Geneva, Switzerland, 6 November 2019 – Governments and companies around the world are investing heavily in emerging technologies to boost growth. The Middle East and North Africa region could see approximately $400 billion added to its economies over the next 15 years if artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are adopted. In Saudi Arabia alone, investment in AI is forecast to add 12.4% to GDP.
To help accelerate the development and implementation of emerging technologies while mitigating risks, the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) today announced the launch of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Saudi Arabia with the World Economic Forum.
As the latest Affiliate to join the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, this new hub will benefit from the agile governance methodology designed in San Francisco and will apply it to pilot projects in the country. The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Saudi Arabia will be run and managed locally to help the country achieve its Vision 2030.
“To use the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as AI and blockchain, and many others, for driving economic development and social progress, we need global cooperation,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “On the eve of its G20 presidency, we welcome the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the establishment of a new Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Riyadh, to shape those technologies in a way that serves society.”
In the region, Saudi Arabia has been undertaking large-scale digitalization efforts as part of its National Transformation plan and in the run-up to its G20 presidency. The commercial 5G roll out, recent establishment of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and the high percentage of mobile phone and internet use show that the country is taking steps towards shaping the trajectory of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.
The World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network was founded in 2017 to accelerate the development of emerging technologies by bringing together a multistakeholder community to co-design agile governance policies. To facilitate this process, the Forum launched an Affiliate Centre programme in early 2019 to help countries develop national Fourth Industrial Revolution strategies and public-private initiatives.
Affiliate Centres tap into and share research across the Forum’s global network. The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Saudi Arabia will focus on the following emerging technology portfolio areas: artificial intelligence; blockchain; data policy; internet of things, smart cities and robotics; and mobility.
About the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network
The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network brings together more than 100 governments, businesses, start-ups, international organizations, members of civil society and experts to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to the policy and governance of technology. Teams around the world are creating agile policies to be piloted by policy-makers and legislators, shaping the future of emerging technology in ways that maximize their benefits and minimize their risks. More than 40 projects in progress address: artificial intelligence, autonomous mobility, blockchain, data policy, drones and the internet of things.
The Network has helped Rwanda write the world’s first agile aviation regulation for drones and is extending this throughout Africa and Asia. It has developed actionable governance toolkits for corporate executives on blockchain and artificial intelligence, co-designed the first-ever Industrial IoT (IIoT) Safety and Security Protocol and created a personal data policy framework with the UAE.
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