Live updates

New report outlines tech governance for smart cities

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Deloitte, today releases the report Governing Smart Cities: Policy Benchmarks for Ethical and Responsible Smart City Development.

As cities increasingly turn to technology to solve problems, there are still outstanding questions around ethics, security, equity, privacy and financial sustainability. This analysis shines a light on the regulatory gaps that exist in cities around the world and proposes solutions to closing governance gaps so that cities can apply technology to addressing urban challenges.

Five model policies from the roadmap
Five model policies from the roadmap
Image: World Economic Forum

“Cities have an array of opportunities to become more resilient and sustainable," said Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart Cities Leader, Deloitte Global. "Technology is an enabler but, to fulfill its full potential, cities need to revise their governance, operational, and financing models. Here lies the biggest challenge cities face."

He added: “Now is the moment for a great urban transformation. Addressing urban challenges through the lenses of sustainability, inclusion, and technology is critical to develop and implement a roadmap to guide cities with their governance of smart technology and make an impact that matters.”

Read the report here

Cyber Polygon: strengthening the global cyber resilience

The internet has given criminals infinite scale for near zero cost. Hospitals and oil pipelines have been shut by cyber attacks in the past months, and just last week an attack on a Florida IT provider led to supermarkets being shut across Sweden.

To raise the global cyber resilience and expand cross-industries cooperation against cyberthreats, Sberbank has organized Cyber Polygon, an international capacity building initiative with over 200 companies from 48 countries.

Cyber Polygon combines a technical training for corporate teams and an online conference featuring senior officials from international organizations and corporations analyzing the key risks of digitalization and sharing best practices for secure ecosystem development.

The training enables organisations to assess their cyber resilience, exchange best practices and bring tangible results to the global community.

Read more and follow Cyber Polygon here, starting at 11 a.m. CEST.

Honda: Shoe-based navigation system for visually impaired

Honda has announced a new startup called Ashirase, which has launched its first technologically advanced product. The company is developing an in-shoe navigation system to support the visually impaired individuals with walking. Honda aims to begin sales by March 2023.

Honda's Ashirase Navigation For Visually Impaired

The Ashirase uses a smartphone app and a 3D vibration device with a motion sensor that's attached inside the show. With the use of vibrations, the Ashirase will tell the user when to go straight, turn right, turn left, and stop. Honda said that the product should enable an intuitive understanding of the route so users don't have to constantly mindful of directions for a safer and more relaxed walk.

Google (Alphabet) owned lab, DeepMind, to tackle deadly parasitic disease

DeepMind, the Alphabet-owned lab will work with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDI) to treat Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis.

Scientists traditionally spend years in laboratories mapping protein structures.

But last year, DeepMind's AlphaFold program was able to achieve the same accuracy in a matter of days.

AI can be a gamechanger - especially for some neglected diseases where the pathogens are unknown - by "predicting protein structures for previously unsolvable protein structures".


The BBC reports, "Last year, the AI program was used to map some Sars-Cov-2 virus proteins. And virologists used this information to better understand how the virus behaved.

"DeepMind will also be publishing a peer-reviewed paper detailing the workings of its system, providing free access to AlphaFold for the scientific community. And it plans to collaborate on tackling other diseases in future."

Dell: Smart cities will build on digitization momentum

Dell explains how Europe can build back better by laying the foundations for the digital cities of tomorrow.

"With the EU expected to approve national recovery plans in the coming weeks, it’s crucial that funding goes into building a modern and future ready “urban digital core “for the cities of the future”. For us, Digital Cities are more than just a concept – they’re a movement for the betterment of our societies, communities, and businesses."

Read more here.

Nokia: Could digital ID create greater global equality?

Read the latest insights from Nokia.

Anyone who has been asked to show their identity document (ID) for proof of age before buying a bottle of wine, cigarettes or fireworks knows how inconvenient it can be if you don’t have the right document with you. However, a trip home to fetch your ID can usually remedy the situation.

Resorting to fake IDs is unlikely to work because of the rise of digital IDs that are chipped and connected and far less easy to copy. Although putting petty criminals out of business is one happy effect of these advances, there are much bigger benefits—advantages that can help reshape the world. While not having an ID when making a purchase is a minor inconvenience, the solution—a digital ID—could prove to be a game-changer for the developing world...

Read more here.

Huawei's cybersecurity offensive

Huawei has launched a "best practices" paper for managing cybersecurity - the Huawei Product Security Baseline.

It has also opened its largest Global Cyber Security and Privacy Protection Transparency Center in Dongguan, China.

