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Global Network of Centres to Lead Tech Policy for Fourth Industrial Revolution


The World Economic Forum has announced an international expansion of its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. New affiliate centres will open in India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, creating an international network dedicated to maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks of emerging technology.

In cooperation with host governments and key companies, affiliate centres will build on the work under way in San Francisco to close the gap between emerging technology and policy. The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution model is to bring together business leaders, governments, start-ups, civil society, academia and international organizations to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to governance for emerging technologies, including blockchain. Affiliate centres will follow this multi-stakeholder approach.

Murat Sonmez, Head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commented: “We want to ensure that a technologically enriched future is safe, ethical, inclusive and sustainable for all, not just a few. The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an accelerator for impact and having a global network of centres will enable us to move faster than ever.”

The World Economic Forum opened the first Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco in March 2017. Projects at the centre cover multiple areas of technological innovation, including autonomous mobility, artificial intelligence, blockchain, drones, precision medicine and Internet of Things. The expansion to new geographies reflects the need from businesses and governments to become more agile and their desire to help shape the development of emerging technologies.

Collaboration agreements with the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Denmark and the Inter-American Development Bank are in place. They join 38 business and the governments of Japan and Rwanda already engaged with the centre in San Francisco. Governments that join commit to piloting Fourth Industrial Revolution policy tools in their jurisdictions. Fellows, similar to diplomatic postings, are appointed by the government to work on specific teams.

Deutsche Bank, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) are the newest partners to join. Councils announced this week include the Global Artificial Intelligence Council, Global IoT Council and Global Blockchain Council.

Councils will identify governance gaps in key emerging technologies; share learnings among leading policy-makers, practitioners and experts about innovative governance experiments around the world; provide strategic guidance to the centre’s projects; and serve as early adopters and ambassadors to pilot, refine and scale the policies and protocols developed by the centre.

Matthew Warner
Based near Windsor, England, Matthew Warner is an enthusiast for innovative, cutting edge technologies. He is a B.Eng. graduate in engineering with honors from the University of Warwick and also holds an PGCE in education degree. Matthew is a member of Mensa.