Digital Economics of Tomorrow
Currently, 22 percent of global GDP is closely linked to the digital economy.
Developing the digital economy has become a common goal of many countries to enhance global competitiveness, according to the World Internet development report 2017, issued at the 4th World Internet Conference (WIC).
A new technological and industrial revolution dominated by information technology is in full force, and the digital economy is becoming the new driving force of global economic growth.
From December 3 to 5, 2017, the 4th WIC was held in Wuzhen, a water town in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province.
During the event, heads of international organizations, leading internet entrepreneurs, experts and scholars focused their minds on the theme of “Developing Digital Economy for Openness and Shared Benefits—building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace” and shared ideas on the future development of the digital economy.
Building a Community of Shared Future in Cyberspace
The idea of “building a community of shared future in cyberspace” was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in December 2015, when he addressed the opening ceremony of the 2nd WIC.
It was stressed again by Xi in his congratulatory letter to the 4th WIC, with “four principles” and “five propositions” on internet governance.
Today, global internet governance reform has reached a key turning point. A new round of technological and industrial revolution led by information technology is booming, injecting strong impetus into social and economic development.
Meanwhile, the development of the internet has posed many new challenges for the sovereignty, security and developmental interests of many countries. Building a community of shared future in cyberspace has increasingly become the common goal of international society.
In his congratulatory letter, President Xi noted that China hopes to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and foster the spirit of partnership to jointly advance development, safeguard security, participate in governance and share benefits.
By doing so, the international community can better seize opportunities and minimize harm brought by the development of the internet, so that it can benefit people of all countries.
Cutting-edge Tech on Display
During a release ceremony for the world’s leading internet scientific and technological achievements on December 3, 18 cutting-edge products and technologies wowed spectators, such as the 3GPP 5G pre-commercial system from Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the Xiaoice, Microsoft’s emotion computing-based chatbot, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, Mobike’s dockless smart bike sharing
system and Apple’s AR Kit, over 60 percent of which were developed by Chinese teams.
It should be noted that most of the stateof-the-art products and technologies are based on the development of artificial intelligence (AI), which has undoubtedly become a driving force of internet development and is sure to remain so in the near future.
Thus, discussion of AI became a major highlight of the conference. For example, will AI take away jobs? Will it intensify imbalanced economic development in some countries? And how would AI help humankind?
Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group, posited that via AI development over the last three decades, humans have managed to replace a considerable volume of manual labor with machines, and predicted that in the next three decades, machines would become far more intelligent. But he hopes that eventually we make machines act more like machines and humans more human.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who also attended the conference, stressed that technology is the most powerful driving force of innovation, but it is the task of every human being to make it more humane. “We all have to work to infuse technology with humanity, with our values,” he said. Internet-driven Poverty Alleviation
Poverty reduction is a global concern. The rise of the internet has enhanced traditional poverty alleviation efforts with the power of modern science and technology, facilitating many new models.
At the “Sharing of Dividends: InternetDriven Poverty Alleviation” Forum, held on December 4 as part of the 4th WIC, representatives from international organizations and countries around the world exchanged ideas on poverty alleviation.
Many real stories about poverty alleviation were shared and new strategies proposed, including improving internet access for people in rural areas, establishing a national big data platform for poverty alleviation and developing rural e-commerce.
Presently, broadband coverage in China’s rural areas has expanded to 86 percent and the poverty rate shrunk to four percent. The remaining poor are gaining increasing access to the internet, through which they are lifting themselves out of poverty by selling agricultural products at higher prices and better educating their children.
By sharing Chinese experiences and solutions, China is contributing wisdom to the global cause of poverty reduction.
December 2, 2017: Visitors interact with a doctor through a smart home terminal at the Light of Internet Exposition in Wuzhen, eastern China's Zhejiang Province. The expo, featuring 411 renowned internet enterprises from home and abroad, witnessed the launch of 118 new products and 10 meetings on internet project cooperation.