The company calls on "All stakeholders in the digital space — including governments and regulators, industry and standards organizations, communication service and technology providers, and digital service providers — share a joint responsibility to address cyberspace challenges and improve the level of cybersecurity."

Click here to download the Huawei Product Security Baseline.

Ken Hu, Huawei's Rotating Chairman, speaks at the opening of Huawei's Global Cyber Security and Privacy Protection Transparency Center in Dongguan, China

Google in landmark anti-trust deal

Google is making changes to its advertising business after a landmark anti-trust ruling in France.

Reuters reports, "The deal with the French competition watchdog could help rebalance the power over advertising in favour of publishers, which held sway over the business in the pre-internet era but lost control with the rapid rise of Google and Facebook."

The settlement, is the first time Google will make changes to its ads business, which brings in the bulk of its revenue, and represents a milestone for privacy laws governing data.

Image: Reuters

Read Google's blog, "Some changes to our ad policy".

Huawei: "Trust matters"

Huawei's Catherine Chen says the interplay between societal norms and technology will be "one of the key drivers of economic growth over the next decade".

Read more here.

Just as global supply chains have lifted millions out of poverty, data-driven value chains in the digital economy will make a vast contribution to global prosperity. These regulations and data standards will not only ensure that the post-pandemic economy continues to recover in a way that allows society to build a resilient and prosperous economy, but they will also allow the benefits of this prosperity to be distributed as widely as possible.

—Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and Director of the Board, Huawei

6 cyber-risk principles for directors - new Forum-PwC publication

As a result of a rapidly changing cyber-threat landscape, it has become clear that boards, especially, need stronger foundations to govern cyber risks effectively. The Forum, in collaboration with its partners, has developed six principles for directors in governing cyber risk.

Image: World Economic Forum-PwC

Understanding the economic drivers and impact of cyber risk

A case study from VisibleRisk, a Team8 company working with Arvest Bank, illustrates the application of the principle that board directors must understand the economic drivers and impact of cyber risk. This means that enterprise decision-making requires analysis of the economics of cyber risk – through scenario planning and quantitative measurement of cyber risk against strategic objectives.

"Cybersecurity is recognized as a critical risk factor enterprises wrestle with in the digital economy. In confronting cyber risk, controls-based risk assessments have to this point enabled companies to identify critical programme and technology deficiencies and plan improvements. … An evolved cyber risk assessment enables organizations to align its cyber strategy to its business objectives. This alignment requires business leaders to understand the financial impact cyber risk poses to their operations. … Cyber risk quantification (CRQ), enables improved decision-making by informing executives whether their businesses should accept risk, implement defenses, or leverage insurance."

Board directors encourage systemic resilience and collaboration

A case study from SWIFT, a partner organization involved in the Forum’s Cyber Risk and Corporate Governance Initiative, illustrates the application of the principle that board directors encourage systemic resilience and collaboration.

It is no longer sufficient just to ensure the cybersecurity of your own enterprise; rather, cyber resilience demands that organizations work in concert. Board directors must understand that only collective action and partnership can meet the systemic cyber-risk challenge effectively.

“While all SWIFT customers are individually responsible for the security of their own environments, a concerted industry-wide effort was required to strengthen the cyber-resilience of the banking ecosystem as a whole. The Customer Security Programme, or CSP, was launched in response to these sophisticated and well-resourced cyberattacks. CSP is a comprehensive, multi-year, multi-facetted initiative with many stakeholders. … Built on overarching principles, CSP works in partnership with the community and is designed to reinforce the cyber resilience of the global banking system. Given its breadth and depth and importance in the market, the CSP programme is subject to strong governance.”

Huawei calls for a joint public-private push on restoring trust in tech

Catherine Chen, Corporate Senior Vice President and BOD Member at Huawei, addressed a student-led initiative today at The St Gallen Symposium. She said,

"As more devices feature connectivity, more services go online, and more critical infrastructures rely on real-time data exchanges, so must governments worldwide ensure that everyone is protected by the highest security standards. Only a common set of rules can guarantee a level of security that creates trust in technology."

Siemens: Tech needs the human element to reach potential

"The failure rates of digital transformations remain high because the human factor is often underestimated.

Digital transformation is not just about technology: It is also, above all, about people. This makes it complex - and therefore requires new approaches to managing change, dealing with fears and new demands on employees, building new leadership styles, fostering trust, empowerment and growth mindset, and successfully unlocking the full potential of IoT!"

Tune in to Siemens' podcast on how to unlock the potential of IoT.

