WEF looks to meet emerging technology challenges in face of public concern

The World Economic Forum is to create a new facility which is designed to ensure the responsible use of emerging technology to minimise the risks that come with them.

Launched at the organisation’s annual meeting in Davos the Centre for Trustworthy Technology in Austin, Texas, the WEF said its mission is to promote responsible production and use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality and quantum computing.

Jeremy Jurgens, (pic) managing director of the World Economic Forum and head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, explained the centre’s potential key role in ensuring technology is trustworthy and responsibly used.

“When it comes to the application of technology in society, people have legitimate concerns over how their data is used, whether what they are reading and seeing is real and whether their jobs are safe. Societal trust in and acceptance of technology is dependent on the technologies in question being designed in an inclusive, ethical and responsible manner. We are proud to launch the Centre for Trustworthy Technology to tackle exactly that,” he said.

The Centre for Trustworthy Technology will join a global network of 17 centres connecting public and private sector stakeholders to “maximise the benefits of emerging technologies whilst minimizing the risks,” the WEF added. Created in collaboration with Deloitte and the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the centre will engage the C4IR network and global collaborators to scale responsible, ethical and safe technology through projects and activities at the national and international level.

“Deloitte has been on a multi-year journey to embed trustworthy and ethical tech practices across our organisation as part of our ongoing purpose efforts,” said Beena Ammanath, managing director, Deloitte Consulting, and leader of Deloitte’s Technology Trust Ethics practice. “We understand that for technology to reach its full potential it has to be grounded in equity, diversity and inclusion for all people and sustainable for our planet. We are proud to be a founding sponsor of the centre as we take our journey to the next level to promote trust in technology.”

“As technology becomes an increasingly fundamental part of the human experience, our future will be defined by our ability to today build trust and define ethical societal norms around tech design, development and deployment. The centre promises to bring representation from across sectors and geographies to deliver on a shared vision of a human-centric, tech-enabled future,” added Vilas Dhar, president of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation.

Jurgen added the strategic priorities will include creating tools and frameworks that promote ethical technology development and use. The centre will explore ways to adopt technology to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“It will facilitate knowledge sharing for technology leaders across the public and private sectors, publishing insights to raise awareness about the importance of trustworthy technology,” The WEF added. “Additionally, the centre will present opportunities to convene stakeholders from government, business, academia and society to shape an ethical and trustworthy technology agenda.”