Big History at the World Economic Forum, January 2015

Complexity, fragility and uncertainty are potentially ending an era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989. What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely "new global context" for decision-making.

Leaders are looking to strengthen their situation awareness and contextual intelligence. The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting convenes global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society in Davos for strategic dialogues which map the key transformations reshaping the world.

David Christian

Al Gore

 

Sessions

The following sessions draw upon Big History questions to explore key issues that are facing our society today. These sessions have been curated in collaboration with Professor David Christian of the Big History Institute.

Big Picture: Big History

Wednesday 21st January - Saturday 25 January

Embark on a visual exploration of history from the Big Bang to the modern day, and glimpse into our future, using interactive touchscreen technology.
 

Right: David Christian speaking to attendees. Photo credit: Andrew McKenna

WEF touch screens

Big History, Big Future: From the Origins of Life to Megacities

Wednesday 21st January, 14:45 - 17:45

What can leaders learn about cooperation from the origins of humankind to the formation of civilisation?

Big ideas:

  • Migration and collective learning
  • Cities and states
  • Power, conflict and governance

The Big History series brings together experts across disciplines to help leaders think big by thinking back and thinking beyond in the new global context.

Featuring:

Robert Thomas Knight, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Director, Knight Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, University of California, Berkley, USA

Carlo Ratti, Director, SENSEable City Laboratory, MIT - Departments of Urban Studies and Planning, USA; Global Agenda Council on the Future of Smart Cities

Wang Hui, Professor of Literature and History, School of Humanities, Tsinghua University, People's Republic of China

Moderated by Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik, School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Meta-Council on the New Architecture of Governance

Big History, Big Future: Innovation since the Modern Revolution

Thursday 22nd January, 16:45 - 17:45

What can leaders learn about innovation, from evolutionary biology to the scientific and industrial revolutions that shaped our modern world?

Big ideas:

  • Diversity, adaptation and evolution
  • Collective learning and collaboration
  • Tools, technology and invention

The Big History series brings together experts across disciplines to help leaders think big by thinking back and thinking beyond in the new global context.

 

Featuring:

Peter H. Diamandis, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Singularity University, USA

Nick Goldman, Research Group Leader and Senior Scientist, The Goldman Group, EMBL-EBI European Bioinformatics Institute, United Kingdom

Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, USA

Alex Pentland, Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA; Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development

Moderated by Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik, School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Meta-Council on the New Architecture of Governance

Big History, Big Future: Globalisation, Growth and Stability

Friday 23rd February, 16:45 - 17:45 

What can leaders learn about the foundations of globalisation from the origins of international trade to the advent of the Anthropocene era?

Big ideas:

  • Population, agriculture and energy
  • Trade, capitalism and globalisation
  • Anthropocene era

The Big History series brings together experts across disciplines to help leaders think big by thinking back and thinking beyond in the new global context.

Read more information here

Featuring:

Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, USA

Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden

Vaclav Smil, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba, Canada

Moderated by Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik, School of Government, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Meta-Council on the New Architecture of Governance

 

Stay tuned for more! Follow @BigHistoryInst for updates