Facebook: Companies need better systems to counter harmful content

The latest figures show there are 4.6 billion people worldwide using the internet - 316 million of them joining in the last 12 months alone.

Countering harmful content online has been a focus of The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (including Partners Facebook, Google, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Omnicom and more) which has partnered with the Forum to improve the safety of digital environments, addressing harmful and misleading media while protecting consumers and brands.

It was also the centre of a panel at GTGS today - Countering Harmful Content.

Simon Milner, Vice-President, Public Policy, Asia-Pacific, Facebook Inc. said companies need to have measurement and be transparent, but they also wanted to see regulation that holds business to account - what he called a systems-based approach.

Watch the entire session featuring Mina Al-Oraibi, Editor-in-Chief, The National; Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner, Office of the eSafety Commissioner; Simon Milner, Vice-President, Public Policy, Asia-Pacific, Facebook Inc.; Lene Wendland, Chief, Business and Human Rights Unit, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Cathy Li, Head of Media, Entertainment and Sport Industries, World Economic Forum.

Read more about the impact of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media and the Forum's partnership.

Mitsubishi: Use less, "longer and smarter"

In today's Driving Circular Growth with Data session at GTGS, Shunichi Miyanaga, Chairman of the Board, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, discussed the importance of the sustainability of the circular economy - to use less - "longer, and smarter".

He noted that the company has been working on products that make use of waste material and 3D printing, and has been developing a number of projects that make use of clean hydrogen power, while working with technology to use ammonium as fuel instead of coal.

Kajiyama Hiroshi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, also spoke about the necessity of laying a foundation for a carbon-neutral future, adding that Japan boasts a number of promising decarbonization technologies.

He said he's met with a number of business leaders about the issue, adding, "the whole world needs to work together" to embed more circular practices into peoples' everyday lives.

Data-driven economies: Unlocking the power of data

The amount of data the world accumulates is growing exponentially every year. Organizations and governments are investing in new technology to enable data economies to leverage this commodity for better outcomes.

Based on the Data for Common Purpose Initiative (DCPI), the Forum, in collaboration with PwC, Visa and the Imperial College London, published the Data-driven Economies: Foundations for Our Common Future at GTGS. The paper recommends creating new governance models that combine data from various origins, including personal, commercial and/or government sources.

It introduces five requirements that systems and governance should meet and highlights use cases from industries and jurisdictions worldwide to illustrate the possibilities data sharing could unlock for the public good.

How economies can scale up efficient data-sharing was discussed during the GTGS session Making Data Work for All, featuring Victor Manuel Muñoz Rodriguez. Director General of the Presidency of Colombia; Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM; Robert B. Hedges, Senior Vice-President, Global Strategic Initiatives, Visa, and Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of Helsinki.

The next frontier: How space will change our daily lives

Space is a critical element of our modern life and will become increasingly relevant in upcoming years with capabilities that only dedicated space technologies can deliver - from AI to robotics, advanced manufacturing and materials.

The most exciting space technologies and solutions for space sustainability were discussed at the GTGS21 session The Next Frontier: Space Technologies, featuring Airbus, Planet Labs, the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates, X Prize Foundation and Virgin Galactic.

Sarah bint Yousif Al-Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, United Arab Emirates, highlighted the inspirational impact of space exploration and how it is transforming entire societies; Planet Labs' Co-Founder and CEO William Marshall said that satellite technology could help with at least 13 UN Sustainable Development Goals; X Price Foundation CEO Anousheh Ansari underlined how the incredible amount of new data from space will allow us to better understand weather systems and changes in civilizations, and Telecom Airbus Senior Vice-President Francois Gaullier explained how the pandemic showed it is an absolute necessity to have people connected everywhere - with space enabling new solutions to allow this transition.

Siemens: "A revolution from two sides"

Siemens’ Jim Hagemann Snabe joined the Technology Governance Outlook session at GTGS this week and offered valuable insights into the relationship we will have with technology as we move forward.

He touched on the issue of jobs and reskilling, causes for optimism as tech looks set to solve the world’s biggest problems and the importance of bringing a moral compass into the tech world that would stand up just as well in the “normal world”.

How to handle the transition

“We don’t need to protect jobs, we need to protect people. We need to reskill people.”

He spoke about the “active role” that companies should take, and cited an initiative at Siemens to reskill employees prior to restructuring - so that even when people leave the company, they are better equipped to find work outside. He says this is “good for people and it’s good business” and “the restructuring costs – spending money to give people skills for the future – seems like a much better way to handle the transition.”

