We are going through a period of enormous technological innovation and disruption. Long before the pandemic, regulators around the world were racing to respond to the opportunities and risks of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies from artificial intelligence to biotechnologies.
The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the need for speed. Around the world, governments have been forced to fast-track changes to regulation to enable innovations from telemedicine to drone delivery to help their economies adapt to disruption.
As we rebuild our economies, the time is now to find a new approach to rulemaking. A more agile, flexible approach to regulation is needed in order to unlock the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and shape it in a way that protects citizens and reflects their values.
A handful of leading governments are already pioneering a more agile approach. Tools such as regulatory sandboxes and co-regulation are being employed to support the rapid introduction of new ideas, products and ways of working, while upholding public protections.
The Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution project seeks to promote adoption of these practices and make it easier for innovations to be introduced and scaled across the world, while mitigating the risks. If we get this right, we can unlock innovation that will help power our prosperity and address our most pressing social and environmental challenges.
The Agile Regulation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution project has produced a guide for regulators on strategies that they can employ to respond in a more agile way to innovation and disruption, building on the latest evidence and practice from around the world. It cuts through the hype and provides advice on how to introduce techniques such as regulatory sandboxes in practice.
International cooperation is essential if regulators are to avoid developing divergent approaches to governance of new technologies that introduce unnecessary costs and make it harder to manager shared risks. The project has worked with the governments of Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the UAE and the UK and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to establish the Agile Nations – the world’s first intergovernmental network dedicated to co-operation on governance of innovation.