China welcomes scientific collaboration with Arabs

Wang Zhigang, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, at the seventh edition of the World Government Summit (WGS 2019) in Dubai

DUBAI – “China’s economy is now transitioning from high-speed growth to high-quality growth,” said Wang Zhigang, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology.

During a session titled ‘The Rise of the Dragon: China’s Success in Leading the World of Technology’ at the seventh edition of the World Government Summit (WGS 2019) in Dubai, he recounted China’s success story and revealed what lies in store for the future of science and technology in the world’s second-largest economy.

Wang Zhigang spoke about the role the digital economy will play in China’s next chapter of high-quality growth, touching upon the theme of technology convergence. Citing examples of China’s success, he reiterated the need for heightened responsibility and self-regulation by technology companies, as governments provide an enabling ecosystem that promotes digital innovation. He also emphasized the importance of updating educational programs to reflect a more modern, innovation-led approach.

“China has maintained its investment into the research and development (R&D) of new technology, which accounts for 20 percent of global R&D expenditure,” added Wang Zhigang as he spoke about his country’s commitment to leading technology innovation worldwide. Furthermore, he highlighted the potential of digital innovation to transform manufacturing through harnessing new technologies, such as automation, robotics and 3D printing. He also explored the topic of inclusivity through innovations in the Internet of Things (IoT).

He invited Arab countries to forge scientific collaborations under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China has assumed a powerful role on the world stage, influencing global policy decisions and harnessing technology to achieve economic success. The nation played a significant role in realizing the UN millennium development goals (MDGs) of reducing extreme poverty rates by half. As it witnesses a slowdown in economic activity, especially in the manufacturing sector, China is poised to launch the next wave of growth.

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 runs until today (Feb. 12) at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event has convened more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organizations.

Meanwhile, the immunization and control of ‘super-spreaders’ within global networks were highlighted on Monday at the WGS 2019 as an effective way for governments to combat threats such as extremism.

At the plenary session ‘How Governments Can Harness the Science of Synchronized Randomness’, Steven Strogatz, Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, outlined how threats can spread through human communication within individual personal networks. He suggested that identifying the highest-connected ‘super-spreaders’ – who infect more widely than a typical infection - could help governments prevent the spread of threats.

Professor Strogatz said: “Human nature tends to institute order – societies are built on the premise that people working together work better in harmony. Governments can benefit from the strength of unified movements towards the overall betterment of society. However, the ‘vaccination’ of the friends of random people within networks could be applied effectively as a way of controlling the spread of negative threats or issues.”

The session aimed to break down the ‘why’ behind synchronized behavior and explore how governments and society can benefit from the randomness in people’s actions. This included the ability to control the exact ‘phase transition’ period of group behavior, which can act as a catalyst to drastically change the actions of a large group of people.

Professor Strogatz also examined the issue of segregation within society. Referring to Thomas Schelling’s model of racial segregation, he noted that many people are perfectly content with living in a mixed neighborhood.

However, he pointed out that the tipping point comes if a group of people perceive themselves as a minority, which can then lead to damaging segregation issues and he concluded that although people like some diversity, they do not want to be in the minority. — SG