The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network is working with governments, technology experts, NGOs and leading companies around the world to enable emerging technologies to be used for the greater good.
The World Economic Forum was the first to draw the world’s attention to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the current period of unprecedented change driven by rapid technological advances. Policies, norms and regulations have not been able to keep up with the pace of innovation, creating a growing need to fill this gap.
The Forum established the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network in 2017 to ensure that new and emerging technologies will help— not harm—humanity in the future. Headquartered in San Francisco, the network launched centres in China, India and Japan in 2018. The network further expanded its international footprint in 2019 with the announcement of locally-run Affiliate Centres in Colombia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
The global network is working closely with partners from government, business, academia and civil society to co-design and pilot agile frameworks for governing new and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, blockchain, data policy, digital trade, drones, internet of things (IoT), precision medicine and environmental innovations.
AI discriminating against women and minorities. IoT-connected devices creating data privacy concerns. Self-driving cars causing fatalities.
We have all seen similar headlines before. The technological innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have proven a double-edged sword. They bring enormous benefits to our daily lives, but also pose significant risks that are not yet fully understood.
Governance protocols – policies, norms, standards and incentives that influence technological development and deployment – are crucial for maximizing the benefits and limiting the dangers of new and emerging technologies. However, as governments struggle to keep up with the proliferation of technological advances, policies for governing these technologies have often been inconsistent and poorly coordinated. Some areas are heavily regulated, stifling innovation and research, while others are hardly touched, often leading to economic losses or even human fatalities with little or no repercussions.
In addition, companies are struggling to put in place their own internal policies or create industry-wide standards to stem quickly eroding public trust in the technologies they design and deploy.
All of this has created a strong need to bring together policy-makers, industry leaders, civil society voices and technology experts so that they can collaborate on designing policies that strike the right balance.
We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.
In response to this need, the Forum launched the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network to co-design, test and disseminate flexible and pragmatic policy frameworks for governing new and emerging technologies. The centres throughout this global network provide a space where leading technology companies, start-ups, governments, international organizations, academia and civil society can work together to develop policy recommendations that minimize risk without stymieing innovation.
These practical policy frameworks can then be adopted by policy-makers, legislators, regulators and companies worldwide to maximize the benefits of emerging technologies.
The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network is pioneering creative governance approaches for the following nine areas of emerging technologies:
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Autonomous and Urban Mobility
- Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies
- Data Policy
- Digital Trade
- Drones and Tomorrow’s Airspace
- Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth
- Internet of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities
- Precision Medicine
We are looking for visionary leaders and innovators who want to join us in our mission to guide technological development in the interest of humanity.
We invite governments, companies and technology experts who want to learn more about our work to get in touch. Here's how:
Help us shape these Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies into a powerful force for good. Contact us with your interest in the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network.
Visit TopLink to see the latest news from the network.
We’re looking for experts at the intersection of technology and policy to help shape the future. See how we work and what opportunities are available.