platforms like the new Turo, which enables individuals to rent out their idle private vehicles, are also part of a fast-moving trend towards social network sharing.

In the US, Ms. Wince-Smith notes, some 150,000 neighbourhoods now use social networks to rationalize the local labor market through referrals of local handymen and hairdressers, and by finding consumers for the unused work hours of nannies, gardeners, and house helpers.

“Neighbours moving in pass on moving boxes to neighbours moving out; new homes are found for furniture being discarded that would otherwise end up in the landfill; alerts tell neighbours when toys, bicycles, kitchenware or other items are sitting at the curb and up for grabs for free. Reuse is a main tenant of sustainability, and here is it being organized at a very local level.”

Encouraged by these development, she says, “the big question is how can we leverage new technologies across the spectrum of human activity for the most positive impact on society and sustainability?”

Fostering sustainability through innovation and competitiveness: 10 principles

The GFCC offered 10 guiding principles for nations, regions and cities looking to both succeed in ever more fierce global trading rivalries and achieve environmental sustainability.

The “10 principles of competitiveness for the sustainable future of production, consumption and work” (in full below) emphasize research and development; education and training for all; sustainable and responsible natural resource development; strong intellectual property rights; open trade; and a stable, transparent, efficient and fair environment for business investment, formation and growth.

Nations that lead the world in innovation will also lead in environmental sustainability and economically, the GFCC says.

“The world is going through rapid transformations driven by technological growth, climate change, urbanization, and changing demographics,” says Charles O. Holliday, Jr., Chairman, of Royal Dutch Shell plc. and Chairman of the GFCC.

The 2017 competitiveness principles offer “a conceptual framework to maximize the upside of such transformations, for instance, harnessing the potential of new technologies — artificial intelligence, sensors, robotics, and additive manufacturing — to drive sustainable production and prepare economies and societies to face some of the challenges ahead.”

“Malaysia is one of many emerging economy nations looking to fine tune the mix of policies and efforts that will equip our society to compete in the global marketplace and meet immense environmental challenges ahead,” says Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Joint Chairman of MIGHT.

“Innovative technologies hold the promise of a path to environmental sustainability. Their introduction is also expected to transform the world's workplaces, creating and eliminating countless jobs at a rapid pace, with the many social implications such disruption entails.”

“Major risks, opportunities and rewards, therefore, are abundant in the decisions made today. How to achieve an innovative, competitive and environmentally sustainable economy is fundamental to our national well-being, and the topics of this Global Innovation Summit could not be more important. Malaysians are proud to welcome the many distinguished delegates from around the world.”

“Our end game,” says Hon. Nancy Shukri, Minister in the Department of the Prime Minister, “is a knowledge-based society with a competitive edge. But we must always work towards those goals in ways that are sustainable, inclusive and equitable.”

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The Global Federation of Competitiveness Council
10 Principles of Competitiveness for the Sustainable Future of Production, Consumption and Work: http://bit.ly/2zHDxTg

News release in full: http://bit.ly/2i9U4b3

Terry Collins
MIGHT
1-416-878-8712
email us here

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