As Davos debated AI’s threat to jobs, where were the world leaders?

It’s a pity there were fewer influential world leaders than in previous years at Davos this week at the World Economic Forum, and not only because so many of the risks that are top of mind right now for delegates are political in nature.

The official theme of this year’s forum, “Globalization 4.0,” focused on the fourth industrial revolution and how the world will respond to mass job losses triggered by automation and artificial intelligence. Surely the private sector must share in the burden, but the shortage of participation by governments in the debate here felt inexcusable given the stakes.

Livelihoods are on the line, and the ripple effects on families and communities won’t be slowed by empty talk about the need to reskillthe labor force. The Davos set learned this the last time around, when an inadequate response to the labor-market effects of global trade paved the way for the populist wave that prompted much soul-searching among Davos regulars.

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