A revolution from two sides

He suggested a top down and bottom up approach to tech governance. He said there are three questions to ask and answer from a governance point of view:

1. How do we use data without losing privacy?

2. How do we use platforms without creating monopolies?

3. And how do we use AI without losing control and our democracies?

And then he explained, “I think we need some regulation there, but not too much. We need a bottom up revolution which is about inspiring people who actually use technology to be responsible and do what you would do in normal life. In normal life, you don’t steal. If you send a letter by post you don’t expect the mailman to open the letter… There is a fundamental moral human compass that needs to be taken into the digital world.”

He says ideally you get more data, more AI - but used in a responsible way. With developers and leaders who ask the right questions.

Watch the full session here.

Healthy ageing will extend quality of life and generate billions for the economy

With people living longer than ever before, new ideas are needed to reshape the experience and potential of a longer life. What innovative solutions are available to maximize citizens' financial and personal health?

How the world will support healthy ageing was the topic of the GTGS session The Next Frontier: Healthy Ageing, featuring the Yicai Research Institute, Sompo Holdings, the Cabinet Office of Japan, Johnson & Johnson, Deloitte and AARP.

Kengo Sakurada from Sompo Holdings said an ageing society was the future of the world that could not only improve quality of life but boost the economy by billions. Johnson & Johnson's Sophie Guerin said sustainable economic growth will rest on inclusive companies, and Deloitte's Stephanie Allen said technology to help healthy ageing needs to be used in a socially responsible way - protecting data, and providing clinicians and citizens with confidence to access technology for health.

Business and Government: Transforming Technology Leadership

There is no better time than now to address agile governance - President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende said during the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world leaped ahead five years in terms of digital uptake.

Experts from Apolitical, the Cabinet Office of Japan, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the United Kingdom - discussed how business, working with governments, must lead powerfully in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure future success.

Watch the entire GTGS session, Transformation in Action: Technology Leadership.

Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki on the future of technology

To kick off our Global Technology Governance Summit, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and YouTube’s Susan Wojcicki shared important messages on the future of technology.

Marc Benioff is optimistic that technology can be used to improve the state of the world. He sees climate change as a critical underpinning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a means to harness data and use technology in ways that can make the world more sustainable. He welcomes the idea that CEOs are committing to transparent reporting and sharing of data when it comes to achieving milestones towards the SDGs, for example.

Susan Wojcicki called for more consistency and collaboration in governance, highlighting the potential of technology to transform education and learning, job creation and enable significant medical advances.

She highlighted the challenges around speech and what should or should not be allowed on platforms, especially regarding rules in different jurisdictions.

How do we handle this tough topic – but do so globally and do it in a consistent way?

—Susan Wojcicki, Chief Executive Officer, YouTube

Read more about what heads of state and business leaders have been discussing at the Forum's Global Technology Governance Summit HERE.

AIG: How 5G will change industries and cyber risks

5G could significantly reshape every aspect of how we live our lives and virtually every industry - from agriculture and manufacturing to healthcare and mobility.

As with all technological advancements, the benefits are balanced by the risks. There will be more and more connected devices creating new security challenges.

AIG identifies the benefits and risks of 5G technology in its latest report How 5G will change industries and cyber risks. The report defines the role of Risk Managers in the transition to 5G and how data and analysis will allow executives to shape new business strategies and prepare for potential unforeseen, unintended or accidental consequences.

Apollo Hospitals: Accessing healthcare from home

At today's Closing the Digital Divide session at GTGS, Apollo Hospitals emphasized the point that healthcare is not about getting people to hospital - but about using digital technology to enable people to get well from the comfort of their homes.

Platforms like integrated pharmacies will become more and more relevant in the coming months and years ahead, ensuring universal healthcare in the digital age.

While digital technologies have enabled hundreds of millions to participate online during the pandemic, the 3.7 billion people without internet connectivity have fallen further behind. Watch the full GTGS session to see more of the most urgent and promising innovations in bridging the digital divide globally.

AI, mental health and drones: Deloitte and World Economic Forum navigating the future

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Deloitte, has launched a set of reports at GTGS that focus on how technology will drastically revolutionize the future of medicine, information, economics, mental health and education.

Technology Futures: Projecting the Possible, Navigating What's Next

Combining insights from the history of computing, the practical lens of futurism and the imaginative signposts offered by four fictional stories of life in 2030-something, this report aims to equip leaders with the tools they need to more accurately imagine the future and plan accordingly

Medicine from the Sky Opportunities and Lessons from Drones in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-term health inequities to global attention and inspired consideration of how to deliver high-quality healthcare to all, even in inaccessible locations. With the innovative use of delivery drones emerging as a potential solution, this report focuses on drone use in Rwanda and Ghana, and how this programme can be broadened to bring additional benefits.

