Some of the planet’s most powerful people will take part in the infamously secretive Bilderberg meeting that begins Thursday to discuss their most pressing concerns, including Russia, free trade and the “post-truth” world.
Political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media will take part in the annual conference, taking place this year in Turin from Thursday to Sunday.
So far, 131 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance, Bilderberg’s organizers said. Some of the names on this year’s guestlist include the president of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende, the CEOs of Airbus, DeepMind and Total, as well as Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary. The meeting is chaired by French businessman Henri de Castries and he leads the organization’s “steering committee.” (http://bilderbergmeetings.org/participants.html)
The key topics for discussion at this year’s meeting were published by its organizers Wednesday, giving an insight into what are deemed the most pressing issues in global affairs:
- Populism in Europe
- The inequality challenge
- The future of work
- Artificial intelligence
- The U.S. before midterms
- Free trade
- U.S. world leadership
- Quantum computing
- Saudi Arabia and Iran
- The “post-truth” world
- Current events
Some issues like the rise of anti-establishment politics and populism in Europe, persistent inequality, the West’s trick relationship with a resurgent Russia and Saudi Arabia and Iran’s emnity have been around for a while. Others, like the rise of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, reflect uncertainty over mankind’s relationship with technology.
Politics and geopolitics dominate the list, however, with the themes of Russia, the Middle East, U.S. world leadership and the domestic political environment ahead of midterm elections in November. The arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House has thrown out the old way of doing politics and heralded a renegade style of politics.
Meanwhile, scandals involving allegations of the mass use of social media to influence elections also relates to a blurring of objective fact and fiction — hence the “post-truth” world the Bildergroup group will discuss. Post-truth, which was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in 2016, is an adjective defined by the dictionary compiler as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opnion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Discretion is the word
Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg meeting is an annual event designed “to foster dialogue between Europe and North America,” organizers say. The meeting is renowned for its secretive content.