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New governments join Rwanda, Japan and 38 companies at the first WEF centre in San Francisco
The World Economic Forum announced expansion of its Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week. New affiliate centres will open in India, Japan and the United Arab Emirates, creating an international network dedicated to maximising the benefits and minimising the risks of emerging technology.
Affiliate centres will follow the multi-stakeholder approach taken by the first centre in San Francisco, bringing together business leaders, governments, start-ups, civil society, academia and international organisations to co-design and pilot innovative approaches to governance for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. The aim is close the gap between emerging technology and policy, in cooperation with host governments and key companies.
“We want to ensure that a technologically enriched future is safe, ethical, inclusive and sustainable for all, not just a few,” said Murat Sonmez, head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, who added the centre is “an accelerator for impact” and having a global network “will enable us to move faster than ever”.
The World Economic Forum opened the first Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco in March 2017. Projects cover multiple areas of technological innovation, including autonomous mobility, artificial intelligence, blockchain, drones, precision medicine and Internet of Things (IoT). The expansion to new geographies reflects the need from businesses and governments to become more agile and their desire to help shape the development of emerging technologies.
Collaboration agreements with the Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Denmark and the Inter-American Development Bank are in place. They join 38 business and the governments of Japan and Rwanda already engaged with the centre in San Francisco. Governments that join commit to piloting Fourth Industrial Revolution policy tools in their jurisdictions. Fellows, similar to diplomatic postings, are appointed by the government to work on specific teams.
Deutsche Bank, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) are the newest partners to join.
The centre is also convening the foremost international communities of governmental, corporate, civil society and technical leaders committed to shaping the governance and application of the most important Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in the global public interest. Councils announced this week include the Global Artificial Intelligence Council, Global IoT Council and Global Blockchain Council.
Councils will identify governance gaps in key emerging technologies; share learnings among leading policy-makers, practitioners and experts about innovative governance experiments around the world; provide strategic guidance to the centre’s projects; and serve as early adopters and ambassadors to pilot, refine and scale the policies and protocols developed by the centre.
WEF is also announcing the creation of Academic Fellows, which allows top post-graduate students from leading universities to co-locate with the project teams in San Francisco and affiliate centres. This will integrate leading academic research into the centre’s projects. These two-year fellowships will allow the academicians to spend their first year at the centre followed by a second at their home institution. The first such programme, The André Hoffmann Fellowship, allows five students each year to join.
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