Global Governance Toolkit for Digital Mental Health

This toolkit provides governments, regulators and companies with the instruments to protect personal data, ensure high quality of service and address safety concerns with the rise in digital and behavioural mental healthcare.

Adecco: The importance of data literacy in the world of work

"With 99% of businesses reporting active investment in big data and AI, it’s clear that all businesses are beginning to recognize the power of data to transform our world of work. While all leaders recognize the needs and benefits of becoming data-driven, only 24% have successfully created a data-driven organization. That is because transformation is not considered holistically and instead leaders focus on business, tools and technology and talent in silos. Usually leaving skill acquisition amongst leaders and the broader organization for last. It’s no wonder that 67% of leaders say they are not comfortable accessing or using data."

Adecco says, it's time to train them. Read more here.

Accenture on cloud optimization

Accenture launces a new report on how to optimize cloud for business, encouraging companies to ask themselves five questions:

1. How should the operating model change?

2. What new skills do I need?

3. How should I use automation?

4. How can I enforce governance through code?

5. Who’s responsible for security?

Read more about a new IT paradigm in Accenture’s Ascend with Cloud.

Nokia: Big small tech

Nokia’s Pekka Lundmark talks about the power of “Big tech, with a local impact”, highlighting a stream of new deals with “our traditional customer base of telcos, others with webscales, government agencies, commercial ports, transport hubs and other partners.”

2020-06-29Pekka LundmarkPhoto: Jaakko Jaskari
Pekka Lundmark, CEO Nokia

Referring to a recent paper by Nokia Bell Labs, ‘Industrial IoT networks: how 5G is transforming industry verticals’, he also outlines the positive implications for industry in terms of productivity, sustainability and worker safety with the transition to 5G.

Lundmark says, “the result is we are looking at an economic gain of up to seven percent of global GDP, or $8 trillion, by 2030.”

“This technology is a game-changer. It allows us to look to the future with optimism, in the knowledge that connectivity will make people safer, communities more prosperous and businesses more innovative.”

—Pekka Lundmark, CEO Nokia

Read more here.

Will there be a 'Data and Technology Forum'?

25 businesses, including Forum partners, Mastercard, IBM, Visa and Toyota have called on the G7 to create a new body to help co-ordinate how member states tackle issues ranging from artificial intelligence to cyber security.

As we head towards the Global Technology Governance Summit, there is a groundswell of intention to get tech right by putting the common principles and ethical frameworks in place.

See more here.

Facebook: Taking the bias out of algorithms

Facebook has been trialling the use of Instagram photos (with no tagging) to train an algorithm to learn to recognize the image by itself. The idea is to remove potential for human bias in the tagging of images.

Results show that the algorithm is able to correctly identify images with 84.5% accuracy.

"This approach is known as self-supervised learning," says Facebook AI’s Chief Scientist Yann LeCun, "it’s one of the most promising ways to build machines that have the background knowledge, or 'common sense', to tackle tasks that are far beyond today’s AI. We’ve already seen major advances in natural language processing (NLP) as a result, where self-supervised pretraining of very large models on enormous amounts of text has led to breakthroughs in question answering, machine translation, natural language inference, and more."

We’ve developed SEER (SElf-supERvised), a new billion-parameter self-supervised computer vision model that can learn from any random group of images on the internet — without the need for careful curation and labeling that goes into most computer vision training today.

—Facebook AI’s Chief Scientist Yann LeCun

Read more here.

Accenture: Fukushima smart city tech

Digital tools launched in a Japanese smart city that can send disaster alerts to safeguard residents are part of an optional technology push aiming to overcome social and economic challenges, while also allaying privacy fears.

The smartphone alerts were introduced in Aizuwakamatsu city, Fukushima prefecture, last week by consultancy firm Accenture, which has worked with researchers to revitalize the city using technology since a devastating earthquake in 2011.

Most smart city data derives from citizens’ activities - energy usage, healthcare, etc - and the owner of the data is the citizen, even if it is held by companies or clinics. So it is critical that citizens have control over the degree to which their data is accessible.

— Shojiro Nakamura, co-lead of Accenture Innovation Center Fukushima

Read more here.

Subscribe for updates

A weekly update of what’s on the Global Agenda

© 2021 World Economic Forum

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service