World Economic Forum Inaugurates Global Councils to Restore Trust in Technology

29 May 2019
  • Six councils formed to design how emerging technology can be governed for the benefit of society
  • Top decision-makers and experts from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia participate in inaugural Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Council meeting in San Francisco
  • Leaders of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Dana-Farber, European Commission, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Uber, World Bank among chairs
  • Major global summit on technology governance announced, to take place in April 2020
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San Francisco, USA, 29 May 2019 – To help policy-makers and businesses strike the right balance between enabling emerging technologies and proactively mitigating the social risks that can result, the World Economic Forum launched six Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Councils today.

Covering the most pressing technology areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, drones, internet of things and precision medicine, global councils bring together more than 200 leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia from around the world.

Council members will work together to develop policy guidance and address “governance gaps” or the absence of well-defined rules for emerging technology. They met for the first time today at Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

“Companies and governments are not moving fast enough to anticipate social expectations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Richard Samans, Managing Director and Head of Policy and Institutional Impact, World Economic Forum. “We believe that that this bottom-up, societally-focused approach can help to build and maintain public trust in the technologies while strengthening the evidence base on which policy decisions are made by governments and companies. This is the first place where this kind of high-level, strategic dialogue on the governance of these technologies will take place across stakeholders and regions on an ongoing basis.”

Global Fourth Industrial Revolution Councils will:

  • Enable cross-country exchange of policy and regulatory experience, including through case studies;
  • Identify and take action to address gaps in public policy or corporate governance through multistakeholder cooperation;
  • Shape a common understanding of “best” or “good” policy practice as a means of enabling better policy coordination within and among countries;
  • Provide strategic guidance to the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network regarding the governance projects and pilots it undertakes.

Councils are organized by the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Network expanded internationally last year to the People’s Republic of China, India and Japan. Affiliate centres in Colombia and the United Arab Emirates opened in early 2019. Five of the G7 countries and more than 100 organizations are officially partnered with the Network to create policy frameworks, pilot them and scale up around the world.

Global Technology Governance Summit

Input from council members will inform the agenda of the Global Technology Governance Summit in April 2020. This event will be the world’s premiere leader-level, multistakeholder meeting dedicated to shaping the governance of emerging technologies. It will bring together government ministers, chief executive officers, civil society leaders, start-ups and international organizations. It will be catalyst a for driving new approaches and collaborative efforts across stakeholders that are human-centred.

Global Artificial Intelligence Council
Lee Kai-Fu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sinovation Ventures
Bradford Smith, President, Microsoft Corp

Global Autonomous and Urban Mobility Council
Brian Gu Hong-Di, Vice-Chairman and President, Xpeng Motors
Keiichi Ishii, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan
Dara Khosrowshahi, Chief Executive Officer, Uber Technologies

Global Blockchain Council
Elizabeth Rossiello, Chief Executive Officer, Founder, BitPesa
Denis Robitaille, Vice President, Information and Technology Solutions, World Bank

Global Drones and Aerial Mobility Council
Violeta Bulc, Commissioner for Transport, European Commission

Global Internet of Things Council
Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Commission
Adrian Lovett, President and Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Web Foundation

Global Precision Medicine Council
Laurie Glimcher, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Peer Schatz, Chief Executive Officer, QIAGENPeer Schatz, Chief Executive Officer, QIAGEN
Wang Chen, President, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences

The list of members will be made public during the Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

The Network helped Rwanda write the world’s first agile drone regulation and is scaling it up throughout Africa and Asia. It has developed actionable governance frameworks for corporate executives on blockchain, co-designed the first-ever Industrial IoT Safety and Security Protocol and created a personal data policy framework with the UAE.

More than 100 governments, companies, civil society, international organizations and experts are working together to design and pilot innovative approaches to the policy and governance of technology. Teams are creating human-centred and agile policies to be piloted by policy-makers and legislators around the world, shaping the future of emerging technology in ways that maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.

Notes to editors

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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