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ADB Chairman calls for greater innovation and quicker policy making in facing the 4th Industrial Revolution

Philippine Secretary of Finance and Chairman of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors, Carlos Dominguez III highlighted the urgent demand for innovation from institutions to keep up with the blistering pace of today’s disruptive technological landscape.

Speaking at the Governors’ Seminar of the Asian Development Bank on “Technological Change, Globalisation and Jobs in Asia”, Dominguez reiterated the need for swift policy responses to help member-countries as they navigate the new challenges of a rapidly changing technology focused economy.

He predicted that the changing requirements for education and skills, creating vital infrastructure to support the rapidly reconfiguring economies, guaranteeing affordable access to goods, providing enough safety nets for people, and adopting ethical standards for Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the key challenges that member-countries will face in coming years.

He warned member-countries to be wary of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“It is driven at a breathtaking speed and rapid changes in technology. While we may not fully understand where all the disruptive technological changes will take us, we must innovate our institutions to improve our ability to deal with the transforming environment,” Dominguez explained during his opening remarks at the seminar.

“Today, technological obsolescence could happen in a matter of weeks or months,” Dominguez said.

While such flux in global markets might make institutions tentative and social orders very fluid, these changes also offer a plethora of opportunities.

“Technological innovation sweeps the entire horizon from manufacturing to biotechnology to information sharing. Ten years ago, we could not have imagined the advances in genomics, personalised medicine and 3D printing that we see all around us now,” he said.

With such radical technological developments, machine intelligence becomes more powerful by the day, Dominguez is already looking ahead to the next big opportunity for member-countries — big data.

Dominguez said underpinning the 4th Industrial Revolution powered by digital technology is “the explosion of data, the rise of data analytics and breathtaking advances in cloud computing,” which can harness unlimited computing power.

Skills development, tax and subsidy programs that influence firms’ investment and employment decisions, and the design of social protection systems are among the relevant concerns to be discussed during the 51st Annual Meeting of the ADB Board of Governors in Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

Dominguez aims to build on the discussions at the recent Technology for Inclusion Conference where he championed a rethink of development banking strategies.

Anchored on the theme “Linking People and Economies for Inclusive Development,” among the issues discussed during the 51st  meeting are globalisation, technology and its impact on jobs and corresponding opportunities, private sector mobilisation in funding infrastructure, building climate change resilience, expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and using technology to maximise the skills of aging populations to make development inclusive.

The delegates to the ADB’s 51st Annual Meeting, which number over 4,000, ​include finance ministers and central bank governors of ADB member countries, bankers, representatives from the private sector, civil society, academe, multilateral institutions and the media.

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