Australia Markets closed

Why was will.i.am at the World Economic Forum?

Will.i.am was at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Image: Getty

Will.i.am is best known for his career with the Black Eyed Peas, his multiple-award winning music and, more recently, run-ins with Qantas flight attendants. 

However, the high-powered musician made headlines for an entirely different reason this week: his attendance at the World Economic Forum’s summit in Davos. 

Every year, the world’s business leaders, politicians and environmental advocates descend on the snowy city of Davos to discuss inequality, financial markets and the future. 

So why was will.i.am there? 

The Emmy- and Grammy-award winner was there to launch artificial intelligence platform I.AM+ with tech giant IBM. 

The tool allows businesses to develop human-like conversational interactions. 

Will.i.am described the tech as “ethical AI”. 

"Delivering AI solutions to industries like retail and entertainment, where personal data is everywhere, it was a top priority to find a cloud provider with deep roots in security, trust and transparency; we got that with IBM public cloud," said will.i.am. 

The tool will be used to meet companies’ desires for AI and cloud services that are both personalised and secure, and that can run across multiple public cloud, private cloud and company infrastructures. 

Montreal AI company Stradigi AI in May last year announced will.i.am would act as AI adviser for its bias and ethics division, where he would focus on building products that empowered users. 

The artist is also a member of two World Economic Forum working groups, the Global Artificial Intelligence Council and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Advisory Committee. 

Celebrities at Davos

The annual meeting is always sprinkled with stars, with Bollywood star Deepika Padukone this year receiving an award at Davos for spreading mental health awareness. 

Emma Watson has also spoken on financial gender equality at Davos, while Leonardo Dicaprio has also taken to the Swiss city to blast “corporate greed” and call for action on climate change. 

And musical icon Shakira called for the elite to support future leaders in Davos in 2017. 

"Today's babies will drive tomorrow's business. Their capacity to contribute will shape tomorrow's societies, will solve tomorrow's problems," the Colombian star, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador said in a speech.

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.

  • Aussie market sell-off set to extend
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Aussie market sell-off set to extend

    The Australian stock market's week-long sell-off looks set to extend on Monday on fears of a coronavirus pandemic triggering a global recession.

  • Virus causing global economic ripples
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Virus causing global economic ripples

    The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak is becoming evident, on the sharemarket, in workplaces and schools, and in cancelled public events.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    US stocks fall for seventh straight day

    US stock declined for a seventh straight session, with the three main indices recording their biggest weekly losses since the 2008 global financial crisis.

  • Virus may doom failing airlines: BA owner
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Virus may doom failing airlines: BA owner

    IAG, owner of British Airways and Iberia, says the effects of the coronavirus could force some troubled airlines out of business.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trading on Friday, February 28.

  • ASX 200 suffers second-worst week ever
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    ASX 200 suffers second-worst week ever

    Australians stocks have fallen by more than three per cent as ferocious selling dominated trading amid fears the coronavirus could spread out of control.

  • Fonterra faces China pain as virus spreads
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Fonterra faces China pain as virus spreads

    Dairy operator Fonterra says it could struggle to supply products to its lucrative China customers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Horizon Oil fires CEO amid bribery probe
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Horizon Oil fires CEO amid bribery probe

    Horizon Oil says it has terminated the employment of suspended CEO Michael Sheridan as a probe into an alleged $15 million payment in PNG continues.

  • Harvey Norman H1 profit hit by bushfires
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Harvey Norman H1 profit hit by bushfires

    Harvey Norman's overseas stores are propping up the business, with first half profit down 4.0 per cent amid tough trading conditions in Australia.

  • Aussies eating up RBD's Taco Bell plan
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Aussies eating up RBD's Taco Bell plan

    Restaurant Brands NZ says early sales at its Aussie Taco Bell stores have exceeded expectations as it plans to roll out another seven outlets locally in 2020.

  • Australian shares now in correction mode
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Australian shares now in correction mode

    The Australian share market has now dropped 10.6 pct from its high set last Thursday, a dramatic drop that has put it in correction territory.

  • Japara profit slides amid margin pressure
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Japara profit slides amid margin pressure

    Japara Healthcare's net profit after tax has dropped 28 per cent to $5.42 million in the half-year ended December 31.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Virus sinks Wall St, correction confirmed

    The S&P 500 has confirmed its fasted correction ever as Wall Street sunk again over worries the coronavirus outbreak will wreak havoc on the global economy.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    AAP Markets report for Friday, Feb 28

    Movements on overseas markets.

  • ASX plunges again, down 7% in five days
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    ASX plunges again, down 7% in five days

    The Australian share market has fallen for a fifth straight day as Donald Trump failed to reassure investors about the threat from the coronavirus.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Stocks to watch

    Stocks of interest at the close of trading on Thursday, February 27.

  • Afterpay, Zip users surge but loss widens
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Afterpay, Zip users surge but loss widens

    Buy now, pay later operators Afterpay and Zip have reported wider losses, but say hiring and marketing costs are helping make the product a success.

  • Flight Centre flags virus hit on FY profit
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Flight Centre flags virus hit on FY profit

    Flight Centre reported a statutory profit after tax of $22.1 million, down from $85 million the year before.

  • Rate cut pressure builds on capex slump
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Rate cut pressure builds on capex slump

    Business investment slumped by a worse-than-expected 2.8 per cent during the December quarter, increasing the likelihood of a rate cut in the coming months.

  • Debt forgiveness helps RFG to H1 profit
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Debt forgiveness helps RFG to H1 profit

    Retail Food Group has turned a first-half profit for the first time since 2017 as it continues its journey back from the doldrums.

  • A2 Milk profit up amid China formula boom
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    A2 Milk profit up amid China formula boom

    Surging infant formula sales in China have helped drive an increase in first half profit for NZ dairy firm a2 Milk.

  • Air NZ cuts capacity as coronavirus hits
    Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Air NZ cuts capacity as coronavirus hits

    Air New Zealand is slashing capacity in Asia as it works to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on its earnings.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Lynas gets licence for Malaysia plant

    Lynas has received a fresh three-year approval to operate a rare-earths plant in Malaysia, prompting a rally in its shares.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    Wall St fall slows as virus hit assessed

    Warnings over the coronavirus have helped prompt the S&P 500 to fall for a fifth straight as investors seek to gauge the economic fallout.

  • Finance
    Australian Associated Press

    AAP Markets report for Thursday, Feb 27

    Movements on overseas markets.